Overall, particularly after listening to Peta Motture’s lecture on how much detail and consideration goes in to curating an exhibition, I was fairly unimpressed with the Enlightenment Gallery. I found it unimpactful and lacking consideration for audience response. I find in general with the British Museum, that there tends to be a lot of focus on acquisition which I find interesting personally, but is not greatly helpful to me in terms of learning about a period. This was no exception. I feel as though I just did not have enough background knowledge to make this gallery particularly worth while to visit. It was a different story for example, when looking at the Egyptian area in conjunction with studying Egypt last term in Cultural Foundations. I felt like that was an excellent supplementary visit. But this was too disjointed from my knowledge base for me to gain much from it.
Peta spoke about great works being “thrown away” when they are used in order to merely explain or show something rather than as standalone art, which led me to question- what is the purpose of a museum anyway? Is it to show? To educate? To aesthetically please us? I don’t think the Enlightenment Gallery particularly achieved a lot although they did have some very interesting objects.
This ornate document is a marriage contract from the Mughal Exhibition. What struck me about it initially was the grandeur of it. It shows the importance of such a document which is certainly a contrast to the documents we see today. Contemporary documents tend to be white pieces of paper printed with blank ink and no matter how important the document, it is rare that it would be more impressive than that. In a tangible sense, it de-emphasizes the importance of what is written in the contract. It is less stirring to a person to see a regular printed piece of paper than something like this. Historically, it may have been in order to establish the importance of the emperor that his marriage contract for one wife (thought he had a few) was this grand. Perhaps because it was his favourite wife? The description on the item said it was for a 19 year old woman whom he took with him when he was exiled as she was his favourite. It bears the seal, interestingly, of his eldest son. This reflects the societal norms of the time as it shows that polygamy was perfectly normal and accepted, to the point that the son of one wife would endorse a marriage between his father and another wife. It contains a description of the amount of money etc that would be given to the wife over the course of the marriage which I also found interesting. There was a much more business-like aspect to love than perhaps exists today but this does not seem demeaning to either party involved. It merely seems like a nice gesture. But it does give a different meaning to the idea of a marriage “contract”.
Gamble Everything For Love – Daita
Gamble Everything for Love
If you want what visible reality
can give, you’re an employee.
If you want the unseen world,
You’re not living your truth.
Both wishes are foolish,
but you’ll be forgiven for forgetting
that what you really want is
love’s confusing joy.
I wanted to respond to this section of ‘Gamble Everything for Love’ because I liked that it contained a sense of yearning, yet juxtaposed this with a sense of intstruction. This reflects the confused nature of love which I in turn tried to emphasize through using a mixture of major and minor chords. This combination tells of both sadness and joy – two of the fundamental building blocks to love. I decided upon this final music composition because I feel like it told the same story as the Rumi poem. I threw around a lot of ideas but what struck me about the poem was the structure – it had a clear coda. I did originally write lyrics for this song as well, but I felt that did not quite sit with what I thought about the poem, it simply turned it into something else so I removed them. This excerpt also reminded me of one of the speeches in Symposium, where they are talking about how we spend our whole lives looking for our other half. Love reeks of desperation.The question raised, for me, was whether this was a good idea…worth the pain. And gambling everything for love; for giving someone the ability to hurt you, might actually be worth it. Rejecting daily, mundane and ordinary things for the sake of love is what makes us whole.