Celestial Weasel (celestialweasel) wrote,
Celestial Weasel

We are Duchampians my friends

Before catching my train to Bozzaville on Thursday, I had a look round Modern Art Oxford.

The peacock and peahen seemed happy enough, but Mr. Nairne has form for this manner of irking the irk-susceptible, it was goldfish last time IIRC, so I think he should stop now. Was the gilded cage a satire on Oxford, or self-referentially on the sort of people who have enough time on their hands to complain about birds being used in art installations.

I was amused by the thing in the lower gallery http://www.modernartoxford.org.uk/Exhibitions/Encounters/ Katie Paterson's Encounters.

I was slightly sad to see that the fact that the museum attendant telling me that the neon mobile phone number on the wall was out of order and that I should store it in my phone and call it later doesn't seem to have been a bit of performance art. Clearly the whole thing must be meant as satire - a neon phone number using electricity and therefore, along with the manufacture and distribution of mobile phone and the running of the phone network, contributing to global warming, that you are supposedly supposed to ring to hear an iceberg melting. It would be better satire if the phone number didn't work and the attendant had to tell you it didn't work, because then it could convey the message that all this technology contributes to global warming, and doesn't make people happy because it often doesn't sodding work.

Or am I being too linear?

The other work, involving the grand piano playing a bit of music with transcription errors, having been sent by Morse code via a moon-bounce, is obviously intended to show the inadequacy of modern art as a response to the complex technical challenges of the world. Viz:
1. Rather than using a modern instrument, it deliberately uses a grand piano with bolt-on technology playing a piece of music composed in 1801, thus demonstrating the degree to which 'modern art' is rooted in the classical art tradition and has taken on little from developments outside its own field
2. Rather than using the sort of error correcting code developed for space missions, it deliberately uses an inappropriate code, but one that conceptual artists and the general public will have heard of, thus demonstrating the lack of interplay between the two cultures

(I am aware that the title is an obvious joke and has been used on LJ already by someone else. But I don't care. So there. No time for losers, 'cos we are Duchampians)

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