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Flash in the Metropolitan
© Courtesy of the artists and doggerfisher, Edinburgh Commissioned by Spike Island. Supported by the Elephant Trust.

Reference URL

Flash in the Metropolitan 2006

Not on display

Commissioned by Spike Island, ‘Flash in the Metropolitan’ was filmed in the depths of darkness in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In the three and a half minute film Nashashibi and Skaer focus on artefacts from the Near Eastern, African and Oceanic collections. Both artists in their own practices are interested in re-contextualising the viewer’s awareness and recognition and this film continues to engage with this theme. In flashing a blinding light on to a series of historical objects, Nashashibi and Skaer subvert the notion of contemplation that is so closely associated with a museum environment. The viewer is instead granted a fleeting glimpse of a series of artefacts, which, with any detail removed, reduces their status to an icon without a narrative.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.


A devotional image, usually depicting Christ, the Virgin Mary or a saint, traditionally associated with the Byzantine, Greek and Roman Orthodox Churches. By extension, it is used to denote an important and enduring symbol.

Spike Island

Spike Island is a stimulating and supportive environment for the production and exhibition of contemporary art and design in Bristol.

Commission, Icon, Spike Island


  • Acc. No. GMA 4845
  • Medium Silent 16 mm colour film. Loops every 3 minutes 25 seconds
  • Size
  • Credit Purchased 2007