Times Arrow: VISIT at JAG

These data visualisation works where commissioned for an exhibition titles Times Arrow curated by Anthea Buys for the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG). The premise Times Arrow was to engage directly the archive of the JAG and the curatorial issues around time and history.

Time’s Arrow: live readings of the JAG collection is a time-based exhibition project showing at the Johannesburg Art Gallery from February 21 to April 18. The exhibition will change frequently during the course of the exhibition…

The conversations I had when visiting the archive led to speaking about visitors to the gallery and whether such a time-oriented show would be suitable for a location now positioned in the sometimes difficult to reach ‘guts’ of the inner-city.

VISIT  is an animated data-visualisation made with Processing, that looks at the loans from the gallery in comparison to the number of visitors to the gallery over 20 years.While visiting the Gallery library I overheard and then became part of, a conversation on works that had been on loan, and to whom and how long, and of course the difficulties around loaning these very valuable works in such difficult and under funded circumstances.

When putting it together and deciding to use the map, it felt like I was documenting the travel itineraries of the artworks. It also became more and more blatant to how general politics affected both the loans from the gallery and the number of visitors to the gallery – the stats show two major events during the Apartheid years. Almost no work went on loan due to international sanctions during Apartheid (only very famous European paintings). Then there was a dirth of loans after 1994, but almost no visitors to the gallery during the “transition years” post Apartheid. The documentation unfortunately only went as far as 2008, it would be interesting to asses these trend further see what has changed since.