On one of the many record breaking 'hottest days' we had a family outing to Oxford to see the Stradivarius exhibition at The Ashmolean Museum. Gathered together there were 21 instruments of the master violin maker Antonio Stradivari. For me the most interesting part of the exhibition was seeing the recreation of his workshop, in which his original tools and patterns were displayed. There was also a film that showed the violin making process - it's always a pleasure to see someone crafting an object! One thing that amazed me though was that there was no music played throughout the display! Surely along with these beautifully crafted and adored instruments one should able to hear the sound that can be produced from them? No, it wasn't to be, well not when we were there. I think there were two recitals during the run of the exhibition separate to the show. Maybe there was music on the audio guides that museums are so keen on these days, I'm not a fan of these devices, I prefer to experience a show personally, gathering information by reading curators notes, talking to the staff and coming to my own conclusions. Better still if someone is with me when it's also nice to discuss the exhibition and hear others' reactions.
|Oh! If only I could have heard you playing!|
On the textiles scene it was very exciting to go to 'Prick Your Finger' to see 'Chicken Strikken' an exhibition by activist knitter Lisa Anne Auerbach. Read about it here......
|Rachael, owner of Prick Your Finger and supremo knitter!|
We also immersed ourselves in Punch Drunk's and The National Theatre's production of The Drowned Man housed in a gigantic old abandoned sorting office in Paddington.. For me this was a totally new experience. I had only ever been to traditional plays and performances so was a little bit nervous about being in an audience where - 'you will be masked for the duration of the performance, need to wear comfortable footwear, will be separated from your group, and where there will be areas of darkness and confined space', and all for three hours! All I can say is that it was a fascinating experience made even more surreal by wearing a mask and by being told not to say a word to anyone. I really enjoyed watching the performers move and dance, it was quite beautiful at times. It was like being inside a television moving around the characters, walking around the sets.....you were in your own dream, culminating in the final stage where you and the other 200 or so members of 'the audience' gather together to see the final throes of the actors. I would love to go back, because when you finally get to speak about what happened with your friends you realise that everyones experience was different and that there were whole scenes and rooms that you did not see.....
|What! I didn't see you lady, where was that?|
At the movies we saw Elysium (a little bit silly!), Alpha Papa (a giggle), Museum Notes ( a moving study of two people in an unusual situation)and The Great Gatsby (fantastic costumes).