April 2012

With the Easter break behind us and the weather improving again it looks like spring is now properly underway and there are a lot of different things going on. 
Virtual museum visits
I have been enjoying walking around art galleries I’ve never visited in person trying out the Google Art Project. It made me think about the way in which art is experienced and how the impact of having a fixed view point might change the way in which 3D artworks are understood. It would be fascinating to see this kind of work extended to include public and landscape art, possibly with walks around large sculptures or installations curated by different parties including the artists and the local community. These kinds of artworks would also require their context to be included in the record be that architectural, historical and so forth and I am curious whether one day we will take a virtual walk through the Forum in Rome or stand next to the Angel of the North. Similarly, the question of scale and how it can be represented, becomes much more important in this context, as the quality of the digital images is so high that tiny and huge works can look very similar at first glance. 
Tortoises and the internet
Besides looking at art, I’ve also been reading with interest about the flâneur in a technological context (interesting article in the NYTimes), which draws on the ideas of Walter Benjamin to examine how changes to the way in which the internet and our usage of it works influence the way in which we experience it and by extension parts of our world. One of the key characteristics of a flâneur in the more traditional context was the slow pace at which he (and I believe it was predominantly a male gaze or step that was being portrayed) experienced the city, the arcades – the hurrying people. This slow pace could be set by a pet tortoise on a leash. No doubt a somewhat eccentric accessory for a Parisian boulevard, but effective. That made me think: where is the tortoise on the web? What is the virtual metaphor that sets the pace of discovery? 
So, here is a tortoise inspired book recommendation: Momo by Michael Ende (1973) a wonderful book which is all about hurrying, loosing time and how a tortoise might help to get it back.