Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Heart of Darkness

click photo to enlarge
Joseph Conrad's novel, "Heart of Darkness", as a piece of art reminds me, in a couple of respects at least, of the eponymous album, "The Velvet Underground & Nico" - massively influential, long lasting, but read (or listened to) by fewer people than know of it.

The book centres around a river journey into darkest Africa to find an ivory trader, Kurtz, who is worshipped by the natives of the area. Conrad weaves a number of themes into the novel such as horror, racism, imperialism and colonialism. The most famous adaptation of the critically acclaimed novel is Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film, "Apocalypse Now" set in the Vietnam War.

On a recent visit to the National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford we saw another art work that uses Conrad's novel as its inspiration. Clair Morgan's piece features thousands of flies fixed to hanging threads in columns and rows that collectively form a cuboid shape. It adopts Conrad's title and is not one of those works that the viewer finds agreeable or pleasurable. Rather, it fascinates in a disquieting sort of way, a characteristic it shares with Conrad's opus.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo Title: Heart of Dearkness by Claire Morgan
Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 17mm (34mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f3.5
Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On