media arts

Murmurart Review

A Review from the Passing Through exhibition taken from murmurart

‘Passing Through’ is more of an invitation than a conventional exhibition. With sixteen emerging artists and collaborators solely dedicated to drawing you closer to the artwork, the effect is flattering.

Interactive art invigorates viewing stamina. There is no room for snap judgements or superficial assessments of works as you pass through the show. Pieces constantly shift their shapes, changing colour or emitting new sounds, commanding attention to watch or engage with their evolution. In this way, the viewer is driven by their own gaze, curiosity and initiative, while privileged with an unique experience of each piece. A memorable example of this is Bulbcollective’s ‘Outside Line’, a vintage telephone which will transport you with sound to nine different destinations including a Tokyo street, the Rio Carnival, the Amazonian rainforest and the incongruous inclusion of a Wiltshire farm.

Visitors are not instructed or assisted by blurb but left to their own devices in discovering where or how they can fit into the piece. Participating artist Matthew Curtis states that explanation is unnecessary in favour of subjective interpretation. Nevertheless, this does not resolve our innate desire to rationalise and understand.

Viewers are encouraged towards one another to affirm their perspective or see how the piece responds differently with or to someone else. Stuart Dunbar’s understated work ‘Bad Faith’ recalls a skeletal rendering of a Lynn Chadwick sculpture. Disruption of the discreet movement sensor can provoke a range of responses from indiscernible twitching to violent spiky contractions dependent on the viewer. Communal viewing is optimum here and therefore becomes the norm. A fresh dimension is added to the relationship forged between artwork and viewer in that developed between viewers, albeit briefly.

The JT Gallery [TINT] argues that recent artistic activity in Interactive art claims to shun artists whose principal concern is the ‘technically tricky’ in favour of ‘intellectual and referential meaning’. Nevertheless, both of these are to be found and enjoyed in equal measure in here. It cannot be denied that there is pleasure to be found in squinting and stooping in the half-light of the warehouse trying to decipher the installation. While your reflection dances back at you in slow motion from a vast screen, elsewhere a cold drip from a suspended ice block might land in your eye as you peer upward towards an attached spotlight. The unexpected provokes a rewarding delight at ‘Passing Through’, in allowing visitors to temporarily complete works.

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