Imagining Mona

I remember the first time I saw the Mona Lisa. I had a furious hangover and a wounded heart. One very much connected to the other. It was my first trip to Paris without my parents, I had just graduated from Nursing School and the world was shiny and full of possibility. I can still summon the feeling of awe, standing in front of this great masterpiece. Not just because it is a great work of art, but because of where I was positioned in that.

Mona Lisa

More recently on a trip to Austria, I visited the war museum on a whim. I found myself staring into a cabinet at a military jacket with a mottled brown stain and a hole in the front. I was a bit dazed after the previous day spent doing multiple airports, dealing with a lost bag etc. Mundane things that if you let them can take you out of the experience of travel and turn you into a bystander. I’m ashamed to admit it took more than a few minutes for what I was looking at to sink in. When it did it was like all of time and space rushed in and I was caught in that moment, looking at the shirt Archduke Franz Ferdinand  was wearing when he was assassinated.

Jacket worn by Franz Ferdinand

I have a friend who describes hours spent in the Rothko room at The Tate with a kind of religious wonder. We all have stories like this. I’m sure if you have read this far you have thought of at least one. The reason I’m telling them now, is that I’m reading a lot about the creation of memory, and how these experiences layer upon each other and help form our character. I’m wondering if this can ever be replicated by immersive technologies? Its going to be fun finding out!





About Michaela Hart

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2 Responses to Imagining Mona

  1. Nicola says:

    I had a completely different experience seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time – it was crazy busy, I couldn’t get to the front, it was small, and I was more impressed with the incredible palace that the Louvre is in rather than the piece of artwork I couldn’t really get too. However I had been to Versailles the same day and now that, that left an impression.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Nicola. I think that was a bit what I was trying to say, that it wasn’t just the experience of that particular painting, but all of the context wrapped around it that left the lasting impression and embedded that memory. And Versailles certainly does leave a lasting impression!!


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