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I utterly recommend sliding to the ground really fast in a big metal tube. What it lacks in dignity it more than makes up for in FUN, although that may not be obvious for a while to the teenage boy whose screams of abject terror echoed around Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, prompting concerned silence from everyone until he came tumbling out of the bottom of the slide and it became clear to his mates and the assembled crowd that he was perfectly fine, just embarrassed by his unintended vocals, at which point we all broke into spontaneous, cheerful applause.

In the absence of any parliamentary business yesterday, psychonomy, pvcdiva, my esteemed colleague and I repeatedly zoomed earthwards in pursuit of cheap thrills and silly noises, both of which are generated in abundance by Carsten Höller’s sculpture, “Test Site”. I’m not sure how much we were challenged by Höller’s strategies to break down the barrier between spectator and artwork, but I know it was a bloody good laugh. Apparently “Höller is interested in tubes as a means of transport and how it affects people who use them, believing them to be therapeutic”. That may be true, but only if you like your therapy bumpy.

“Carsten Höller has eloquently and innovatively transformed our means of navigating in the vast space of the Turbine Hall,” says the Tate’s director. When he’s done, perhaps Höller can turn his attention to the rest of the building; thanks to an elaborate architectural practical joke, the main escalators miss out alternate floors, meaning that without careful group co-ordination you can inadvertently go sailing right past the rest of your party. Maybe hidden cameras record every instance when someone gestures through the glass and mouths, “Fuck! I’ll come down again! Meet you in the shop!”, and they will one day form an installation all of their own.

A touching exchange in the pub afterwards:
psychonomy: There’s someone’s nasal hair on this plate.
pvcdiva: That’s an insect leg, sweetie.
At pvcdiva’s suggestion we also visited the Sherlock Holmes Museum in Baker Street, which startled us all by being not only not rubbish but actually quite entertaining, in a left-to-your-own-devices-in-rooms-full-of-antique-junk kind of way. There are faintly eerie lifesize waxwork characters from Holmes stories in the upper storeys, and a selection of letters that have been sent to Holmes at his fictional address, such as this:
I apologise to everyone who had to go to work yesterday. You’ll be consoled to know I’ll be back working until half past pigshit in the evenings soon enough.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 10th, 2006 02:00 pm (UTC)
That shot of the slide is my favourite of all your graphics thus far.
Nov. 10th, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC)
there's no bloody point blogging the day myself now is there. I'm just never going to be as funny...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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