Thursday, 13 January 2011

Children and Cats

One thing that kept on coming to mind when I was at the exhibition, was the difference between the experiences of the various groups of people present. Artists, Dancers, Members of the public, children. I was curious about the difference between the experiences of those who considered the context and historical references of the exhibition and those who experienced it as a physical exploration of play and interaction. More specifically, I was curious to know if the exhibition would be enjoyed more by children or adults. I didn’t want any sort of answer to be given to these questions. It was merely a passing thought that seemed to linger.   I personally enjoyed the experience more as I knew more about it. The conversations both with the invigilators and dancers at the exhibition and with my boyfriend after we had left. I also enjoyed the research that I undertook in preparation for this post. I left the exhibition with a pamphlet, an exhibition guide and a feeling of terror after nearly entering a very small space crammed full of balloons (I have a phobia of the horrible things).  Also I went away with a changed view of choreography, performance and the spaces that surround me in my daily life. These curiosities about different people’s experiences of the exhibition, made me think back to a conversation I had previously with my boyfriend. The conversation was about cats, which would seem unrelated. We were sat in his parent’s kitchen and one of his cats was walking along the kitchen surface and sniffing at random objects, as cats do. He shooed the cat away and we then fell into a discussion about why the cat would enjoy the kitchen more than a human. To this, I concluded that it was due to scale. With cats being smaller than grown humans, it would be much like for them, what it would be like for us to have a giant kitchen to play in with no obligations to hygiene or social restriction. The exhibition reminded me of how I imaged that situation to be like.  I couldn’t help but conclude that children and cats would have a much greater experience of the exhibition. Yes it was interesting to see the people engage with the art works and engage yourself but I couldn’t help but think that perhaps it is cats and children that make the best artists and performers. This may seem like nonsense to some, but to me it makes perfect sense. But then again it was merely a passing thought.

Although I said I didn’t want answers, this is what my other half had to say. 

As adults, we are more likely to want to see the serious side and know about context etc. Do you think this is a hindrance to us enjoying it? Who would you say would enjoy it more, kids or adults?
You can’t really gage who enjoys something more, but I think context is important because people who are interested in art will be interested in that sort of thing and will get more pleasure from that. Like you say, the kids sort of went there and a lot of that went over their heads.

Do you think context ruins the fun experience for adults?
As art you do need to know the context because otherwise it is just a play area.

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