On November 19th, 2022 the Salford Museum and Art Gallery hosted the video and sound installation with poetry “New Perceptions of Familiar Places.” The event was part of the national Being Human festival. “New Perceptions of Familiar Places” takes us for walks in Salford and several other cities. Below is the video and review of the installation by Daniela Atzori and Laura Janicka.
New Perceptions of Familiar Places consists of filmed “La Dérive”-techniques in multiple locations around the world: Salford, UK; Beirut, Lebanon; Kaunas, Lithuania; Copenhagen, Denmark and Santiago de Compostela, Spain, combined with sounds that define each landscape with a narrative poem describing the journey taken through each walk.
Each artist undertaking the Dérive made a decision on what they wanted to communicate through their journey to the audience, which may have been influenced by their own background and perception of space; it demonstrated the contrast between each scenery and brought the attention of the viewer to the differences between the cities. This contrast was further emphasised by the quick succession of the footage, that rotated between each city, causing the viewer to continuously compare and perceive further details of the sceneries. The benefit of using the Dérive approach is that the viewer, who is put in the shoes of the wanderer, is focusing on the journey rather than the destination. This would otherwise not have happened as we tend to walk on the street to reach a precise location, whilst walking past valuable details of the city.
An interesting part of the screening was the juxtaposition of the poem with the visuals, whereby the poem brings our attention to elements that have not yet been shown on the screen, forcing the viewer to consciously look and perceive the landscape for the ’hidden clues’.
The interactive aspect of the exhibition consisted of involving the viewers in the creation of their own perception of space through an activity that encouraged them to write a poem about the screening and the environment they were in, asking them to describe their emotional response and experiences using their five senses.
In conclusion, the exhibition was very insightful as it unveiled new dimensions of place perception in familiar surroundings , allowing us to better understand our experiences in space and enrich our everyday journeys.