Posts Tagged ‘museum’

The Problem with Video in Museums

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

The Clock

Maybe it’s my problem. I just can’t help imagining that most of the videos I see in museums were made with a beginning and an end. That is, that the intended experience is based on a linear immersion that takes place over time. Is it enough to see only a section or start with the end?

Maybe it’s because we’ve come to understand Art as encompassing such a large range of expressions, the only way we know how to anoint it is by sticking it in a museum. If that’s the case, should there be timed entry—like a movie theatre—to the spaces that are showing videos? As it stands, chances are that you will not arrive at the beginning.

The only video—actually I’ve seen only a part of it—that celebrates an unplanned arrival is Christian Marclay’s The Clock. The 24-hour-long video is keyed to the actual time of day through its constant showing of clocks of all types from hundreds of different movies.

I can’t imagine that the video-makers haven’t considered this issue. Maybe my short encounters are exactly what they’ve imagined. If this is the case, then I confess—I’m not that interested in a lot of what I’ve seen. Or am using the wrong yardstick, one based on a lifetime of movie-watching?

Time and Art

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about time and its relationship to different forms of art. Though I have never questioned the necessity of time for letting ideas unfold in music, film and theatre, I had never built that into the equation for painting, drawing and photography. My maintaining a position in front of a Degas, as other visitors to the Museum of Fine Arts rushed past, provided the opportunity to change that understanding.

In the past-paced world in which we live, one has few chances to “live” with things that don’t demand our attention. Because our environment is filled with images that constantly come and go, it’s hard to think of a two-dimensional piece of art as rewarding you in new ways when you give it some face time. If you resist the temptation to move on, a painting or drawing can reveal what a glance will not. Your own experience of discovery may even in some ways resemble the “story” found in a play or piece of music. I’m not talking about the implied text of a painting with recognizable elements. What I’m getting at is the recognition—in the language of the particular art form—that something has taken place. Perhaps with you.