Museum Mile

Robert Hamilton

2002, 04:30 minutes, colour


This title was shot at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim and in between along 5th Avenue in New York City. The work was originally conceived as part of a study concerning human movement in public spaces.

The Met and the Guggenheim are purpose-built for human movement. Speed is not at the forefront of concern but rather there are a careful series of encounters arranged for the viewer. The intention is to create an informal and didactic tour of visual culture that unfolds seemingly at one’s leisure. There is a concern how people flow through the museum space. Works of art are placed or hung equidistant so as viewers won’t bunch up and obscure each other’s view. Care is taken to provide enough space around an artwork so that it can be properly experienced. Areas are set-aside for patrons to relax, sit and drink. The museum is a social environment, a place to engage both in art appreciation and conversation.

The time-lapse photography seems to demonstrate that people generally move quickly through exhibitions and galleries and spend a great deal more time in the café areas. On one particular evening, I was able to shoot during the annual "Museum Mile" event in New York City where a portion of 5th Avenue is closed and 12 art institutions offer free admission. I was able to contrast the movement on 5th Avenue (busy, playful, chaotic) with the museum, (busy, serious, highly organised).

Technically, the videos are a collection of still images shot with a digital still camera. The images are assembled in Final Cut Pro. The resulting work is a form of time-lapse photography or pixillation. The audio is recorded separately and has a contrapuntal relationship with the images.

This work can be displayed either as single channel or as an installation.

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