Over the years, various photographers and artists have presented image compilations of pornography locations with the actors removed or post-coitus. Can this same curiosity be applied to a museum?
The title, Porn Without People, has been used for the past 10-years (+/-) to capture this strange, yet compelling world. Here’s an image series from Elizabeth Moran with that same title. When viewing, my mind tends to take what I’m seeing and create what is no longer visible. It sees the rumpled sheets or the unbalanced lawn furniture and fills in the rest.
What I always loved about these “exposés” is that the surroundings become most important when the object of our attention is suddenly removed. What do those environments tell us? What is their original relationship to the object or activity itself? I was instantly reminded of this when I visited an old museum last October.
I was attending an event in Grand Rapids, MI for the 2013 Midwest UX conference, where we entertained in an abandoned museum from the 80’s. It was being resurrected by a group of artists and private citizens who had yet to execute a vision for the space- to our benefit. The original exhibition nooks and niches still remained. However, they were curiously missing either context or the primary object of presentation.
For me, it became an unexpected moment of thrilling disconnect. Each diorama had lost the animal for which it was created! The mounted trophies had been sold off and placed in private homes as nature decor. The backgrounds and props were now the central object of scrutiny.
Picture a small group of native american hunters tracking a deer. They peer out from behind a clump of brush to find- no deer! In its place, all that remains is a disturbed patch of wood chips. A cruel joke.
Here are a few pictures worth sharing. Enjoy.