Ah, the National Media Museum in Bradford. It’s such a great museum anyway, with a fantastic cinema and great cakes, that it doesn’t take much to get me through the doors.
I was intrigued by their latest exhibition Stranger Than Fiction, in which Joan Fontcuberta has ‘documented’ the strange and wonderful in an exhibition which mixes fact with fiction and science with art. There are six documentary-style sections to the exhibition that seem to seem to convince you that what you’re seeing is real.
We decided to go with my two-year-old son and my brother earlier this month to see Stranger Than Fiction and have a general mooch around. From fauna with accompanying notes, through to unbelievable landscapes, religious miracles and a buried mermaid and her child, this was a strange and wonderful exhibition.
Then on the final Thursday of the exhibition my husband and I headed back to the very same exhibition for a special evening event for adults. The Media Museum Lates are totally free for adults (18+); the museum is open 6.30-9.30pm and you can relax, have fun and experience exclusive shows, activities and talks. This was their second Lates so we headed there for date night.
The museum was pretty packed out with people waiting for the official opening, announced on the dot at 6.30pm. At this point we could pick up a list of what was happening. There were talks in the gallery by the curator of Stranger Than Fiction, special talks about the theme and lots of drop-in sessions dotted around the place.
We headed up to Level 3 to have a go on the 101 Ways To Die game from Bradford-based games developer Four Door Lemon. I murdered a couple of the Splatts, who reminded me of lemmings, whilst the Hubs watched on the big screen behind me. The exhibition was asking us to question what we saw, along with reality in general – specifically whether I was desensitised to the violence of this game because it was a cartoon. I still felt a bit bad for splatting the Splatt. We had an interesting chat on the stand next door about Barbie and Ken and their body shapes before heading down a floor to identify some serial killers, with the team from Bradford University Psychology. Alongside all these activities the bar and restaurant were open for drinks, cakes and meals and there was a brilliant buzz about the place.We tried out some virtual reality on smart phones mounted in cardboard headsets – a prototype and pretty cool.
I think the next time I visit a Lates event I won’t visit the exhibition in advance, as I think this was the big pull really – being able to have the last look at the exhibition before it closed.