Two strands of thought coinciding. Recently I found myself on a trip to Dublin. My day had a purpose which was to indulge in a little culture. My train arrived in at 12 and I made haste, exiting the station and began walking at a brisk pace toward my first exhibition at the Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar. First though I needed to eat. finding a suitable place I wolfed down a delicious sandwich while necking two swift coffees. Then onto my first objective at the gallery. The show in question, Perceived Irishness by Yaqoub Jemil BouAynaya, was a small but coherent presentation of work on which I will write a review seperatley but for now I want to go back to the way I viewed and consumed the work. I quickly enjoyed the framed prints on the wall and admired the quality go others that were larger and mounted on board. I took some photos to refer back to later and possibly to post here then I went to look at the video presentation.
All in all I would say I was there for no more than 15 minutes before I was out the door and on my way to the next show: Portrait of a Century by Kim Haughton. This was over 100 different portraits where each individual was born in between 1917 and 2017. I found the number of portraits overwhelming and the different styles, poses, lighting arrangements etc. to be conducive of scanning quickly rather than looking. After the exhibition we went for a coffee and a chat. I will write at length on this too later.
I headed to IMMA to see The Edge go Landscape by William Crozier which was showing alongside a second curated exhibition Coastlines. All in all it was an exhausting day but reflecting on it brought me to consider how long we actually spend looking at anything today? Last week I was discussing this with a curator of a local gallery and I also came across the subject on a BBC Art Night documentary: “the average time that a person spends looking at a work of art is just 17 seconds”. Also my use of the camera on my smart phone is mentioned too: “but we don’t need to remember visual images in the same way anymore, so are some types of memory becoming redundant ?and does that means that we don’t look at art work with the same urgency?” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlbzsdaQaD4)
There are two aspects of this that I am interested in, one is because I am beginning to plan my own show and the other is thinking and reflecting on how fast people consume place, how fast we experience life now, we are constantly jumping from one thing to the next. So for something like the wild atlantic way how quickly are people consuming it? All of this brought me to remembering Rob Briscoe’s Road to Joy:
“Surveys suggest moreover that most of the 7 million who do visit the countryside each summer weekend do not venture far from designated places, from picnic tables and parking spaces for cars, caravans and burger vans.” – Stephen Daniels
In naming (or otherwise indicating) an area on a map, the area becomes a ‘place’ and is given an increased significance over other, unnamed, areas. Their designation as a ‘viewpoint’ further means they are identified as being (potentially) picturesque, an area of beauty worthy of looking at. With this exploration of the designated viewpoints situated in England’s North West, I have taken the decision not to venture far from the parking space, indeed not even leaving the confines of the car, having used it first as an enabler for access and then as a frame for the vista before me. However, the chosen aesthetic subverts the idea of beauty and resides within the contemporary notion of experience – been there, seen it now time to move on…
From Road to Joy by Rob TM: http://www.robtm.co.uk/RTJ.html
Finally I found myself waiting on my train home. There is this enormous screen in Hueston station in the departures area that bombards you with adverts and trailers for the latest hollywood films just out. I watched as it scrolled – flicked would be a better description really – each scene appearing and disappearing in a few seconds seemed somehow an appropriate ending to my day.