Strange Days: Memories of the Future reunites works by renowned artists and filmmakers who have shown their works at the New Museum, New York, in its ten years on the Bowery. I saw the exhibition at 180 The Strand and I soon realised that all the pieces were led by a common thread: the influence of images over memories and visions of the future at the same time. It was an unusual concept to get my head around.
The works of a collection of compelling video artists and filmmakers were present, all of whom have shifted the ways we think about images and memory. I found that they all largely did this by recasting their individual experiences and visions alongside speculations on what the future may hold. I was interested seeing how previous experiences can impact one’s vision of the years to come and the multiple perceptions of this.
I wasn’t expecting the artwork to be presented as large-scale, multi-screen video installations – the scale really brought the pieces to life and made them interactive and captivating to watch; they were almost life-size.
If I am honest, I found parts of the exhibition confusing, but this is maybe because it wasn’t easily digestible art; each video is filled with ideas and concepts, every piece took my brain a while to work out the connections and connotations. I found that some of the themes clashed and overlapped. I usually like to have a conclusive message when I leave an exhibition, but I found that I couldn’t easily pick out my take-away point.
I did however like the way it was laid out; walking through the dark tunnel corridors made the whole thing more eerie and added to the suspense. It also had an unusual damp-like smell when you went to level -2, which added to the disturbing nature.
Having said this I do think that the work is a statement about the past, present and future of video art and shows individual perceptions. I also appreciate how long these films would have taken to construct – one being 6 hours long for example.
I enjoyed the different fabric textured floors, for one in particular we had to remove our shoes. It is this idea of materialed flooring that we need to incorporate into our window display. It was this as well as the ASMR soundscape and subtle gestures that we would like to explore further in our concept development.
My favourite part of the exhibition was the circular space filled with cushioned beds, where we laid and looked at the moving animation on the ceiling. I wasn’t sure on the narrative, but I thought the use of colour, pattern and texture really satisfied the eye and also made us all stop and take a minute to observe.