march 29th 2011

went to the susan hiller exhibition at tate britain. fascinating. took my two daughters (21 and 22) and was very interested in their responses. they enjoyed it but felt that it ‘wasn’t art’ – their idea of ‘true’ art being highly skilled representational art – ‘something that i couldn’t possibly ever do, like watching the ENB do ballet, or the WNO sing opera’.

i was most moved by the ‘silent movie’ piece about extinct or near-extinct languages – both the film with its audio track of the spoken language accompanied by the sub titled translation on a blank screen; and also the pen and ink drawings of the oscillographic representations of the spoken languages.

i had expected to be really moved by the J-street project but it actually left me feeling surprisingly unmoved.

the punch and judy film brought back incredibly clear memories of seeing original seaside punch and judy as a very small child, and made me realise that small children are completely innocent of the nature of the horrors being enacted in front of them.

the piece that i enjoyed the most at every level – aesthetic, conceptual, and philosophical, was ‘witness’ – very beautiful visually, and immersing audibly. i enjoyed the interactive nature of it, that as you walk through it you can hear individual voices telling their stories in many different languages.


i will try and return before the exhibition ends