*At the Royal Academy – Summer Exhibition 2015
As I walked into Room III, which had walls that were covered in the brightest magenta, an acrylic piece by Derek Boshier titled “Reigning Apps and Blogs” immediately caught my attention.
The colours that Boshier used in his piece as well as his painting style have both allowed his piece to almost jump off of the wall as you enter the room. As bold as the piece is in and of itself, I do believe that the choice of displaying the work on a wall of such contrast made the piece scream out, giving it more attention than it would have were it displayed on a whitewashed surface.
After taking note of his bold style, the painting of the two hands holding onto a smart phone with an image on it is what caught my attention. As my eyes moved from one small image to another I began to connect the dots and pull the entire piece together; interpreting it in its details as well as the image in its entirety.
What a poignant, tangible wakeup call this piece carries!
Take a look at the image painted in the hand held device. What do you see?
That’s right. There is a black and white image of a female with a hand on her face posing over what looks like a body of a second female figure, while a male figure looks as though he is checking the extent of an injury. Have you asked yourself yet about why we are seeing such a sinister view through the screen of a smart phone? I’m asking because that’s the first question I considered. So, whoever took this image was a bystander and witness of a tragedy who chose to “capture the moment” rather than lend a hand.
Take another look. There is an image of war through what seems like a seat within a war vehicle or a tank. There is another picture of a female in a bathing suit… possibly depicting a relationship. There is an image of what looks like a sarcophagus depicting history and another of two ladybirds depicting nature. Everything is seen through the eyes of technology rather than the human eye. Do you see where I’m heading with this?
Images of war are viewed from a distance and detachment creating a barrier easing the desensitization process. Relationships are loosing the personal and human connectivity needed to make them last. History is being framed by what mass media wants you to see. Even nature itself is being “admired” on a flat screen and not interacted with. And to top it all off the phones are collectively covering a winding road leading towards mountains as though replacing the clouds of a landscape. The road being a symbol of life’s journey and the mountains life’s goals neither of which are being experienced by the human race due to our obsession with sticking to our screens!
After taking a much closer look at the piece I referred to the catalogue in search of its title which turned out to support my interpretation with a very clever play on words as the piece is called: Reigning Apps and Blogs. As useful as technology can be many are allowing it to quite literally take over their lives and it’s scary!
Now, having written all that, I realise two things in particular:
1) I want to point out that I see technology as a tool and not an enemy! It is how you use this tool that will determine whether or not you allow it to enrich your life or take it over. Personal opinion: What I see as enriching is being given the chance to really stay connected with the people who matter to you most, to share and discuss ideas and to become better informed about various issues and the world we live in. What is unproductive is allowing technology to rob you of feeling, of connectivity (ironically) and being a distraction.
2) Yes I took photographs at the exhibition! I used my smart phone but I was well aware of its ability to rob me of the moment of enjoying the exhibition and so, I didn’t over do it and put it away frequently to enjoy the moment.