Journey Through the City

Touch. We all want to touch. At museums and galleries, we often find ourselves feeling like the visual senses are not enough. We want to feel the smoothness of a sculpture, touch the cold exterior of a projector for some video installation, and to feel the miniscule crumble of paint of a masterpiece on the tips of our fingers.
Why so? It comes down to how we engage with the world and others. While certain senses have their benefits for specific things, it is when they are being utilised as a whole that we get to experience something much more fulfilling.
Think of food. Taste is, of course, the primary sense being delighted here, but it is also touch and sight that are in play. We feel the comfort of a hearty sandwich and we see the aesthetic beauty of sushi. Together, these help deliver a firework of feelings that is impossible with just one sense at play.
But, of course, some art needs to be kept at a distance. We can’t always have what we want and, more importantly, there is always the chance that a work of art of timeless grandeur can be spoiled. Better to feel wanting.
However, that does not mean art cannot be engaged with, and a new touring exhibition, which is now showing at the San Diego Museum of Art, looks at and allows for art to be explored in a very immersive and physical way.
Journey Through the City: Beneath the Moon, which comes from the Centre Pompidou in France, is a fascinating installation. It was repurposed by its author, the Spanish sculptor Miquel Navarro, especially for it to be interacted with.
Effectively a miniaturised city, the sculptural work is composed of 1,000 pieces, which have been deconstructed to allow visitors the opportunity to be closer to the work and manipulate it in their own making.
The experience that one gets out of it is always unique, as the shape of the sculptor is never concrete, always new, like a metropolis that isn’t necessarily expanding, more going around in circles. Interestingly, seven out of the 1,000 pieces are secure. Though things change, we all need stability regardless.
“It is with much joy we welcome this special exhibition to not only our institution, but our city and country,” commented Roxana Velásquez, executive director of the San Diego Museum of Art.
“Our international relationships are key in expanding the variety of art here in San Diego, and offering this interactive experience free to the public provides invaluable access for all.”
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