27 June 2012

We So Cultural: Yoko Ono and Serpentine Pavilion Edition


It was a glorious day last Wednesday, so we walked PA to work across Hyde Park and through the Rose Garden. Which is ridiculously, absurdly pleasant at the moment. The roses are slightly past their best and the smell in the air seemed a little too sweet, too floral, to be true.


I sometimes find that nice days here have that effect: when the sun shines; everything can seem just a little too lovely to be wholly plausible. Hyper-real, like part of some William Gibson ersatz reality.
I wonder if people who live where the weather is always nice, like California, have that same feeling (but all the time), or if it comes from the contrast to the more usual grey?


We were passing the Serpentine Gallery as they were setting up for the second day of the new Yoko Ono exhibition, TO THE LIGHT.
In our role as bellwethers of contemporary culture, G and I totes like to make sure we visit the hot new exhibitions in the opening week

I tried not to, but this happened:


thinking of his next move (hint: it may have been to try to eat the piece to his left.)

The Ono exhibition culminates in Amaze - a (deceptively) simple labyrinth within a clear, perspex cube in the centre of a room.

Yoko Ono, Amaze. (photo by Dan Kitwood via Metro)
As we were there on the second morning, the place was pretty quiet - pensioners, students and tourists plus a good number of reviewers taking it all terribly seriously (like, um, it's their job or something.) and making notes.

Perfect audience for G and my new performance piece: Shoeless Chuckle Brothers Tribute Act Attempt Perspex Maze.
We had watched a couple of people make their way through before us. slowly, contemplating each step before turning.
Our approach turned out a little different and we audibly ricocheted our way through, walking into walls. BONK....BONK. G leaves a handprint smear on the almost invisible barrier, a clue to the next visitor. BONK. We are not cool.
I quite enjoyed it* - I guess give me a small room with a path to follow and I'm happy?

birdseye of the new Serpentine Pavilion from the programme
pavilion seating
But I was way, way more excited by the new Serpentine Pavilion. It is quite awesome. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Wei Wei, a lidded circular pit sunk under the grass. With multilevel seating forming a complex design (or a complex design forming multilevel seating, I guess) - plenty of nooks and a ground level perspective out at the greenery.

nonchalant guys in deep v-neck t-shirts make me feel old
Multilevel seating always seems kind of futuristic to me. (And also reminds me of the De Sede sofa which I dream of even though it was mentioned to me that it looks a bit like dog turd.)

porcelain model showing how the pavilion is laid out. So nice. And yours for just a bajillion pounds or so.
And all made of cork. It looks like granite, but it's cork.  SO comfortable I had to take my shoes off (again).

cork, yo.
G liked it too. In fact, I predict that (for better or worse) it'll be the new baby and toddler hangout this summer - cultural, coffee-adjacent and a soft(ish) surface ideal for exploring on hands and knees.

G explores negative space. Contemplates contemporary culture and such.
Loved it.

pics from my phone except where credited otherwise

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