Day 599 OUT OF Beijing: Pier 24 Photography

 

PIer 24 and traintracks.

Pier 24 and long unused train tracks.

 

Jill and I headed to our 1 pm appointment at Pier 24 to get more information for SF Tourism Tips.

We arrived a bit early and hung around outside and enjoyed the gorgeous sunshine.

We are still getting used to having sunshine and fresh air every single day and being able to go out of the house whenever we want without fear of getting sick and having to wear a M95 mask to breathe safely.

It is a joy that we will never forget or take for granted.  Sadly, the first thing we would do when we woke up was look at my phone, check the Air Quality App and decide whether we would go outside or not.  It truly controlled that much of our daily lives.

I suggest you think a bit on your ability to breathe freely and not have to wear masks, drink bottled water, or worry about where your meat came from a few times today.

We had to do that for 1.5 years.

It gives us more to love and enjoy whatever we are doing in the SF Bay Area.

As the clock ticked down to 1 pm, we walked back to the gallery and pushed the “click to talk” button beside the door.

They told us to come inside and we entered.

There were four very nice people behind the desk and they told us about the show, called Secondhand, about re-attributed photographs, and a book that explained how to enjoy the gallery and not get lost.

The reason I mention not getting lost is that it is a huge gallery and it has about 20 or so rooms.  Some are tiny little alcoves but it could take a long time if someone got lost and confused and wanted to leave quickly.

I am not sure I like re-attributed photographs but I understand the idea: someone (not sure I can call them artists at this point) takes someone else’s photographs, manipulates them in some way, and then calls it their own.

I guess, in a way, this is sort of like “sampling” in music but there may be almost no difference at all.

In fact, say you found my family album at Goodwill and decided to buy it.  You could them frame my pictures and sell them as your own because you framed them and made them yours.  This is a simplistic example but there was work there that was basically just that: someone had found a person’s family album, bought it, and then took the pictures they liked, photographed them again, printed them out and adjusted the colors, and then it became, “their art.”

As a budding artist/photographer, and a person who has a mom who is definitely an artist, I have some issues with this.  I’d hate for someone to take my photographs, change a few things like color or brightness, and then sell them as their own art.  It seems somewhat unethical and immoral but maybe that is just me.

There was one specific part of the exhibition that I truly enjoyed: Eric Kessel’s 24 Hours.  It is a room full of photographs that he asked to have downloaded, and then printed, of everyone single person that posted their photographs to Flikr within a single 24 hour period.  I believe there were over 1,000,000 photos all laid out on the floor, and up the walls, and it was very powerful to stand in the middle of all those memories.

Eric Kessels 24 Hours.

Eric Kessels’ 24 Hours.

As we walked up to the exhibit room, one of the staff told us we were welcome to walk inside it and view it from the center of the room and see how we liked it.  We both picked up some photographs and looked at them.  Many were very disparate but there were still some that were obviously of the same kid or baby and had not been scattered yet.

Interesting enough, I really didn’t like any of the other parts of the exhibition by Eric Kessels as they seemed to be more like the ones I wrote about above and made me feel very uneasy regarding who is the artist and who deserves credit for these photographs.  I liked seeing other peoples’ histories and stories, but I’m not sure it quite sat correctly with me and that he would be getting credit for what they’ve actually done in the past.  Then again, Eric Kessels did manipulate the photographs and, if he hadn’t make these exhibits, they’d be lost to space and time.  Again, a tough question to figure out regarding right and wrong.

The different photographs that have been re-attributed.

The different photographs that have been re-attributed.

 

We also saw a photograph of the famous 1911 Hebron, Nebraska tornado that someone had taken.  Jill is from Nebraska so she knew of it immediately and it is a beautiful photograph.  Just utter desolation and very powerful.

As we left the exhibition, we were a little unsure whether we liked it or not.  We both feel strongly about artists doing their own art and having credit given to them.  However, a lot of this art would have been lost to the dump if not for these artist that found them, changed them, and kept them alive.

Is this really art?

Questions without answers.

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