Qurat ul Ain, Technical Assistant, Taxilia Institute, Pakistan and Andrea Terron, Curator, Popol Vuh Museum, Guatemala
Museum Project Day: London Transport Museum and the Tate Modern
Qurat ul Ain:
My visit to the London Transport Museum was all fun, from boarding the train to reaching Leicester Square and then approaching London Transport Museum was quite an episode of excitement. Me, Lena and Hytham were assigned to visit this museum and share our experience and observations with the ITP fellows after getting back. After entering the museum exhibition gives a pleasant surprise. Old trains, trams, buggies and buses are on display.
The museum portrays 200 years of the history of the Transport in London. The display covers past, engages present and predicts future. Along with permanent exhibition museum also hosts a space for future gallery where future transport plans are being exhibited. Currently this space is exhibiting Elizabeth Line Project which is supposed to complete in 2018 and will address the needs of the population of the London (which is set to reach 10 million in 2030). The museum also invites Art and Design Colleges and IT students to come up with innovative ideas and proposals, many such proposals are on display in Future Gallery. Also, they talk about the impact of the transport in the urban development and predict Green Clean future of London.
The museum is quite an exciting place for kids and has many learning programmes for Schools, Young people about contemporary Transport, for Adults and Family as well as Community Learning Programmes. They have space for kids coming to learn art work, drawings and other activities. Museum also hosts a gallery with display of artworks of renowned artists to understand the design process of the London’s transport. Archives, recordings, films, videos and short documentaries are quite helpful for the visitors. Gift shop at the museum is relatively thematic and every souvenir is replicating the London Transport. To cut the story short I would like to say that our visit to London Transport Museum was worth it. I would strongly recommend to everyone coming to London to must visit this museum.
I was happy to be placed in Tate Modern group with my fellow colleagues from Norwich: Mariem, Raneen and Astghik. Thank you, Claire and Rebecca!!!! We decided to go through Blackfriars station and bridge, to see the river and walk next to the river. I think the whole experience was a pleasant one and, also, a little frustrating too, we got there and decided to start at the Boiler House building, fourth floor: Materials and Objects, New Acquisitions and Media Networks. A few questions came up: What’s the meaning of these pieces? How do you define art? And made me think, how can I explain what contemporary or modern art is? How can I express what I feel when I see installations with messages that go above the visual? I was frustrated, I couldn’t explain it, Mariem and Raneen were very patient and open, trying to understand the whole place and what we were doing.
I think that for people that like these “period or type” of art pieces and concepts, they understand that it moves apart from what impressionists, to put an example, wanted to paint and record. In my opinion, artists convey specific messages or experiences in different forms, and now, it just happens to be the time to use materials that are ephemeral and that are recorded or explained in various forms, like photographs, videos or podcasts, books and catalogues, to mention a few. The long debate continues, one side complaining that art is not supposed to be explained with long texts and clarifications, and the other say that art is meant to be felt, a bunch of reactions and feelings, which one is free to understand individually. Artists are just means to convey an idea and every person, with their own idiosyncrasies, will make the interpretation they can and at the end, it will be final, one likes it, or not, one feels, or not.
Let’s not forget the educational role the museum has, and in this case, I feel that there should be a way to guide a person that don’t know about art, giving them questions and a set of analytic tools to understand the meaning of the art work or art trend before it gets dismissed, and these will help explain art for what it is, a way of expressing ideas and feelings in this particular moment in history.