Thursday, February 07, 2013

Last from London

Well, for now anyway...

One last photo montage video from London.  It's a little longer than the others, but it's split into two parts, so that may help.  Think of it as an A Side and a B Side.

I had to resort to YouTube for this, but I was able improve the resolution a bit.  Enjoy.

A lot of this is pretty self explanatory - don't think you need me to say much about Big Ben, Westminster, the Houses of Parliament, or Richard the Lionheart.  I do want to mention, especially for the Rodin fans out there, the juxtaposition of the Burghers of Calais in the shadow of Parliament (as opposed to casts I've seen at the Rodin Museums in Paris and Philadelphia, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, all of which I have since found were cast after this one in London).  The placement in Victoria Tower Gardens is poignant in that these French business leaders and legal authorities are shadowed by one of the most important legislative structures in the Western World; and it calls to mind their story - offered as a sacrifice to save the citizens of Calais from Edward III's siege of their city.  (Remember Edward III's hunting palace from an earlier post, and the last video?)

It's worth mentioning are a couple of light art pieces from the Tate Modern that were as photogenic as they were engaging:

  • Lis RhodesLight Music was the setting for the shots that come near the end of the first song.  It was part of the Tanks portion of the Tate Modern - which is amazeballs and you should definitely go there.  I think that Light Music has closed up and moved out of the space, but we were lucky to catch it while we were there.  The projectors practically dared you not to walk in and interact with the light.  Luminous and irresistible. 
  • The sequence about halfway through featuring two light tables in the room with white walls is made up of shots of an Alfredo Jaar piece called Lament of the Images.  He's looking at the way people can be so saturated with media images (and words) that they can be blinded by the excess: so many images flood ones view that one stops seeing the content of what is actually being shown.  That blindness is revealed in that installation (as I interpret it) by the light that floods the room as the light tables spread apart (the tables become a light source, illuminating the people, objects, and walls themselves, but the light itself ceases to be an object of attention), and conversely by the darkness that pervades when the tables close in together (the beams of light become focal, but the darkness literally prevents one from seeing around it).  Beautiful, simple, this piece had a powerful, magnetic draw, and I also enjoyed the lucky arrival of a school group when I went back into the room to grab these shots.

Also part of the Tanks was Suzanne Lacy's The Crystal Quilt.  My photographs don't remotely do justice to the complex power of that brilliantly feminist activist piece [which had the added interest, to me, of having originated in Minneapolis, a city (and a landscape) dear to my heart, woven into this contemporary art exhibit in London].  The video embedded in that link does a better job, but if you come across an exhibition of The Crystal Quilt anywhere, you really owe it to yourself to check it out.

And I can't sign off without mentioning the shots from the Churchill War Rooms - including the color-coded phones, his cabinet meeting room, and the map room complete with a caricature of Hitler penciled into the middle of the Atlantic.  Fascinating. 

And then undercutting any sort of heightened thoughts or reflections on the living memory of War in London, and how vastly it differs from a sense of war in New York, we have shots of the Sherlock Holmes pub which I took for my Sherlock-fan nephew, Mols getting ready for her kayak final test in her wet suit, and shots of our time in Shoreditch/High Street.  All of which was fantastic!

As for the music: why can't Rudie fail?  Just because.

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