In even the most perfect reproduction, one thing is lacking: the here and now of the work of art-its unique existence in a particular place. It is this unique existence-and nothing else-that bears the mark of the history to which the work has been subject.
Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the age of Mechanical Reproduction. 1935.
I like this idea that every object or piece of art has an added element to it which gives it power and meaning, like Walter Benjamin's idea of the 'aura'. This week I did a bit of research and read/ listened abut these three exhibitions that were on previously:
The Welcome Collection - Things http://blog.wellcomecollection.org/tag/things/
"Whether explicit or not, it remains that a display of objects can?t help but become part of the anthropology of today; the latest, but not final, chapter in an object?s narrative. Whenever we encounter an object, old or new, we re-imagine, re-interpret and re-invent its meaning and contribute to its never-ending story. Museums are increasingly incorporating these different voices into the display of objects but the loudest and clearest will, by its very nature, always be the here and now."
- Natalie Coe
The Barbican - Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=7038
I especially loved Robert Filiou's box with dust he got from the exterior of a painting in it - it was like a powder compact hat we use to make our faces 'more beautiful'. Are we seeing the face or art work or just the exterior dust or ide of beuty that covers it?
The other thing that stuck in my mind was the shroud of Blinky the friendly hen. it was the paper that a frozen chicken was wrapped in. After artist Jeffrey Vallance bought the chicken he held an elaborate pet funeral ceremony for it challenging the way we see the frozen animal - as food? or as a companion or even cult leader?!
British Museum: A History of the World in 1000 Objects http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/about/british-museum-objects
I love the British museum! the object that stood out for me was the Ain Sakhri lovers figurine, over 1000 yrs old but an image that is still moving and relevant to all humans.
ANYWAY... so today we thought about human behaviour - I decided to make a survey about symbols, I originally wanted it to be a participatory piece where people divided them selves into groups based on what symbols they identified with but instead the survey was more practical.
I wanted people to be confronted by the fact that we all divide ourselves into groups and affiliations consciously or subconsciously. This includes political and religious groups but also with the products we consume (like starbucks) and institutions we are involved with (like UAL). Quite a few people felt 'exposed' or 'left out' or like they couldn't be categorised so starkly. Others felt pride in a sense of identity or homesick. I found that these reactions were the most interesting thing and I want to make something participatory for my final piece.
© Elizabeth Kendal, all rights reserved