Hell’s Half Acre

A large-scale multimedia installation inspired by Dante’s Inferno that interacts with the space and the artefacts within it. (Above – Footage of the Heretics Gate by Doug Foster)

There is an inherent problem when photographing and filming art in that the gallery experience changes and your experience is then partly led through the 5×4 cm screen of your phone rather than through your own brain box and eyes.

I read somewhere (probably on this excellent website called www.smarthistory.org, a very cleverly designed art history site) that people have a tendency to take photographs in galleries because it gives them a sense of ownership. Like they can claim a piece of the art work. Like they have something to take home.

I also read somewhere, or maybe it was a quote… (I really can’t remember references or be bothered to source them – one reason I found my dissertation so wretchedly miserable)…that every time you take a photograph it replaces the memory of that experience. Eventually instead of a memory, of feeling, smell, taste and touch all you’ll have left is a static photo. So maybe instead of a real memory you’ll have the memory of the photograph, or even the memory of you taking the photograph.

Like a dolt I stood for a long time, in front of this amazing piece, my favorite in the show (a fiery arch, like a portal into another world), hypnotised, trying to film it, to cement the memory of me filming it into my memory box. But my nitwit of a phone decided it wouldn’t save no damn video.

Video above courtesy of MaM. Pictures below courtesy of aforementioned nitwit phone.

I think, I’m a screen addict – The TV, my laptop, my phone.

All three distance me from reality.

No wonder I’m not drawing as much. That used to be its function.

This is bad.

Very bad.

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5 thoughts on “Hell’s Half Acre

  1. People do the same at concerts these days. So many people watch their favourite band through their phone! I’m all about the experience. Although I will take a photo and, yes, I’ll look up the videos people record on YouTube, so perhaps the rush of technology is the icing on the memory cake!

  2. I read that article in university when I was taking Art History. It really turned me off taking photos as a self indulgent activity. I can’t stand people who come to a museum or location and spend the whole time filming it! What’s the point of actually being there if you’re behind a viewfinder the whole time!

    Rant over.

  3. sad to say I’m definitely one of those – not so much for paintings or shows
    but definitely for event / sculptures as above if possible.
    I have no self control unless my phone has no battery

  4. Pingback: Being British At The British Museum | Tin Roof Press

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