Robin Rhode Exhibition

by stronged

Just went to the Robin Rhode Exhibition currently on at NGV international. It was great to have a break from studying. I feel I have reached the point where what I am reading is not actually making an impact; I am not digesting the information in a constructive way.

Three pieces stood out to me the most, and two of them are in motion:

1. A boy lights a candle within a picture and blows on in order to let the flames engulf a portion of the paper, thus the burn mark depicts a pictorial representation of an ignited flame. The image flickers from a negative contrast to positive as the boy first ignites the match, then lights the candle. This created an idea of a binary between the action of igniting the candle and the boy holding the lit match. Perhaps representing an interconnectedness between creativity? Where the boy is bestowing an element of energy onto a “canvas” in order to let it run it’s own course (with the boy briefly influencing it’s course).

2. The video of the red-hooded man (Rhode) who walks the length of the wall carrying a black foil flag behind him, stenciled pegs sprouting up behind him, first triggered ideas around mortality. I felt the flag resembled a grim-reaper-esque presence. Although, having seen the clip in it’s entirety I found a more liberating message. For it is only when all red-hoods are shed – or “plucked” by the pegs – that our protagonist can let go of the black flag and be free of such an oppressive cycle.

3. I’m not entirely sure what I liked about this sequence of images. But it nonetheless resonated with me:


Together and separate. Rhodes’ sequences of images can be read individually or diachronically (as a sequence). There is a story to be told in both senses. I have not thought of an interactive narrative as an exhibition space before, but now find that this approach may be helpful in understanding the composition of each clip I will include in the project. The user can therefore experience each clip on it’s own merits. There is of course the option of making sense of the collection of clips, but this is not vital for the success of the project.

This is another piece I found on a quick google search of Rhodes work:


Whilst sitting, waiting for my friend to arrive at the gallery, I watched an installation piece in the foyer. A lady soon stepped right in front of me and began to take pictures of the installation. It was only after she had taken the picture that she noticed my presence and apologised. The experience has left me in a contemplative mood. Or perhaps I was in one before she stumbled across my path. It reminded me of the explanation Jason gave me about Heidegger’s anti-technology theory. That technology, instead of heightening our experience of life, is actually standing between us and our experience of life. The action of taking an image of an object is preventing us from experiencing the object in it’s entirety. The photographer’s primary focus is on the image captured by the camera, not the object itself.

I fear this is the same when a user is interacting with an interactive documentary. There are a variety of options (other windows or hyperlinks to select) that distracts the user from a full experience of the video clip currently playing in the main SNU viewer.