Monthly Archives: May 2008

The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality, and the Moving Image. Part I: Dreams

So, we were going to the Hirshorn anyway, when the poster for this caught my eye.

What a unique experience. I mean, we are accustomed to sitting in the dark with people watching a movie. We are are accustomed to walking around a well-lit gallery with people looking at art. But what about this? Walking through a darkened gallery with people. Bumping into them. Becoming disoriented. It was somewhat reminiscent of a haunted house.

Which is not to diminish the works of art/films themselves. Some of which I liked more then others, but it was the overall experience of the exhibit that really stuck with me. The red curtain at the entrance, with museum goers silhouetted onto it – are they part of the audience or the art? Looking through a mass of people to glimpse a more popular piece; an interactive piece where the audience needs to figure out that to get the full effect one must look back toward the projector; and the gasp of audience members as a 4-foot project phallus swings into view from a low angle.

The exhibit ends on May 11, with Part II: Realities to follow in July.

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