Photos: Tiffany Shum
Apolonija Šušteršič’s Light Therapy is a room filled with a generous amount of light to simulate a bright, sunny day. Exposure to light is used as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), milder winter blues and sleep disorders caused by jet lag and overwork, or lack of daylight. Because it has no proven side effects and everyone can use it, light therapy can improve our busy lives and make us feel happier.
However, the subject of happiness is always related to a specific context or situation where light therapy is installed. In this context, it allows visitors to a contemporary art museum to be aware of its role in society today.
Light Therapy was originally produced for the Moderna Museet in Sweden in 1999, to explore how contemporary museums function as a public space, and as a social or healing device. The project was restaged at the Van Abbemuseum, The Netherlands in 2014, where Apolonija began to also consider new forms of artistic practice that are socially engaged — those which involve people and communities in debate, collaboration or social interaction. In its third iteration at MOCA, they add to this developing research, thinking about how museums might be places that support well-being, and more recently as spaces that support mental health.