Monday, 31 October 2011

The Power of Tech To Disappoint and Other Assorted Ramblings

So, the clocks went back at the weekend and we had the pleasure of reclaiming the hour we lost in the Spring. I woke early in the morning and heard the soft click that my alarm clock makes when the  alarm itself is switched off, so I actually knew what time it was but I was still looking forward to checking the time, knowing that I still had that extra hour to play with. A simple pleasure perhaps, but a pleasure nonetheless. My ancient clock radio (now all clock and no radio) was no help. It’s display was flashing random numbers due to me not resetting it after a brief power cut a couple of days ago and my alarm clock was out of reach (designed to make me take positive action to silence it on a work morning), so I reached for my mobile, clicked the button and was, sadly, presented with the real time. Not a big deal perhaps, it does after all claim to be a smart phone. It just went about its business and simply reset itself while I was asleep, thereby depriving me of that brief, annual pleasure. Even my wristwatch managed without me, it gets its power from the sun and it's accuracy from a mysterious signal beamed out by some distant machine and will, in all probability, continue to function efficiently well after I have departed this life. Just once in a while I’d like to think that the tech needed my help, rather than the other way around!

On Friday I went to see the new installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern. I had avoided reading anything about it, hoping to be mightily impressed as I walked in but it didn’t work out that way.

I like to enter the building via the western entrance to get the full experience of that amazing space. A friend (who describes the Tate as a bookshop with a gallery attached……..she’s not a fan!) considers this a waste of space, but I think of it as a rare luxury and one to be enjoyed. Having said that though, it is sometimes nice to see something in it. In this case, as so often, there is nothing to be seen, all of the action being at the eastern end, beyond the bridge.

Having read the blurb and admired the fact that the artist had used traditional methods to create this work. Cutting, splicing and hand colouring the frames of film to create something outstanding. Bouyed up with anticipation, I made my way through to see the finished result.

I really tried to appreciate what I was seeing, but I couldn’t. It was 11 minutes (I think) of my life that I will never see again and 11 minutes that I wish I had spent elsewhere. There are, I’m sure, plenty of people who will recommend that you should not miss this exhibition at any cost. Sadly, I’m not one of those people.

I freely admit that I am an art klutz, but I know enough to be able to say that all art is subjective and is reliant completely on prodding your emotions. Walking around any gallery you will see some things that you will love and others that you will hate. Things that stimulate you and things that just bore you. Things that will make you say “I could have done that” and others that will make you think ”I wish I could have done that”. In this case, my emotions remained completely unmolested!  

Luckily, it was a fine evening and the view across  the river from the Tate didn’t fail to please. The tide was high and fast flowing, and St Paul’s and the Millenium Bridge always look brilliant at night. So it wasn’t a complete right off. 

On the way to the Tate I noticed that the South Bank Tower appeared to be wearing a pink bra! I’d missed this story but a little investigation showed that this was an attempt to create the World’s largest bra and is now a Guiness World Record holder (no pun intended!) It was also a charity event in support of the Breast Cancer Campaign. For the record, it had a bust measurement of 29.6 metres and had a size of 1360 B.

Sadly, when I returned on Saturday to take pictures (after all, it’s not everyday that you see an office block wearing a bra!) the building had returned to it’s naked state. It hasn’t been a photographically productive weekend.

Finally, be aware that the Capital is being overrun by zombies

Zombies are obviously “in” at the moment, last year it was vampires, next year, who knows. I’m hoping that the current Zombie plague is related to Halloween, if it isn’t, we really are in trouble.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry you didn't like Tacita Dean at Tate Modern. I really enjoyed watching the video (I later learned that there are actually 4 or so slightly different videos in rotation). I thought it was cool the way some of the images were superimposed on the windows of Turbine Hall. It was soothing and hypnotic in a 60s pot haze kind of way. The colors were fab and it was fun to see it in different scales, from the bridge and from down below. But I can see how you might think it was just a small cut above watching paint dry.