Modern Art Plus Therapy

oxygen therapyBecause I’m a photographer/videographer, people ask me all the time what I think of modern art. My opinion: not all that much. It’s mostly really pretentious stuff that places all the onus on the viewer, thus sparing you from having any talent. Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, can paint a canvas blue and put a white stripe in the middle. Anyone can mess up a bed and call it ‘a beautiful representation of primitive chaos’. Art takes talent. Fact.

Though I guess you can never really know how much talent goes into something…and the passion of the creator is important. I went to an exhibit recently that showcased a lot of modern photography, with one that capitalized on all that modern oxygen stuff people are doing. ‘Oxygen Therapy: Melbourne Medicine’, it was called. I really connected with it in the end, even though at first glance it was kind of odd. So you’ve got a man inside a hyperbaric chamber, dressed normally, reading a book. But the way he was photographed…it really hit home how science has crafted this way of taking in something that we desperately need, in such a casual way. You can’t see the oxygen, but the shot made the tanks and equipment really prominent. It was the same across the whole gallery: people in glass cases, surrounded by the gas they need to live, doing ordinary things. It was the mundane meeting a sort of invisible technological mastery. Really fascinating, even though the uninitiated might just look at some people in glass tanks and think it’s just an amusing set-piece.

Basically, it was a fusion of technology and art in a way you don’t often see, and it gained my respect. It also didn’t seem like it was too much of an advertisement, either. The people were going about their lives, very normal and serene, except they happened to be getting oxygen therapy. Melbourne exhibits are usually pretty interesting, but I found this one genuinely inspiring.