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  • Heather Tweed

Platos Cave

Interactive art exhibition projects can have a life of their own beyond the control of the Artist or Gallerist. No matter how much you plan, describe and explain in words and images what you might be expecting a big element of chance is always present.

At a previous exhibition I had designed an interactive Dream and Nightmare line where participants were invited to draw or write about their dreams and nightmares, these contributions could then be added to the ongoing project. 

The intention was that it would provoke memories of nighttime or at least sleep time images and feelings. I had underestimated how many people actually dream or at least remember their dreams vividly and in fact what appeared was a rather prosaic listing, written or drawn, of visitors aspirations or dreaded situations, often at work. This was of course slewed toward those who didn’t mind going public with their inner thoughts and may have excluded those of a more sensitive nature who were not willing or able to share their deepest selves.

Nevertheless it was an interesting project and I have intertwined parts within other projects, inviting contributions on thoughts of Loss in its various aspects for Lost Nt Found:Abscission. 

A more successful interactive project has been ‘Plato’s Cave’ although this also evolved into another strand as explained below.

Instruction poster ‘Chapmans Monkey:Artefacts of the Apochryphal’. Solo exhibition, Bristol 2011

Plato’s Cave was devised for my recent solo exhibition in Bristol and consisted of a selection of Encyclopaedias and Knowledge books (including a 1970s version of the prophesies of Nostradamus), with instructions on how to interact with this real life Wikipedia. There were plenty of contributions although Interestingly enough this also turned itself into an informal comments book with no prompting from other sources. The instructions can be seen here as well as a small collection of the comments, the only negative comment referred to the lack of a Christmas theme!

Examples from the visitor lead ‘comments book”

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