It was a lovely spring Saturday and I had the day off work so I had planned on going into Newcastle, do to what I was not sure. And as you can see I ended up at the Baltic in Gateshead.
I had not been there since Get North 2018 so I was interested to see what new exhibits were there.
When I do go the Baltic I like to start at the bottom and work my way up. So starting with the first exhibit, Digital Citizen which was a darkened room full of a range of artworks created by different artists and different mediums.
It is all about creating a conversation between the audience and artists about politics, the media, fake news and the digital age. I did find it all to be a little scary and overwhelming, I did not like all of the pieces but there were a few I liked.
Now I did not take photos of the art because A it was dark B I was not sure if I was allowed and C I really love it if you could go there and see for yourself what it is like.
The first piece that drew me to look at it, was this wooden shed in the middle of the space. You have to look through the curtains and windows to see it what is inside. And you see these tiny half bird half human figures doing a variety of things, but what I notice is that they all look unhappy and they all want to escape the shed. I looked closely and I saw what looked to be a dictator and people applauding it and some people crushed and devastated. There is also a projector and you can see these bird/men creatures in what looked to be a beheading, it was horrific. Yet interesting and to me, it was a portrayal of what our planet looks like when other planets see us.
The next piece in the same exhibition was the Trolloololologram (hope I have spelt that right) and it was this really visual picture, whereby if you moved one way you would see a boy on his laptop in his room, then you move another way and see a monster on a laptop and then you move another way and see a person with a brick as a head. And as I was moving around I noticed that the objects and posters were changing too. It was a strong piece about the media and young people and how they change when they are online.
The final piece that I liked from Digital Citizen was Fake News Fairy Tale, which is a short film about the creation of fake news and how that can have a serious effect on the public and the government. As a Journalism Grad I really found the film to be thought-provoking and it raised a lot of thoughts for me about how the media covers news stores.
Up to the next level (and yes I took the stairs) to see Declaration of Independence. If you click the links to the Baltic site you can see what the exhibitions look like. Declaration of Independence is created by Barry Asante, you walk in and it feels like you have walked into the question time set.
Again is it a theme of conversation and collective thinking. Within this set, there are two screens with Asante speaking about treaties of independence, coalitions, trade deals, manifestos and policies.
Asante says: “I am bringing together groups of womxn of colour to reflect on how the political affects the personal and how cultural implications of historic declarations, policies and legislation impact on their lives; to consider the possibilities for collective actions for the future and to rethink our understanding of monumental moments in world history such as declarations of independence.”
If I am honest I did not stay too long in this one, I sat there and tried to understand but I could not make a connection with this piece so I did leave early before the screening had finished.
Moving swiftly on, I saw THE CITY IS WHERE WE’RE GOING NEXT by Simon and Tom Bloor.
This one is clearly popular with the children and it was because of that, that I could not take any more photographs.
It is like a giant playground but with an urban twist. It allows children to climb, build, bounce and leap of a space. The exhibition takes its title from American landscape architect and urban playground designer M. Paul Freidberg’s idea of ‘enjoying the city – taking landscape architecture away from this preconceived notion that a city is a hostile place… to me, the city is where we’re going next.’
And if this is going to be the city of our future then I am all for it, with all the bad news in the world I think we could all do with a bit of fun.
Whilst the exhibits are full of heavy topics, they do offer up a conversation and reaction with the audience which is important. I don’t visit The Baltic often enough so it was nice to be able to do something different, rather than go into town and shop which is usually what I do.
If you do want to visit The Baltic or need some more info click here
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