On Tuesday we went around the corner to the Tyler Art Gallery here at Temple University. We were tasked with trying to identify how history was being represented in the art pieces, while also thinking about how art is used in museums. This was my first time going to the art gallery in Tyler, so I was excited and slightly intimidated. As I began to walk around, I was struck by the talent of my fellow Temple students, as well as the variety of mediums of all the art that was on display. The first pieces I saw were pretty abstract and did not have any clear historical interpretation. However, when I walked into the main hall way, where the majority of the art was being displayed I came across several really interesting pieces.
The piece that struck me the most was one of the first I saw in the main hall way. It was a very simple piece, however it packed a big punch. It was a small projector pointed towards a clear white wall, projecting a 4×4 square of news broadcasts. 16 different news broadcasts in total, all from different news sources and agencies. All of these different news castings were reporting on the same thing; the war in Syria that has been raging on for several years and has dominated international attention most recently with the refugee crisis. The political statement this piece was making was very evident, but also very captivating. When I first walked up to the piece it was just resetting so I was able to see it from start to finish. It started with only one broadcasting playing, then another started and so on, until eventually all of the news castings were playing all at once. The noise that this created was pretty overwhelming and made it hard to concentrate on just one of the new castings, but I imagine that was the point of the piece. As I was watching it, I began thinking about how art and artists have the unique capability to interpret history as it is being made. What is happening in Syria is a current event but it is history nonetheless and it is being made as we speak. However, it could be years until there is an exhibit in a history museum about the war in Syria, because history museums deal exclusively with things from the past. This is not to say that history museums do not serve a purpose because they only deal with past events. History exhibits are hugely important towards shaping the public perception by understanding and reinterpreting past events. However, I think there is something to be said about trying to understand the significance and perspectives of an event as it is happening, that artists are more in tuned to.