The watchers and the explorers

So, here they come again, my observations of the Biennale Arte in Venice audience. A month later. Another non-scientific “classification”.

(estimated reading time: 1 minute 25 sec)

I would say there are two kinds of people here at Biennale: “the watchers” and “the explorers”. Those that expect the visual arts biennale to be just visual and those that came here to discover and understand. The first ones: enter, look around and go out. The others stop at the entrance to read the description about the exhibition to put it in the context before they dive in. There is a bias: our pavilion is at the end of Giardini, so for many visitors, it is a final act of their long (and hot) day with the art. I sometimes rephrase Freddie Mercury and say: “too much art could kill you”. So, the reality for some could be – switching off the explorer and going into a “just watching” mode. Both modes are fine if we don’t expect everyone to have the same way of experiencing the art.

The question I would be interested in getting the answer for would be, how those two different approaches – the one that is sensual only and the other involving intellect is caused by arts education? Formal or informal. Is it worth to tell people that they can get much more from the art if they put it in the context? And that they would also start thinking better of themselves if they do so? It would make them stop thinking: “art is not for me as I do not understand” (that is the cause of many non-attendances). Maybe someone should tell them that some artists do not expect an audience to know everything and to read artists’ minds? Some just want us to read the description.



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3 types of Biennale audience?*

3 types of Biennale audience?*

* a warning – I made it up after 11 hours of non-scientific observation of an audience in the Polish pavilion presenting work of an American artist Sharon Lockhart inspired by Janusz Korczak – Polish-Jewish educator; 3-4 June 2017

(estimated reading time: 1 minute)

So, here they are – in no particular order and definitively not judging as anyone who came gets already credits for coming!:

I don’t care – I came as a part of my city visit**, just looking (attention span 6sec- 1 min).

I might care – I visit museums while on holidays**. Show me something interesting/beautiful/intriguing and I will give you my attention. Often read the description after viewing or take a photo of it (for reading later?) (attention span 3-8 min).

I care – I visit galleries and museums quite often**. I read the description first; stay for a while and maybe even ask a question (why American in the Polish pavilion? He [Korczak] was Jewish, wasn’t he? Is she [Lockhart] Jewish? Who are those young people in the pictures?) (attention span 5-15 min)

Nationality is the main attention trigger here (we have 3: American, Jewish and Polish; in that order). Sound and video is the 2nd one.

Could such information be useful for exhibition organisers?

** assumption!

PS. I will see if further observation will change my view 🙂

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Why should we teach art subjects at schools?

Why should we teach art subjects at schools? Is it important to recognise the name of an artist or to know art history to understand the art? Or to practice art at school to secure future engagement in the art (as an audience)?

(estimated reading time: under 1 minute)

Perhaps, as much as we try to include culture in other policies, we should integrate art into other school subjects? Enriching teachers’ methodologies and bringing: emotions, empathy and aesthetics into everything that is taught at schools? Not for the art’s sake. To explore and expand the use of the arts as triggers of humanity (and creativity, and critical thinking, experience based learning and… etc. etc). “Drama become the impetus for discussion, attending an arts workshop triggers personal reflection, or visiting a gallery result in affective learning.” (How Adults Learn about Multicultural Diversity through Participating in the Arts by Sherre Wesley 2001). Those integrated in the school curriculum might have additional sense. Nothing new, I am afraid. Still underused.

PS. I am starting short, weekly reflections on tons of books/texts that I read for my PhD studies…

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Audience development to nie sprzedaż.

museums3„No tak, ale dyrektor nie jest zainteresowany zmianami programowymi wynikającymi z potrzeb/charakterystyki widowni, wymaga natomiast zwiększenia frekwencji“ Czytaj dalej

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„Wiemy wszystko!”

Im dłużej pracuję w kulturze tym częściej czuję, że nie wiem wszystkiego. Ale czy można wiedzieć wszystko?

Czytaj dalej

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About ethics in art

cropped-p1110519.jpg„Maintaining ethical standards in the art world is the responsibility not only of artists, but also cultural institutions and those who support them. Any decision taken by an institution should be made with respect for its public, the people who work for it and the artists who collaborate with it.” Ahmet Öğüt

Artists Withdraw from the 19th Sydney Biennale over Transfield Sponsorship

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Co może publiczność?

widownia_mWieteska„Reżyser ma prawo do prowokacji, a publiczność nie?”

Z opóźnieniem, ale warto o warto o proteście publiczności w Teatrze Starym w Krakowie i tekście Joanny Szczepkowskiej pamiętać (i warto zajrzeć do komentarzy pod nim). I jeszcze Kazimierz Kutz i Witold Mrozek o tym samym. Reżyser ma prawo do prowokacji. Publiczność też.


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