VISITING THE LOUVRE AND THE MONA LISA NO ONE SEES
We made our way into the vast interior of the Louvre within an hour of the museum opening the doors to the public that day, and still we were swallowed up and taken by the herd of visitors. We figured we better try and b-line it to the Mona Lisa and then to Venus de Milo, in order to at least witness those two pieces before the masses made it impossible. The museum strategically places these pieces deep into the maze of corridors. By the time we made it to Mona Lisa, the large room was already thick with visitors. Over the next 10 minutes, I was struck, sadly, by an obvious and ugly new truth about our civilization.
- •We are totally and completely addicted to our devices. And worse, we are seemingly attempting to experience life through the screen of a device and the resultant images and videos.
I left this room clearly feeling - the Mona Lisa: the most visited piece of art in the Louvre, but the least seen. Clearly, no one was attempting to take in the piece with their eyes or hearts. They wished only to snap a picture, or a video. As if - a snapshot or video is receiving some sort of little trophy, and everyone is running about trying to collect as many of these trophies as possible. The more you can collect, the more of a winner you are. It's sad, because it's preventing people from actually experiencing the moment. Life.
The thing I love most about photography and making and creating photographs, is that it makes me a more focused observer in the world and my life, which often results in a more alert presence. Technology can be a wonderful thing and assist in making us more conscious and present to life with a deeper undertstanding and appreciation for its endless wonder and beauty, or it can do the opposite. It can makes us more fixated on something other than life, other than the present moment. When I moved through the masses of the Louvre, and throughout much of our visit to Paris, I noticed that many people seem to be living through their devices. This was never more obvious than there with Mona Lisa, where no one seemed to look at her with their eyes.
So, our day at the Louvre was...interesting. We had tried to get there early enough to avoid the lines, but one had already developed in the courtyard by the glass pyramid. We thought we'd be sneaky and go get tickets in a secret spot below the Louvre, and guess what we found? A mall! Yeah, I was surprised by that too. And guess what else? Another line to get tickets. I guess it was unavoidable. But, it was cool because we got to see this inverted glass pyramid which we never would have seen if we didn't go exploring and looking for a less frequented way in. It's in the mall area down below.
The artwork at the Louvre really isn't my cup of tea, but visiting the museum is one of those things you've got to do while in Paris, regardless. The space is amazing and the size and scale of it all is impressive. The herds are challenging, but unless you're in Paris in a total slow off-season (if there is such a thing), then it is what it is and you've just got to deal with it. I was able to make it for about 3 hours before I was starting to look outside and feel the pull towards more space - that's when I knew I had reached my limit and that it was time to move on. I visited the Louvre, but seemingly like everyone else there that day, I am not sure how much I was really able to see and experience. For me, it wasn't being lost in a device as much as trying to stay grounded amongst the crowds. C'est la Vie! That's life! Something to look at, to explore more deeply, and to bring further awareness and consciousness to. Another beautiful lesson and life experience presented by magical Paris, and one that I am grateful I was able to experience.
(Love affair To Be Continued…)