Saturday, January 17, 2009
The Camera Obscura
This post is going to be short and sweet, because I'm rather exhausted. But I resolved to post once a day, and post once a day I shall - even though I've already fallen off of the wagon a couple of times. Oh well. Anyway, today I managed to get to The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum to see The Silent Echo Chamber exhibit I was so excited about. And that was definitely interesting. The difference between John McCain and Barack Obama in those moments before going live were definitely interesting, what with John McCain not blinking (okay, he blinked; but the metaphor is apt) and Obama sitting there serenely reading the paper. And it was well worth the 4 bucks I paid to see it; but there was a part of another exhibit that was infinitely cooler. Well, two parts. One part was a series of 8 1/2 by 11 pieces that each dealt with typefaces and different modes of communicating an often repeated line in the work; it took up an entire wall and was pretty damn cool. But the other was a room housing a Camera Obscura, the point of which was to emphasize The Aldrich's mission statement; that being "look. look again". I'd never heard of a camera obscura before today, but they're pretty awesome. I highly recommend reading up about their history, and finding yourself a public one to view as well. And though for a bit I thought I was involved in some crazy psych experiment - mostly because I have that thought often as I go through my normal day - when I was still encompassed in blackness and the people I was sharing the room with started gushing about how incredible the experience was, as soon as my eyes adjusted I was just as in awe as they were. And after spending a good amount of time in the calm darkness watching inverted images of the world outside play out in front of my eyes, I was treated to a shadow puppet show by one half of a gay couple who wandered in to the room. And while the camera obscura did its job in making me take in a scene I would have normally not paid much heed to, I was almost more impressed with how objects of art like this create an interactive experience - and sometimes lead to moments of shared enjoyment, even when those moments are more facilitated by the art form at hand than directly attributable to the message that art from is attempting to convey.