Such an approach to an artistic practice might come as a surprise upon learning that Höller, who was born in 1961, earned a doctorate in biology, specifically agricultural entomology, with a specialization on insects’ olfactory com-munication strategies. Following his PhD, he worked as a research entomologist and even ran his own laboratory in Kiel, Germany. But during the late 1980s, he started making art and, while in Kiel, decided art interested him more than science. In 1994, he gave up his career as a researcher and began bringing the parameters of experiments to arts institutions while leaving all notions of hypotheses and tangible, measurable results behind. As such, when asked in an interview whether or not he sees his work as a bridge between science and art, Höller replied, “No, certainly not. I haven’t introduced scientific experiment into the art context, only the experimental form. … There’s no objective observer collecting data and drawing conclusions. There’s only the artwork and its viewers, who are subjected to a situation and called on to examine themselves.”
One work that exemplifies this approach is ‘Y ‘(2003), a tunnel of lights reminiscent of those in funhouses at carni-vals. The tunnel encircles visitors and is in the shape of a Y, offering one entrance but two exits. Like a choose your own adventure book, visitors start at the same place but select their preferred exit without knowing what lies on the other end. The installation articulates the dilemma of individual choices; the viewer must make a decision and, both in the moment and retrospectively, consider how it will shape or has shaped their experience of the space and additional works to come.