When I was on holiday in Tampere, Finland, we visisted the free museum - a really excellent collection, diverse, well curated and lots of fun interactive things! We started at the top and worked out way down to the exhibition of Tampere 1918, which focussed on the civil war. I found the exhibits troubling, as they didn't pull their punches (so for example, at one point you were invited to stand in front of a life size phot of advancing soldiers with guns pointing at you (either that or it was firing squad))
And there in the middle of it all was one of those things you see at the sea-side - a scene with holes cut out for you to poke your head through and take a photo...
That's just wrong, I thought, just as my friend said "it's so inappropriate for you, it just has to be done..."
So I went round the back, poked my head through and she snapped this photo...
When I saw it, it made my blood run cold, indeed, it troubled me for quite a while. But then I realised its power to make me think... the fact that tacitly and vicariously I am pointing weapons at some perceived 'enemy' simply by being part of a military nation.
I thought long and hard what to do with the photo - to delete it, to speak about it, to write about it.
I still find it uncomfortable to see my smiling face behind a gun - and I hope I always will. Maybe, just maybe, that's the point of the exhibit? That what can seem like harmless fun has the power to shock us to the core and make us reflect.
In which case, maybe it's not so inappropriate after all?