Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The (rather sad) lost of appreciation.

This got me thinking:

"I realise I would never have seen these two rocks were tied together by three pairs of socks if if [hey, her words] wasn't through my LCD screen: I was too busy shooting." 
-Garance DorĂ©, via Nowness, on an artwork she photographed at the Art Biennale

When I first heard about Garance's (because we're close like that) trip to Venice, I was actually excited to see her street style shots and to read her always-so-amusing anecdotes. She also announced that she was going to see the 54th International Art Exhibition. "Good for her", I though, and then I was quickly absorbed by mundane activities.

A couple of days passed and I paid her (hum, the blog) a little visit. I was a little perplexed to read her recent posts because of the feature she did for Nowness, on the exhibition. Garance Doré, who claimed that she didn't have any profound knowledge on contemporary art took (achingly bright) pictures accompanied by (rather, hum, simplistic) remarks, that were virtually published on a website which excels in "luxury storytelling". Why in the world did Nowness choose a self-proclaimed neophyte to cover an important exhibition?

But who am I to criticize a world-renowned blogger (if that term can even be applied)? This is my second post and I currently have 4 followers (whom I all know, thanks to school). I don't have any grand knowledge either on history of art, although I am excited to study this fascinating subject this September. 

I guess what appalled me the most is that she was at the museum, watching the exhibition through a tiny screen. I am not against the idea of shooting artwork. I just don't think that you can  properly capture something that you can't truly understand. Isn't photography about expressing an idea, showing the audience your vision? I don't think Garance intended to project ignorance and her naivety through her pictures (and especially, to share it with the World Wide Web).
All this brings us down to the value of appreciation. (Yes, a definition (or four) is totally necessary.) 

1. Recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things.
2. A judgment or opinion, especially a favorable one.
3. An expression of gratitude.
4. Awareness or delicate perception, especially of aesthetic qualities or values.

At the Biennale, even though she was surrounded by it, Garance didn't truly appreciate fine art (even through her expensive LCD screen). But let's not confuse appreciation with understanding.

Today (wow, I sound like an elderly person), everyone has a (or several) digital cameras. Today (again, the elderly voice ), youngsters (I am mentally a 86 year-old lady) bring their cameras everywhere with them, and that's fine with me. After all, this picture-taking obsession has a useful purpose: to preserve memories. Unfortunately, this habit can be slightly irritating, especially during concerts. It makes me cringe to watch all the flashing lights during a televised music presentation, instead of seeing the crowd dance or chant with the performer. It seems that the audience doesn't fully live the moment - it is too preoccupied to take blurry pictures and shaky videos. I once went to an outdoor concert and the person beside me looked so uninterested at what was happening on stage, whereas the video he was filming was the "greatest thing". You would think these precious (but badly captured) moments would be cherished by the person who refrained his urge to dance around and to sing (maybe off-key) to his favorite songs, just so the band mates' faces would be slightly visible or that the sound of the video would not screech. Alas no, all those pixels rarely make the Facebook cut. I bet the "amateur" glanced at these pictures and watched those videos only once or twice, and then deleted those empty moments to make memory space for more concerts. And the circle goes on and on...

This is why I admire the Slow Movement. Don't be suspicious, it is not a sect!
What started as a protest against an opening of a McDonald in Rome back in 1986, is now expanding in other areas than food. Slow Art consists of "appreciating art in itself, as opposed to a rapid, flitting witnessing of art, common in a hectic societal setting". So Garance, instead of watching people's reactions (or cameras), concentrate on the artwork, without the hassle of taking pictures. 
The Slow Movement is also affecting fashion. 10 Corso Como, the epitome of luxury, opened in 1990 and is a "multifunctional concept dedicated to art, fashion, music, design, cuisine and culture". Bref, all the good stuff. Created by Carla Sozzani (yes, Franca's sister), it allows shoppers to enjoy the moment. Finally, a department store where you can wander in peace, without pressing and disapproving looks from salespeople!