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Last weekend I went to the MOCCA here in Toronto. I decided it would be cool to experience some of the culture this city has to offer and the fact that it was free was just a bonus.

Well friends, I’m here to say that I appreciate all art forms and understand the work and thought behind conceptualizing and creating BUT. Sometimes, I don’t like it.

I went and saw the David Cronenberg: Through the Eye exhibition. The main gallery was sparse to say the least with some really… meaningful quotes on the walls.

Ash and I being art critics

Ash and I being art critics

Now, granted I did learn a lot about David Cronenberg and his work which was cool, but I also left the main gallery feeling uninspired and unchallenged. That is until I was ushered into a small, dark, soundproof room and told to sit down in front of a screen.

A movie began to play. An image of an upside down brain thumped closer towards me in time to music with a steady, booming base. A voice told me that my conscious mind was unaware while my subconscious mind was aware. And I felt myself go numb. Honestly, it was like experiencing paralysis. But only in the physical sense. My mind was racing. After a while I became aware of how my body was handling the experience and never in my life has my chest felt so constricted. It was the strangest combination of being simultaneously resistant and complacent to what I was seeing and hearing.

I thought the video only lasted for five minutes. It wasn’t until after I walked out into the gallery I found out I was in there closer to twenty. I’m pretty sure I was rocking a smokin’ blank stare for a while as I tried to regain a sense of my surroundings.

On reflection, I’m not sure what I was supposed to get out of that experience. I didn’t leave feeling more aware or better in tune with my subconscious mind. I just felt interrogated and a little anxious. Then again, that’s the point of art, to elicit some kind of reaction. So maybe I’m being too critical. (Of this particular piece. The exhibition as a whole leaves something to be desired.) I’d be interested to hear how other people reacted to the experience. Ashley, and another friend of ours, were in the room with me. They both said they didn’t feel anything, nor did the video affect them the way it did me. But I put that down to the fact that I sat square in the middle while they sat behind me on either side.

Anyways, in the end I’m glad I had the chance to check it out. But I’m even gladder it was for free.

Any wacky art experiences of your own? We’d love to hear about them!

Have a great week!

-K

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