1. William Kentridge’s The Refusal of Time
What it is: This painstakingly synchronized arrangement of whirring automatons, inky blueprints, and bellowing organs is a 30-minute meditation on time and space, equal parts Charles Dickens and Eraserhead.
Where you can see it: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, from now until May 11, 2014.
2. Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man
What it is: An expansive interactive theatrical event from the minds behind Sleep No More, The Drowned Man invites viewers to quite literally explore the fading glory of a late-’60s Hollywood, interacting with cast members and unraveling the mystery that hides just outside the spotlight.
Where you can see it: The National Theater in South Bank, London, from now until the end of February.
3. Tómas Saraceno’s In Orbit
What it is: A multi-tiered steel-wire construction suspended in the air, interspersed with half a dozen inflatable spheres that viewers can freely move between.
Where you can see it: The Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Dusseldorf, Germany, from now until Autumn 2014.
4. Architects of Air’s Exxopolis
What it is: An enormous inflatable sculpture rich with kaleidoscopic colors and labyrinthine mazes, this city-like structure spans roughly 175 feet long and stands 30 feet high.
Where you can see it: At the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia, throughout the entire month of January.
5. Teehan+Lax Labs’ ASCII Street View
What it is: A clever bit of code that actively converts any location punched into Google’s super-map into a staggering string of colored numbers and letters.
Where you can see it: Right here, right now, in your browser.
6. Stefan Sagmeister’s The Happy Show
What it is: An interactive installation that turns the hunt for happiness on its head, Sagmeister’s gallery-spanning Happy Show invites patrons to pedal a bicycle to create a series of flickering hidden messages, interact with sugar cubes that light up as you smile into a camera, and other hands-on elements that deconstruct the notion of intellectual happiness.
Where you can see it: La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, France, from now until March 9, 2014.
7. James Turrell’s Perceptual Cell
What it is: Upon lying down on a sliding bed, viewers are entered one at a time into an isolated spherical chamber for 12 minutes of intensely choreographed saturated light, unlocking the true potential of the human eye — and, to a greater extend, the human mind.
Where you can see it: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California, from now until April 6, 2014.
8. Rusty Squid’s Book Hive
What it is: What better way to celebrate four centuries of literary excellence than with an interactive book-centric automaton? This installation at the Bristol Central Library tracks visitor movement and animates its 400 hardcover tomes in response.
Where you can see it: Bristol’s Central Library in Bristol, England, from now until March 7, 2014
9. Leandro Erlich’s Swimming Pool
What it is: Two separate but similar vantage points — looking down into a pool supposedly full of crystal-clear water, looking up through a sheet of water suspended above the bottom of a bone-dry pool — offer drastically different interpretations of space, and how it affects the reality around us.
Where you can see it: As part of the permanent collection at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.
10. Anne Patterson’s Graced with Light
What it is: 20 miles of vibrant, multi-hued ribbons hang from the ceiling of Nob Hill’s iconic cathedral, each covered in the prayers and dreams of its patrons.
Where you can see it: At the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, California, throughout January.
11. Isaac Julien’s Ten Thousand Waves
What it is: This immersive multimedia installation choreographs visitor movement throughout its gallery space, fusing contemporary and ancient Chinese culture to create a combination of film and sound that tells an incredible, one-of-a-kind story.
Where you can see it: At the Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York, from now until February 17, 2014.