Friday, 31 October 2008


so, after a night of insomnia i take it into my head to go and visit edinburgh. i want to see an exhibition at the fruitmarket called close-up. that's all i know about it. seeing the subtitle - proximity and defamiliarisation in art, film and photography - may have given me pause but as i i didn't, then it didn't. after that brief tour i head over to the city. they have the usual edinburgh paintings, all of which i've seen, then a quality couple of floors of rcahms material that is rather lovely. i could've spent more time but lack of sleep is catching up on me along with the beginnings of a nagging and persistent headache. this affects floor four, which is a very interactive drawing thing but i am soothed by floor five, which is entitled space age and is filled with all manner of paraphernalia from round tvs, models of moonlanders, various clockwork robots and a loop tape featuring the clangers. there can be few thinngs in life as soothing as the tones of oliver postgate, be they in the clangers, or my more favoured bagpuss and noggin the nog. there are children dressing up as astronauts. easily the best thing i see all day. the poetry library will not compete so i do not venture there.

it's not the exhibition itself that dismays me in close-up, more the lack of imagination. there are old botanical pictures that, to me, though interesting are pedestrian. there's nothing modern and no electron microscopy! wild and crazy close up forms this is not going to be, except maybe one of spines on a shrimps head. the rest of it is close ups of the body, none of which have any real anatomical worth and i don't see anything aesthetically pleasing. plus i'm reminded yet again just how much people are fascinated by their genitals, or rather those of others. mona hatoum has a close up of a scrotum, some other woman has a vidiot of her husband perusing her body with a camera. guess what? he's fascinated by that vagina. t puts it to me that perhaps i have seen too much in this field and i'm inclined to agree.

however outside i'm reminded of why cities are so much more interesting than towns. despite the cold i spend much time gawping at all the faces. i used to notice it more when i was on the islands, where there's much more homogeneity - we referred to it as the 'cousin factor'. as when i lived there i have the notion that i couldn't be bored so long as i had a window that overlooked the street. it even distracts me as i languish in traffic, thanks to the installation of the trams. i have my visit to fopp and beyond words, then get off home, not even bothering with a stroll in portobello. i saw no-one i knew, most have either left, are on holiday or even working. any that remain will probably only come out later and i don't think any of us would be that happy with re-acquaintance. it's like being in a memory, all the same things are being repeated, i even hear someone on the radio who sounds spookily like me. no wonder i don't visit much these days, it feels too much like repetition


Sorlil said...

what is it with these exhibitions! when I was in Gothenburg a couple of years ago we went to the natural history museum only to come across an exhibition called 'the love tunnel' which was basically walls covered in hundreds of plastercasts of vaginas and penis', needless to say we took lots of pics, lol!

Rachel Fox said...

I know what you mean about visiting a city you spent a lot of long, heavy nights in. Mine was Leeds and when I go there now I feel a ghost...a ghost who eats a lot of cakes but a ghost all the same.

swiss said...

i'd like to be a cake-eating ghost!