Friday, 10 October 2008

Art and Resistance.

Spent the afternoon in the Imperial War Museum. I wish it were called something different, 'Imperial' is just off putting - perhaps Museum of Conflict and Resolution would just be to hippy. It's a brilliant resource nevertheless

My friend Emma is currently writing on spiritual resistance in the Jewish ghetto, so we went off to look for material in Holocaust exhibition. After three hours, we'd barely left the first room. Her research so far has uncovered a play called 'The King' - which may have been transported from Warsaw to Auschwitz and according to some accounts it was performed/ read in both places.

On Wednesday Matt is off to South Africa for six weeks to research his Robben Island Project.

It's vital to be reminded that the shared experience art, music and poetry can stimulate the imagination (the sense of what might be if...) and fortify against unbridled cruelty and ignorance.

Increasingly I'm more interested in the context in which the creative act takes place rather than its content. The frisson, the power seems to come from its being live, intertwined with a specific place in time and space.

On the way out we passed a section of the Berlin wall, free standing in the museum gardens.

Two years ago in the Brooklyn Museum I saw some of Jean-Michel Basquiat's subway graffiti, originally sprayed angrily across NYC in the late seventies, but now, cut down, framed and displayed in formal arrangements. Preserved as artefacts in aspic, I found both of these experiences underwhelming. Removed from the tensions that originally led to their creation they'd lost all their energy.
In contrast in the great hall an old soldier in a wheelchair and a badge saying '90 today!' Surrounded by several generations of his family he sat, enthralled, pointing and naming all the aeroplanes hanging from the ceiling. Sadly disappointment came when his daughter, flicked off his brakes, and wheeled him away towards his special birthday treat ... a trip on the London eye.

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