Friday Salon: Review of Taking Time exhibit

In 2009, I went to the opening day of “Taking time: Craft and the Slow Revolution” at the BMAG and I published the following review. I would have liked to have included some images, but to no avail, as they are not available to be included here. However there is a video at the bottom, available via YouTube

The Interactive piece from Shane Waltener and Cheryl McChesney Jones is still fairly new and blank, and encouragement needs to be made for the browsers to actually interact with the piece. There is a certain reticence for people (with many having been brought up with a “Don’t Touch!” mentality in Museums) to actually pick up some knitting/crochet needles and add to the piece.

Having an old fashioned typewriter as a piece of interactive art was a great idea, and I loved playing with it – you are invited to type a letter (or review, or just general words), and if you wanted to leave it for the artist as an archival piece, then great. The downside is that the typewriter doesn’t actually work (the page doesn’t move, resulting in each letter coming out on top of the previous one), so no letter to leave! The amusement factor of having the typewriter linked up to a computer monitor was short lived in that the monitor didn’t show anything either. Have no idea as to whether what I typed has been captured anywhere or has been lost to the ether…..[eta this was apparently fixed, following my review]

I immediately clicked with Sonya Clark’s “Climb” – millions of tiny blue beads, linked together into a amazingly tall ladder leading us upwards…..time, effort, attention to detail, imagination (even if it’s a deceptively simple item). I like to think I got it immediately!

Esther Knobel’s items for “Mind in the hand” series are lovely as are the rolls of hand printed wallpaper – made as part of a community effort with older Black women in particular in a great bringing of people together (and the workbook nearby was a good thing to rifle through to see where/how people got their inspiration).

I do have a certain partiality for china, so Ann Linnemann’s commission with Paul Scott has resulted in some delightful blue and white china pieces.

David Gates’ “In our Houses” series unfortunately for me embodied the “what?” part of installation art. Stuff. That looked like nothing I could correlate to. Which made me think “why?” “huh?” “what?” and “where’s the next thing…?”. I was also unable to put the large floor installation of pottery into context of “Taking time”….only one piece attracted me because of the colouring, but overall I had a feeling of “you’re showing me this because……?” (there was nothing around the installation that could give me a clue, so a little help please?).

There is an interactive touch-screen on the way out that allows you to provide additional feedback (although pictures of the items up for “what was your favourite section” question would have been better for me than just presenting the names – the assumption is that I’ve paid more attention to the artist’s name than the item, which in my case is an incorrect assumption).

Overall, nice time spent, and if I get the chance to go back I will if nothing else to see how the interactive pieces have come along. I appreciate that it was the first day of the exhibit, so things were still moving along, and I may have missed on some things by being early.



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