Friday, 3 December 2010

Biennial .

Alfredo Jaar

In "We wish to inform you that we didn't know", Jaar replays footage of Bill Clinton apologising to a Rwandan audience for not acting more quickly and decisively during the 1994 genocide and appearing to acknowledge that he had not fully understood the gravity of the situation. This is followed with testimony from three survivors of the genocide.

 I found this short film piece particularly powerful and emotive. It was shown across three screens, which continuously switched, sometimes repeating certain parts. I felt this acted as a tool to keep the audience continually engaged and stimulated and to highlight particularly poignant parts of the film,  "All over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, day after day after day, who did not fully appreciate the depth and the speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror."  for example, is repeated three times. This film opened my eyes to a terrible occurrence that I was naive to. It brought me out of the self centred bubble I live in, surrounded with my own personal problems, and gave me a sense of perspective. It also made me question once more, mans capacity for evil. I left this film, wanting to research more, and I believe this to be the mark of good art, to induce curiosity, trigger an emotional reaction, and to ultimately make you think.

We wish to inform you that we didn't know.

Nicholas Hlobo at The Bluecoat

I don't normally go to exhibitions alone. I feel as though I loose all sense of how long I should look at something. I begin questioning myself, 'if I continue to look at this piece intently, will I appear knowledgeable to surrounding people?'. I shouldn't really care. Anyway, I did go to this exhibition alone, and I'm glad I did. As you go upstairs in the Bluecoat you are met by an array of colourful ribbons pouring down the stairs. As I reached the top I crept through a ribboned curtain into the unknown. I had no idea what direction I should be heading, and there was no sign of anyone else around but continued to weave my way through this dense surreal environment. The piece was incredibly tactile and almost magical in its simple beauty. I eventually came across two black rubber figures, engaged in a whispered conversation, clothed in fabric and more rubber. I felt as though I had found the centre of a maze which triggered a small sense of achievement. I began wondering what I'd do if they suddenly turned to look at me, no doubt I'd have minor stroke and end up tangled in a web of colourful ribbons on the floor. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this piece, and felt a little deflated when leaving the Bluecoat, and heading back to 'the real world'.

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