By guest blogger Marcie Foster, part of the KS 300 class (meet them here>).
Exploring a gallery, I find myself a little bored. I’ve seen these images a few times now, I know the lines and I know the colours. Even when I close my eyes, I can tell you exactly how it looks. Visually speaking, I’m fulfilled. I am a little careless and I pull out my iPod.
The art world shuns me. The high-brow activity of perusing art, of examination: it’s all lost as I put in one ear bud, and then the other.
What song to pick? I’m a musician, I’m an artist. The two combine in perfect harmony, well… in my head at least. I select a generic classical track, and move on to viewing the next piece.
I love collecting soundtracks; I appreciate them for their standalone quality as well as the accompaniment with film. I wonder though, as the song ends and I move on: “but art, why doesn’t art deserve a soundtrack?”
Why doesn’t a gallery get background music? Would it conflict with the already sterile silence of the space? These are some of the questions I ask myself as I flip back and forth between songs, between genres, between artists, between paintings and prints.
It’s not that there’s no music: The Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery is hosting a New Music event Feb 19th at the Gallery. [If you miss it, March 19th is the next event. Find the details here.] I think that it is unfortunate that this event is hosted in co|lab, an event space and not in the main gallery.
I’ve got my ear buds discreetly in and I’ve got the volume at a low level should I be scolded. Why silence is so uncomfortable for me, I’ll never know. I see the changes in each and every piece as the sound flows into my ears. Every song reflects the art differently. I experience new life with each 3 minute increment.
I’d start to dance, but I think that too may be unwelcomed. I have felt the sterility of this space: the intimidating hum of the lights, the clacking of heels through the hallways. Now and then, I see a few children pass through, but all are told to be quiet, and even the teacher whispers. I want to yell out: “What is so important about silence?” Sound waves won’t crack or break; they won’t steal or injure this accumulation of culture.
And all the while, this narrative I’ve got going on in my head is silent. I look like everyone else, quiet as can be, only the squeaking of the soles of my winter boot on the pristine floor.
The gallery has consumed my noise. It is a space, a visual space, supposedly not to be conflicted with sound or audible confusion.
The gallery needs a soundtrack, just as it needs you to come and enjoy its view. There’s nothing wrong with a little music, there’s certainly nothing wrong with conversing: it’s a part of our community; music unites us as people and as Kitchener-Waterloo.
My iPod battery is low. It’s just a coincidence that I’ve finished my tour.