15 de abril de 2011

The King and the Minotaur

A mid-spring night’s dream. Cliché as it may be, that is the only way I can describe “The King and The Minotaur”. Located in an 1850’s barn near King’s Cross, the pop-up gallery features video installations, sculptures, illustrations, performance and live music – all scattered throughout a maze-like structure.
The project is the brainchild of architects James Wignall and Bradley Moore, whose studio is right next door (part of Babel Studios complex, where the barn is located). 

When asked by the owner if they were interested in the unused space, the two jumped at the opportunity to bring the beautiful architecture of the stable to life. According to Bradley, apart from the screens, everything else was pretty much already there – they just had to rearrange it.

The structure invites you to explore the scenery at your own will, bringing a factor of awe and adventure to the experience. The see-through screens allow visitors to view each other and interact as they try to figure out how to go from one chamber to the next, making each time around unique - you never know who you will bump into along the way.
The shadows of passersby are cast and multiplied on the screens and voiles, forming a sort of ongoing spontaneous “projection” that sometimes overlaps the videos.

As if this weren’t enough, some very peculiar “inhabitants” make the whole thing even more surreal. The entrance is guarded by a doll-faced pixie that opens the gate at the sound of a knock and greets the newcomers. Next to her, sits the minotaur, knitting away. Finally, a group of female “fauns” wonder around all night, occasionally stopping to deliver beautiful performances combining theatre and contemporary dance.

Music of the heavens: every night guest composers take their place on the hanging wooden platform where they perform the evening’s live score.

After making your way through the maze, you can grab a drink in the beautifully assembled “Liquid Room”, make yourself comfy on a hay block stool and chill out while watching other visitors try to figure out how to get there. The fact is, 5 minutes inside and you forget all about London – I felt like I was in someone’s cottage, ready to see meadows and lakes when the exit door opened. This was by far one of the most interesting, original and pleasurable experiences I’ve ever had here in London. Or anywhere else, for that matter…

Because of the theme, all the works displayed have a sort of mythical, storytelling quality. To learn more about them, use the mouse to explore the virtual maze on their website. More pictures here. 

“The King and the Minotaur” is open from 7pm to 12am, Thursdays to Saturdays, until April 30th (it will be closed over the royal wedding weekend). Tickets cost £7.00 and can be bought here.

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