Mat Colishaw, Thresholds

Mat Collishaw’s Thresholds at Somerset House is not just an exhibition but an unmissable experience.

Thresholds re-stages one of the earliest exhibitions of photography in 1839, when British scientist William Henry Fox Talbot first presented his photographic prints to the public at King Edward’s School, Birmingham.

It uses the latest in VR technology. Not the bulky mask that leaves you feeling like you’ve played a fuzzy video game or the gloves that leave you unable to catch anything making you deeply conscious of how ridiculous you must look to the rest of the real world waiting for its turn. No, this is a VR technology that you promptly forget while you immerse yourself into the 19th century, wonder through the exhibition, pick up photographs long unseen or faded and hear what the street and the interior has to offer.

Courtesy National Media Museum Bradford (3)
Courtesy National Media Museum Bradford
The experience lasts 6 minutes and yet I was genuinely surprise to find the room as white as when I entered when I removed my gear. Did I react exactly like the first cinema goers screaming and gasping, afraid of getting wet by the sprinkler? Absolutely! My fear of mice might have something to do with it.

And I was the sprinkler sprinkled all the more that while I was  admiring images that were taken at the birth of photography I was experiencing the birth of yet an other image making process that will bring art and life to undiscovered territories. The ghosts of the past did deserve this accolade as they have shaped the world, the visual world, as we know it.

I went twice in a day and might go again before the exhibition ends on June 11th, 2017.

For more information about the exhibition, click here.

For more information about the artist, Blain Southern or Mat Collishaw.

The Guardian

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