Friday, December 29, 2006

A Visit to MOMA & Validity of Information

This Wednesday was not one of those crowded days in New York, considering the fact that we are getting closer to the end of the year. I went to MOMA to see America Fantastica the show I was planning to see since the beginning of December. After going up and down the stairs for about 15 minuets and checking the museum plan, I asked the information desk. Following my explanations and their inspections they came to the conclusion that I am in the wrong museum. I referred them to their own website but nothing happened. The Exhibition existed on the net but not in the real world. I visit museums so often that most of the times I skip the permanent collections and I get to the specific exhibitions that I have planed for. Despite the inaccuracy of their webpage, I was happy that there were two more exhibitions, which I wanted to see and luckily for me all the museums in New York State are Free (except Guggenheim).

I saw Eye on Europe: Prints, Books & Multiples/ 1960 to Now and Manet and the Execution of Maximilian (He is Not Monet. They - Claude MONET and Edouard MANET- met each other but Manet is the older one and his works were like a bridge between Realism and Impressionism). A socio-historical approach in Manet exhibition was very interesting especially the old documentary photographs of the real execution of Emperor Maximilian. In the Eye on Europe I really enjoyed the most recent work of Mona Hatoum, a series of Etchings called Hair There & Everywhere (2004). Not only I enjoyed it I felt it since they really portray the detached human hair.

MOMA and a little bit of invalid information was not my concern then but I think in a broader view it should be. How much are we all are relying on the validity of the information given to us by the web? Are we conscious that the online information may be false or we are so drawn by the easiness of the availability of it?

The apocryphal information does not do much harm as far as the branches of humanities - such as arts - are concerned. But what about sciences and medical information!

Today on Talk of the Nation on NPR I heard an interesting talk about Education Frontiers and Podcast U, which was exploring different aspects of the uploaded lectures by university instructors on iTunes. A few of those who called during the program were concerned about the accuracy of educational information, a Yale Historian among them. Still most people were quite enthusiastic about these Free classes and Free information and Free etc. It was frightening for me to see when something is free people think that it is worth it, and of course I don’t mean one should depend on some information only if they have paid for it.

With Wikipedia, podcasts and all other online sources, a crucial question everyone should ask him/herself is this: Is the Democratization of Information positive and valid and if it is, in what extend ?

The Execution of Maximilian, Manet, 1867-8

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