Nottingham / Contemporary / Jack Goldstein

Had a day out in Nottingham yesterday, the first time I’ve been there during the day time for quite a while. Took the tram in too, another first – it felt strangely European whilst being surrounded by Notts accents. Wandering the town for a bit the things I noticed were –

∙ the trams – they make such a different sound as they rumble around the town in their tracks, the sound of the bell ringing.

∙ the architecture – there seemed to be a much wider mix of old and new and the variants of the new were many and subtle. They contrasted in such a way I’ve never noticed before which made staring out of windows, looking up at the facades interesting.

∙ there were quite a few buskers about and hearing music coming from human beings made a great change to hearing music just blaring out of shops.

∙ single speed count was 4 and I think I only saw around ten bikes in the town all day.

We then went to the Nottingham Contemporary, another first for us. The building itself is great, despite looking thoroughly modern it really sits in with the other buildings around it. Inside, the light in the galleries seemed huge. Walking around the Jack Goldstein exhibition was great. A selection of his films played out across three of walls in one of the galleries whilst on the other wall, loops of some of his 7″ vinyl pieces played through individual headphones. My children found this particularly fascinating – the ability to be taken somewhere else by sound.

Though I’m not in agreement with Goldstein’s comment that “it’s not the sounds I’m interested in, but the images” – I am interested in the sounds – hearing them and looking at the vinyl sitting next to it’s sleeve was oddly engrossing. I don’t like to fetishise audio formats mainly due the often obstructive nature of nostalgia but sound/music is an emotional experience and the whole format argument is an essential part of that – how you physically deal with it (and that includes intangible digital formats) is part of the ritual (for want of a better word) of experiencing sound/music. It certainly made me want to put out some vinyl (again). Maybe I will. We’ll see.

Of his films, I really like The Jump. Makes me think a little of Len Lye and that I want to see the exhibition at the Ikon in Birmingham before it finishes.

It’s also worth me noting that the gallery was really busy with a wide range of different looking people, a really positive thing.

All in all, a grand day out

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