FoMu exposition: Shooting Range & Richard Mosse
Getting a phone call in the morning asking if I want to check out an exciting exposition at the Antwerp FotoMuseum? There are worse things to wake up to. So I was like “Hell yeah”. I strapped on my overpriced camera - which makes me feel like a photographer - got into my Batmobile - in real life my Fiat Panda- and drove off into the sunset. Except that it was morning…and three days after the phonecall…and I was going to the museum, not the sunset.
Anyhow I arrive at the museum, FoMu for the palls, and head straight for the reception desk. Almost immediately two lovely ladies rush to my aid. After chitchatting and admiring the modern interior of just the entrance hall, my companion and I head to the actual photo exhibition. Carrying with us, a from-the-museum-borrowed iPod including an app designed exclusively for the expoShooting Range. Ok ladies and gentlemen of the FoMu, you have my attention.
Right from the start we use our high-tech device to scan one of the first pictures we encounter. It’s the picture starring the captain, the Great War photographer we saw on the museum facade. Simultaneously our screen turns into a war zone. We finally see what our unknown friend was so eager to capture on camera. You're supposed to point the iPod at any point around yourself. So I do and instead of seeing a cute old lady in front of me and a young couple awkwardly making out, I see soldiers storming out of trenches, aircrafts getting shot out of the sky, a corpse hanging in a tree, a demolished tank and whatnot. The app actually makes it possible to take pictures in this virtual war zone. Each specific shot provides additional information about how visual material was used in World War I. So I’m literally spinning around 360 degrees like a madman, trying to get all the shots. We could barely avoid poking out a bystander’s eye. Throughout the exhibition the application sporadically sends additional information based on your location in the museum. Interactive just got upgraded to a new definition.
Photography and film became powerful weapons
The expo itself uses a wide variety of means to show how photography and film became powerful weapons during this horrible conflict. Objects like family portraits, postcards, newspapers, several screens showing authentic footage, old camera props and much more. In my opinion the most enticing part of the expo was the enormous widescreen showing photo montages while being supported by the smaller screens. This ‘short film’ combination gives us an engrossing summary of how important media warfare came to be during this war. It is visually captivating, easy to follow and historically fascinating.
After this engaging trip to the past, we ventured to another exhibition that was presently being showed: The Enclave, by Richard Mosse. He presents us the ongoing violence in eastern Congo in a most enthralling way. He converted a 16mm infrared film into a high definition video and displays the results on no less than 6 huge projector screens and a twelve channel sound system. It's superb how Mosse takes an inconvenient reality and turns it into both a visually and an acoustically unforgettable experience that almost seems surreal. It is as beautiful as it is provocative and it will take your breath for the entire day, if not more.
So what seemed like an annoying wake up call at first, turned into an extremely compelling day which left me wanting for more. Job well done FoMu! You get my stamp of approval and now I can hop into my Panda and drive off into the sunset for real.
Text and pics by Kevin