What I See Meets…The Victoria and Albert Museum’s Memory Palace

“If you could only keep one memory, what would it be?”

This is the premise behind The Victoria and Albert Museum’s latest exhibition, Sky Arts Ignition: Memory Palace.

Based on Hari Kunzru’s dystopian novel, Memory Palace, the intricately decorated interior of the museum reveals the thoughts of the protagonist, with plays on his language, his thoughts and his senses.

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Images courtesy of The Victoria and Albert Museum.

Experimenting with graphic art to tell the story and place the language in the context of the narrative, the exhibition reveals a distorted view of the world, with a single memory being the only part of a human that can ultimately survive.

Beautifully illustrated posters conclude the exhibition, incorporating memories from every visitor. You can add your contribution to a poster by drawing or writing your memory on the spot – you’ll then receive an email indicating when it is on display at the V&A.

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The V&A is open daily from 10am-5.45pm and from 10am-10pm on Fridays. The Memory Palace exhibition runs until October 20, 2013.

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Jane Austen: The Face of the New £10 Note

She’s now “in possession of a good fortune”.

The Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, has announced that Jane Austen will be the new face for the £10 note.

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The Jane Austen banknote. Image courtesy of The Bank of England.

As a result of a 35,000-signature petition on Change.org for women to appear on British banknotes, the famous author will take her place alongside a quote from her novel Pride and Prejudice: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”

It is believed she will feature from 2017, the bicentenary of her death.

“Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes. Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognised as one of the greatest writers in English literature,” said Mr. Carney. “We believe that our notes should celebrate the full diversity of great British historical figures and their contributions in a wide range of fields. The Bank is committed to that objective, and we want people to have confidence in our commitment to diversity.”

What I See Meets…Wimbledon

By Harlen Leonard & Marése O’Sullivan Today the What I See Project team braved the hussle and bussle of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. We walked the length of the queue and received contributions from women who were eager to become involved … Continue reading

What I See Meets…Leicester Square

What I See Meets…Leicester Square

By Harlen Leonard Today, the What I See team headed to Leicester Square to ask women what they see when they look in the mirror. We had a wonderful time chatting to everyone and hearing each woman’s different perceptions about … Continue reading

“Who am I?” We found out at the Science Museum, London

By Marése O’Sullivan

The What I See Project explores female empowerment and self-perception through the videos we share on our website. So the team headed to the Science Museum in London to check out its latest exhibition, ‘Who Am I?’

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Who Am I? invites you to explore the science of who you are through intriguing objects, provocative artworks and hands-on exhibits.

Discover what your voice sounds like as a member of the opposite sex, morph your face to see what you’ll look like as you age, or collect DNA to catch a criminal in our brand-new interactive exhibits.

Investigate some of the characteristics that make humans such a successful species, such as personality, intelligence and language.

Reflect on the big questions that new techniques in science are raising, and explore how your genetics and brain combine to create your unique identity.

– The Science Museum

The exhibition was certainly very interactive, with plenty of insights into everything from our genetic make-up, to our unique identity, to how feminine or masculine we think we are.

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The What I See interns, Harlen and Marése, are shown on the Science Museum’s graphics

There was more of an emphasis on tests and games for you to figure out what makes you who you are:

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I rather liked the more factual side of the exhibition. Computers dotted around the museum gave us the chance to click into the subjects that interested us the most, from ‘Why do we dream?’ to ‘Why are we not immortal?’ to ‘Are phobias inherited?’

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Of course, our family and ancestors make up a huge part of who we are physically. As a genealogist, I was intrigued by this component. I could search for my surname in the 1881 and 1998 censuses and see what places in Britain were most populated by people with that surname during those years. There were also documents provided by the descendant of a World War One soldier, including his birth certificate and a portrait of him as a young man, which really added a true human touch to this scientific exhibit.

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Overall, we very much enjoyed the Who Am I? Exhibition at the Science Museum. You can check out the trailer for it below.

If you’d like to share with us what you think makes you who you are, you can upload your own video to our website.

Free this weekend? Here are our top five events to check out in London…

By Marése O’Sullivan

1) Head to see Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth at the Old Vic, for a stunning portrayal of a woman grasping the ageing process.

Directed by Olivier-Award winner Marianne Elliott and starring Kim Cattrall, best known for her role as Samantha from Sex and the City, alongside Seth Numrich, the play challenges the apparent glamour of showbusiness through a cross-generational sexual relationship.

Fading Hollywood legend Alexandra Del Lago (Cattrall) flees the disastrous premiere of her comeback film. Travelling incognito, she seeks refuge in drink, drugs and the arms of Chance Wayne (Numrich), an idealistic young dreamer turned gigolo. A trip to Chance’s hometown in a bid to win back his childhood sweetheart sees their relationship of convenience unravel in Tennessee Williams’ vivid and haunting portrait of the destruction of dreams.

Trailer (all copyright to The Old Vic):

 

2) Buckingham Palace is playing host to the couture of monarchs past with its exhibition, In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion at The Queen’s Gallery.

Gain an insight into the role fashion would have played in your place in society during 1485-1714.

