On Saturday I went to the Museum of Modern Art Museum in Oxford avec my chum Anna who, being an art teacher in a school in Bristol herself, I thought might enjoy and appreciate a look around the exhibition (also it was free entry and we’re broke!) I’ve been once before but found the project on at the time (that centred around oranges??) rather bizarre and I didn’t ‘get’ it. The itty bitty museum was founded in 1966 and showcases copious amount of interactive and innovative art projects. The museum’s aim is to bring contemporary art to everyone and make it more accessible and enjoyable.
Currently the museum is showcasing Anne Hardy’s FIELD project which uses a variety of audio, photography and sculptures with the combination of different colours, materials and textures in order to present a variety of ‘landscapes.’ You can read more about the exhibition and the artist herself here.
Not that the bar was set particularly high after the last visit, but this exhibition certainly exceeded expectations and I found it so much more interesting and enjoyable than that revolving around spherical fruit. Provided with a well-explained pamphlet I was actually able to understand the artists intentions behind her work, something that is very rare with exhibitions and I’m often left dumbfounded and headachy in desperate attempts to understand what they truly meant before giving up entirely and left disappointed.
We had to take our shoes off and walk around this rectangular room covered in bright yellow felt full of weird and quirky sculptures (I confess, I felt a little like the wife in Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper!) Whilst completely baffled at the time and thinking that the swirly material on the floor was spaghetti, all was made clear in the next section. The spaghetti sculptures weren’t in fact a form of pasta but rather models of debris that the artist had swept up post the production of her ‘central’ piece (sadly I didn’t manage to get a good picture of this – sorry!) Alongside the bizarre reincarnations of this dust n shiz echoed odd noises which you find out are what Hardy thought the debris would sound like; I promise it was much cooler but just as mad as it sounds!
The exhibition was bright, fun and defiantly worth a little meander around if you’re in the area because it’s unusual, free and there’s something warming about appreciating and supporting ‘smaller’ and local artists.
The human foot has 26 bones, 19 muscles and tendons, 33 joints and 107 ligaments. If we did the recommended 10,000 steps a day that is 185,000 movements just within one foot alone. That’s 350,000 movements in your feet. These movements that allow us to walk don’t even credit the movement require in the bending of our legs or the swinging of our arm.
I considered this when I was on a walk with my dog the other day; how marvellous my feet are. I focused on the way my toes curl and uncurl with every step in order to grip onto the ground. I listened to the crunching of the leaves beneath my feet, revelling in the satisfaction that the sound bought me. I took note of my breathing and my heart, trying to fathom how my body could hold hundreds of thousands of miles of blood vessels with enough iron to create a 3-inch long nail inside. Our hearts beat between 60-80 beats per minute equating to over 3 billion beats a lifetime. Each beat when you pay attention seems so simple and as if cleverly co-ordinated by a machine but in reality each beat itself if far more complex involving contractions of the aorta and ventricles, AV and semilunar valves all controlled by the admission of an electrical currents between the nodes within the heart. I spent a good minute of the walk solely homing in on these movements that go unrecognized and equally unappreciated each and every day. The 576 megapixels of my eye (far better than any Canon camera you can buy on Amazon) means I see the leaves dance to the rhythm of the wind and distinguish between 10 million different shades that the seasons provide. I can hear the songs the birds are singing and feel the bark peeling away from the trees towering over me, protecting me from the rain that feels fresh upon my face and is almost sweet to taste. These thoughts that I am thinking as I am walking are involving the signalling of nerve impulses to my brain at the mind-boggling motion of 250 miles per hour.
I’ve been doing this a lot recently; thinking about the tiny and seemingly insignificant but actually vital miracles that I can perform. It is these thoughts that allow me to rationalize things and put situations into perspective when I can feel myself becoming out of touch with reality or overwhelmed by seemingly sizeable issues. It is somewhat selfish of us to complain about muddy footprints on the floor or the windy weather of winter when every second of every day or bodies are carrying out functions outside of anything we can imagine in order to keep us ALIVE.
Next time you feel stressed, ungrateful, anxious even, take notice of your senses, appreciate your surroundings and for a moment, just a minuscule moment of your day, appreciate the craftiness of your creation.