Archive for May, 2012

QR Codes in the Modern British Paintings Gallery

How can the old and the new enhance and compliment each other?

Is there a place for technology at traditional sites such as museums?

Does technology help people to engage with artworks?

These are some of the questions that artist and volunteer Jennifer Milarski has been asking.

Come and help her get closer to the answers in the Modern British Paintings Gallery, on the first floor of the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery from 29 May – 1 June.

‘I have introduced the idea of QR codes into the gallery, as I want to find out how people really feel about the use of technology in traditional spaces such as museums or heritage sites.

The idea is to use the QR codes as a way to bring a new perspective to the artists and their work, to make the artists more accessible by having an image of them and to show their work in the context of other works by them in the museum’s Fine Art collection.

I was drawn to the Modern British Paintings Gallery by the fact that a lot of the artists in this gallery were connected somehow, and not only by painting. The narratives between the artists and between their works is what appealed to me. The little unknown or seemingly insignificant details about people can actually add an interesting dimension to the work .’

It is advisable to download a QR reader onto your smartphone prior to visiting the gallery. Suggested for iphone is Scan which is downloadable from the app store for free or QR Droid for Android, also free of charge.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a smartphone or a QR reader as Jennifer will be present in the gallery with her own mobile device to help with any technical issues and demonstrate the project.

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LUNA

I recently volunteered at the box office of The Nightingale Theatre (above the Grand Central Pub) and am ashamed to say that I never been there before! Part of volunteering meant that you were able to get into the shows on that day for free.

Showing this particular night was Luna, performed by Pretty Good Girl Dance Theatre. Luna is based on the book by the same name by American author Julie Anne Peters, and tells the story of Liam, a transsexual teenager, but from the often overlooked view of someone who loves him, his younger sister Regan.

It seemed as if is this story was made to be danced as the movement added an emotional edge to the tale, and the sparce props and the way in which the dancers interacted with them was very poignant for me. The props consisted of a clothes rail with various flamboyant costumes hanging on it and two large strands of masking tape streched on either side of the clothes rail to the floor.

When Liam encountered a particularly important period of realisation about who he was he danced into the masking tape and got stuck in it as it wound around him due to his frantic movment. His younger sister Regan then helped to untangle him, thus shifting the role of older and younger sibling as she took over care of him.

Later, Regan had a sleepover with her friends and Liam didn’t react with disgust when her friends asked to paint his nails and her friends then began to question what was wrong with Liam, at this moment Regan broke her masking tape and became entangled, however Liam did not help her remove the tape and she had to do it herself.

As an older sibling this reminded me of when I was a teenager, and brought back memories of perhaps not being the one who was looking after, but being the one who was being looked after.

The storytelling aspect of the piece consisted of both dialogue between the two siblings and a narration by mainly Regan. At one point the two discuss what Liam/Luna is in relation to drag queens, are drag queens gay? are they transsexual? and Liam replies with, ‘Well, there’s shades of gray to every gender’. And then went onto to say how their father saw him as a masculine macho boy who played football, or at least this was how the father wanted him to be. This was something that really struck a chord with me as everybody feels these kinds of pressures to be what is expected of them, and what is expected of their gender.

The themes of ‘personal freedom, acceptance and unconditional love’, that ran through the performance felt relevant not only in the context of transsexuality, but in the wider context of gender/race/sexuality.

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Digging in the Glade

The second video to accompany the David Miles exhibition The Hole in Mount Hakone.

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The Hole in Mount Hakone by David Miles

I have been helping out with various stages of the exhibition The Hole in Mount Hakone by David Miles at Brighton Museum, and have just produced a short film to promote the opening of the exhibition in the Prints & Drawings Gallery.

There will also be a second film coming out around the 12th of May, which I also produced, combining a David Miles image and a verse from 1847 called Digging in the Glade, so I will post that up here when it has been released.

I have been particularly excited about this project as it seems to me to be the most true to life way of how an artists creates work. Miles has selected works in the collection at Brighton Museum and created a narrative around them and his own work in response. In my own studio I have a wall of inspirational images, as do the majority of artists, and often my work incapsulates different aspects of them and I always draw upon them for inspiration. Whether you have a pinterest board or collaged wall, a lot of artists will relate to this process, especially as it is important to recognise the old in order to create something new.

A link to info on the exhibition:

http://www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk/WhatsOn/Pages/holeinmounthakone1mayto21oct12.aspx

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