Posted by: annmucc | September 11, 2010

Exploring Glasgow

On Tuesday I was attending a conference in Scotland with some of my colleagues (read about the conference on the research blog). As there was an early start we made it up to Glasgow Monday morning (a bit too early in the morning I’d say considering that I had less than 4.5hrs at home between arriving from the airport to having to leave to catch the train there).

So far I have not had the opportunity to travel to Scotland. So I was quite excited about what I would say. I expected green hills, gorgeous valleys, and sheep. Alas we visited a city, and not the one with the castle (i.e. Edinburgh).

Having gotten over my initial disappointment at my unrealised frivolous dreams, I soon started enjoying Glasgow. I enjoyed the fact that there was quite a bit going on, but particularly that it seemed like you could quite easily walk anywhere!

Having dropped our stuff at the luggage room at the hotel we soon went off to explore. Our first stop was the Gallery of Modern Art. Admittedly I am not the biggest fan of modern art, so I was not that excited about going in. However, I was soon charmed by the museum!

We first entered the Fiona Tan video installation, Tomorrow.

Tomorrow was filmed in 2005 in a high school on the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden…In an unhurried and deliberate panning movement, the camera surveys a continuous row of high-school students. A large screen shows their individual expressions in close-up…Hanging in front of this is a smaller screen, which shows a slowly sweeping, broad picture of the school group.

We were intrigued by the installation, but I think what we were even more intrigued by was the small screen! Why? Well, you could view the small screen from in front, or from the back. However, whichever way you viewed it, the video was viewed in the same orientation (rather than switched left-to-right as seen from the back). Furthermore, a shadow could be placed on the screen if you put your hand over the front side, but not over the back side. How did she do it? We have no idea! None of our ideas seem to hold. We asked about it, but unfortunately the curator was not in (he was at lunch). We left with no answer, but hope we get one!

The rest of the galleries where maybe less scientifically interesting, but still grabbed my attention.Normally when I go to Tate Modern I feel overwhelmed by how much there is. I liked the fact that it is smaller, which meant I could manage it better. Maybe I do like modern art after all – just not too much of it at one go! What I also liked was that they provided you with books and other further information about the artists you are seeing which you could refer to – great idea!

Besides the gallery we just went round the streets and absorbed the atmosphere. We were particularly excited by a clothes shop with old sewing machines all over the shop window, and other exciting machinery as displays. Unfortunately they were a bit grumpy about us taking photos, so we didn’t get much.

Soon after we could go to check into our rooms, and after a bit of hassle about payment, we got the keys. I dropped my bag and went out to find some free wifi and power plug (not that easy! It seemed like most places had either one or the other) to catch up on e-mails etc after a week away, while my colleague rested and did some work at home. In the evening we then had dinner when our supervisor returned from a meeting. Back at the hotel I could just about have a shower and drop into bed – lack of sleep was catching up on me!


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