Thursday, October 19, 2006

I am definitely reading too many books at one time. I realised today that this is the reason why I don't seem to be blogging about books particularly at the moment - because I keep adding to the ongoing pile rather than completing any of them. I'll make a concerted effort over the weekend to maintain some focus!

In the meantime, travelling up to London for my weekly Tamil class is great. Not only do I get to study, but I see friends and can explore other interesting things going on in the city. Last week I stayed on overnight as well as travelling up again on the weekend as a group of friends were in town for a show by one of them (that sounds so grammatically awkward!) at the Albion Gallery. It has now closed - next time I'll try and mention it ahead of time so that those interested in seeing him in action can do so. Some of Mingwei's work is still currently exhibiting at Tate Liverpool though, so do head over there if you're in the area. You can add your own (or a family member's) homemade textiles to the exhibit, and comment on associated memories. There seem to be lots of you bloggy types who make wonderfully interesting textiley creations as well as blogs, so go on!

Lee Mingwei is an artist of ephemeral and interactive exchanges. He does not (mostly) create pieces which hang on walls. This is not the kind of art I feel a strong connection to, in the main. However, knowing Mingwei has challenged me to look more closely at what it is I consider art, and why. What kinds of art I like, and why. He says it best (in an interview here):
"I'm very comfortable with people not knowing if my projects are art or not," he said. "When people ask me, is it art? I ask them, what is an apple? Usually they give a descriptive answer - it's a fruit, it's red, etc. Then I ask, when do you really know it's an apple? And most people say, when I eat it. That's when you know it's art, when you experience it with your senses, with your memory, when you own the work. That would be a better way to decide it's art - or maybe you don't have to decide at all."
This helps me begin approaching some of the "modern art" out there, and grappling with it.

As well as Mingwei's GERNIKA IN SAND, I had a marvellous time sliding down Carsten Holler's giant slides in the turbine hall of the Tate Modern on the Southbank. Woo hoo! SO MUCH FUN! I confess I shrieked (not too loudly) as I hit the first abrupt turn - it starts you off slowly awkward and then almost immediately shunts you around a spiral with significant force. Quite by chance Debi Alper was there on the same day (see her post here) - and we wondered if we'd stood next to one another without knowing? Small world... Our party of sliders had a good age range with a top end of 65, so you have no excuse for not trying, as long as you can get to the museum. So, well, is this art?


Anonymous Ann said...

I think there must be two very definite types of reader, those who always have more than one book on the go and those who don't. I very definitely belong to the second type. I can't handle more than one world in my head at any one time. I do normally have a book of letters or journals by my bed because I daren't take another world into sleep with me, I wouldn't be able to leave it behind, but two fictions I would find impossible. I wonder if this is related to those who can multitask and those who can't? I am definitely not a multitasker.

6:39 pm  
Blogger equiano said...

You may have something there - I am a multitasker, and do tend to have several books on the go. BUT, I think I may have gone a little over the top this time (even for me)! Am trying to reign it in (although it hasn't stopped me from buying more books - aargh!) so I am not allowed to start another new book until I've reduced my current pile by at least half. Let's see if it works...

7:10 am  

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