Sunday, 10 April 2011


In a bit of a blue funk last week after losing my camera...alas, there'll be no posts from the post-industrial grime of Stoke-on-Trent's amazing potteries, Warwick Castle, my collage exhibition in Bethnal Green or the annual Oxford/Cambridge Thames boat race...for shame. Harrumph and fiddlesticks and a big eff off to the turnip who trousered it around the mean streets of Hammersmith on their way to see The Boat Race.

Reflecting my black temperament, I'm posting more luddite fone pics from Antony McCall's show at the Ambika P3 gallery on London's Marylebone Street. This huge space - the old construction workshop of the University of London's engineering department - was pitch black, punctuated by three shards of white light projected from the (what seemed like) storeys-high ceiling. These simple projected shapes moved gradually on the ground, creating stark, triangular forms, made visible by regular pumps from the smoke machine. Difficult to photograph and even more difficult to describe...I'll just say the work created an eerie, almost religious feeling, visitors compelled to lounge about on the floor, gazes transfixed toward heaven, like a warehouse rave for adults minus the krazy glowstix and dreaded lockjaw comedown.

After, my date and I maintained the blacker than black vibe with a visit to Dans Le Noir, the Clerkenwell restaurant staffed by blind waiters where diners eat in a completely dark room. The height of pretentious London gastronomy-wank you cry? Never fear, dear readers, the concept actually aims to allow diners some empathetic insight into the blind persons' experience and proved to be, in fact, rather an emotional ride. Being immediately disoriented the moment we were led into the dining room, hands on shoulders by our lovely Australian waiter Carl, its amazing the sense of vulnerability and helplessness that descends as you gingerly hobble along, banging knees against chairs and cracking elbows against walls as you desperately try to make sense of the strange surroundings. Very rapidly I learnt to listen hard to Carl's soothing voice and trust his direction. Eventually a sort of confidence emerged as I adapted to the pitch black room and started to enjoy the cacophony of surrounding conversation and delicious smells. A strange sense of liberation came with the realisation you are no longer subject to 'the other's gaze and can indulge in complete gluttony under cover of total anonymity - a must for all you builimics out there. Your menu remains a mystery until after the meal - heightening diners' dependence on the other senses to decipher exactly what the devil you're munching on. Its inevitable your grubby mits get deployed whats more - five consecutive forkfulls of peas and air do not a three course meal make.

Read more on the the Dans Le Noir website here.

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