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Alexandra Lange on the problems with the museums experience
"This is Mexico's most visited museum, frequented, on the day I was there, by tourists from many countries – Mexicans, families, old, young, rambunctious, quiet. There was space for them all and there was time for them all. You did not have to read a word (I don't speak Spanish) to feel that you had learned something. All you had to do was walk and look, and the alternation of indoor and outdoor spaces meant that you tired less easily. The oscillation between small and large meant that you had to adjust your eyes more often and look again. It felt like a walk in the park, but it was a museum. And we need more museums that let us relax into knowledge, showing, not telling us everything by audioguide.

In New York, at least, the friction of timed tickets, crowds and lines are now baked in to many big museum experiences: one can rarely expect to be able to just walk in, buy a ticket, see a show. Lines for the Museum of Modern Art-hosted Rain Room this summer stretched past the four-hour mark – and that's a separate line from the one for tickets that forms along 53rd Street.

My experience at the MNA caused me to think back on other museum discussions and visits of the past year, big and small: the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, stunts like the Rain Room or James Turrell at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Donald Judd’s House at 101 Spring Street in SoHo. Art may be more delicate than Aztec heads, but there isn't only one way to show it. Thinking about each of these visits as variations on a theme, I have found what I crave is not more access but less: a discrete, informal, and time-limited chance to look at work in peace. To wander rather than move in lock-step. To walk in the front door, look at art or artifacts for as long as I want, and leave."
museums  museumeducation  education  art  experience  2014  alexandralange  exploration  curating  curation  showing  telling  exposing  exposition  exhibitiondesign  design  exhibits  exhibitions  guides  wandering  time  space  attention  learning  howwelearn  informal  informality  artifacts 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Ways of Showing/Ways of Seeing - James Fallows - The Atlantic
"Actualities are simple, direct, filmed accounts of an action or activity: a dancer dancing, a bustling city street, etc. Most home movies are actualities: This is our baby walking across our living room floor; this is my father blowing out the candles on his 80th birthday.

Modern audiences quickly tire of actualities unless the subject matter is of special interest, i.e. actualities of your children are delightful, actualities of other people's children are only interesting if dad gets hit in the crotch with a Wiffle ball bat.

But this wasn't always the case.

Turn-of-the-century audiences were captivated by actualities. Cinema was an entirely new invention, and no one knew what anything looked like "on film," and everything was fascinating. A filmmaker could simply train his camera on a subject, novel or familiar, and then screen the results to an enthralled audience. Amazing!"

"The temptation is to think of the actuality as an archaic form, but it it's not. Every time a new cinematic process is invented, or a new subject matter is revealed, the actuality is "rediscovered". At present, super-duper slow-mo cameras have suddenly become orders of magnitude less expensive, and we are discovering again how captivating it can be to see even ordinary things through the lens of a novel photographic process.

But even as various captivating slow-mo clips start to populate YouTube and turn up on blogs, this super-duper slow-mo is sucked into the same evolutionary chain that has absorbed every other cinematic breakthrough. At first merely seeing the raw footage is enough. Then as our astonishment wanes, modest editing for interest emerges, and then finally the new process is incorporated into the "vocabulary" of the language of cinema."

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jamesfallows  actualities  film  history  showing  seeing  noticing  2011 
january 2014 by robertogreco

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