This exhibition explores the sumptuous costume of British monarchs and their court during the 16th and 17th centuries through portraits in the Royal Collection. During this period fashion was central to court life and was an important way to display social status. Royalty and the elite were the tastemakers of the day, often directly influencing the styles of fashionable clothing.

In Fine Style follows the changing fashions of the period [and] demonstrates the spread of styles internationally and shows how clothing could convey important messages. Including works by Hans Holbein the Younger, Nicholas Hilliard, Van Dyck and Peter Lely, the exhibition brings together over 60 paintings, as well as drawings, garments, jewellery, accessories and armour.

Images courtesy of the Royal Collection Trust.

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3) An all-female cast is taking to the stage at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to perform their tour production of The Taming of the Shrew. At the time of posting, a few tickets remain for the midnight show on Friday 21. It will be played out on a traditional booth stage, just like in the Elizabethan era.

Directed by Joe Murphy, the renowned comedy features Kate Lamb as Katherina, Olivia Morgan as Bianca/Biondello, and Leah Whitaker as Petruchio.

The show will tour the U.K., Europe and – for the first time ever for a Globe Theatre tour – Asia.

Image courtesy of Shakespeare's Globe
Image courtesy of Shakespeare’s Globe.

 

4) The Propaganda: Power and Persuasion exhibition at the British Library showcases international state propaganda spanning the 20th and 21st centuries.

Box office tickets will not be available online this Sunday June 23, but can be purchased in person at the British Library.

The exhibition costs £9 for adults – under 18s go free – and concessions are also available.

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Portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte in his robes of state from the British Library exhibition. Image courtesy of the British Library.

5) Discover who you really are at the Science Museum.

The free Who am I? Exhibition on the Wellcome Wing, First Floor, uses the latest technology to examine what makes us who we are. With MRI scan helmets, electrotherapy machines and bionic eyes, it’s sure to be a dynamic experience.

Who am I? invites you to explore the science of who you are through intriguing objects, provocative artworks and hands-on exhibits.

Discover what your voice sounds like as a member of the opposite sex, morph your face to see what you’ll look like as you age, or collect DNA to catch a criminal in our brand-new interactive exhibits.

Investigate some of the characteristics that make humans such a successful species, such as personality, intelligence and language.

Reflect on the big questions that new techniques in science are raising, and explore how your genetics and brain combine to create your unique identity.

Let us know what events you attend!

What I See Meets…Oxford Street

Yesterday, the What I See team took to Oxford Street to find out what women see when they look in the mirror.

We really enjoyed meeting the lovely ladies who stopped to chat to us. Many joked about their appearance, some liked theirs, but all of them were honest.

What struck me most was seeing people take in what our sign said and then mouth the question back to themselves with a look of complexity.

Here’s a selection of the reflections we had:

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Female Perception through Art: An Exploration of the Tate Modern, London

By Marése O’Sullivan

How does female perception relate to art? The What I See team went to the Poetry and Dream Exhibition at the Tate Modern in London this week to find out.

The images of modern women were strong and dramatic, evoking very fine and different depictions. The male artists I’m discussing seem to have a visual focus on the power of the physical body – the woman figure dominates the frame – while the female artists insist on the detachment and solitary nature of the woman.

Below are some of the male representations of women. All image credit to the Tate Modern.

Meredith Frampton – Portrait of a Young Woman, 1935

Portrait of a Young Woman 1935 by Meredith Frampton 1894-1984

Frampton’s portrait centres on a tall woman who dominates the frame. Her sharply-angled body evokes tension, as do the taut strings on the double bass, enhanced by the dark atmosphere. Half her face is in shadow, perhaps a reflection on the pre-World War Two era. The contrast of light and dark – including the black and white floor – perfectly demonstrates the inner conflict of the woman: both wanting to be herself and who the painter wants her to be. The seemingly natural environment, with music and flowers, is full of arrangements and falsities: the bended plant sways towards the border of the painting, echoing the woman’s need for release; the instrument sits unplayed, its bow at the edge of the table; her tight curls are set in place and emphasise her frown.

This should be a traditional portrayal of feminine beauty – with her red lips, flowing figure, and pastel clothing, but her almost angry expression, tense body language, and somber surroundings reveal a subverted moodiness and discontent. She does not look at the viewer, her eyes fixed on a point in the distance.

Meredith Frampton – Marguerite Kelsey, 1928

Marguerite Kelsey 1928 by Meredith Frampton 1894-1984

This woman remarkably almost blends in with her surroundings. She manages to appear almost expressionless, but there is a hint of sadness in her eyes.

Her beige dress reveals little of her pale skin. Her red shoes, tucked behind her, hint at a joyful personality that she’s hidden from the viewer and painter.

Her tightly-pinned hair and stiff fingers add to the taut structure of the painting. These women don’t seem comfortable in the environment that they’ve been placed in by men.

Francis Picabia – Otaiti, 1930

Otaïti 1930 by Francis Picabia 1879-1953

This woman is portrayed a lot more sensually. With a fantastically evocative blend of darkness and light, her uncovered body is powerfully sensualised. She is kneeling, defined in black, with pursed red lips. Her focus is on the creature above her. The entanglement of brown and yellow colour gives this painting a more earthly feel. Merged with drawings of beasts and faces, this woman is firmly connected to her natural self.