I visited Carsten Höller: Decision and you’ve got to love a weird and wacky art exhibition on the South Bank! Höller wants his “visitors to become part of the exhibition, their varied actions and reactions [are] vital to the artist” so holla to Carsten – here’s my reaction to some of your installations…
Relying on sound and touch, our sight was robbed by the darkness. Gripping my sister’s shoulder, we toddled along, up and down the tinned corridors. Although sound was sacrificed to my party’s screams and laughter, I battled a personal flashback within the corridors. Lying unconscious on a hospital bed, my body went to war with Cyclizine (an antihistamine drug) as a result I lost my sight and breathing. Hearing my mother’s screams and the Crash Team whacking life back into me, I was given another chance of life. It was literally the light at the end of tunnel that kept me going!
Hundreds of pills scattered on the floor, then a single pill descended onto the pile. According to Höller, “this interval of three seconds is the length of time in which it is possible to create the impression of presence”. It was quite therapeutic, but strange – especially after witnessing a flying mushroom installation. The guard told us all to take a pill. Unsure whether this was a demand, it was interesting to watch the decisions made. Some refused, some debated, some followed and some pocketed two. Like choosing the largest slice of cake, I chose a pill. Hoping it was a fortune cookie, I was disappointed to discover powder. Was I drugged?
I got carried away wearing this 3D headset – I’m sure I amused the audience with my head-cocking (it’s my “I’m interested in you” pose). Trekking through the snowy forest, the left or right eye would be blocked, creating “split [vision] as one is taken to the right around a tree in our path, and the other to the left”. Due to the distorted vision, I thought my headset was too big for my face, but I’m glad I experienced Höller’s desired effect. The forest was slightly computer-gamish, but I loved the mixed feelings of vulnerability and curiosity. I didn’t know the film was on repeat!
Also, I must mention – how cool are these Roaming Beds? I mean my bed has wheels (so nothing special there), but I wish I had £300 to have a kip on a robot! I hear you “What’s the point, Emma?”…well apparently Höller believes “dreams are a short cut to a peculiar form of madness so you can longer be sure that the place that you go to sleep will be the place where you wake up”. He has a point – I never wake up in the same position I fell asleep in! I yearn to be in the starfish pose, but the battered duvet cod pose suits me well! It’s a shame the beds were only made for the rich in mind!
Two Flying Machines
Yes we queued for 1 hour and 20 minutes to fly around the Waterloo Terrace for 3 minutes! Bonkers! It looked like something out of Total Wipeout, but without the giant red balls – although I kinda of looked like one in my safety gear. Resembling a “combination of carousel, paraglider and motorcycle”, you were basically there to “experience embarrassment, suspended in the air like a bag of potatoes”. It didn’t exactly work for the likes of me as I embarrass myself on a daily basis. Waving to the little kids pointing on Waterloo Bridge and wishing I had the balls to sing The Snowman’s I’m Flying Through The Air, I was left there to take in the sights of concrete and a glimpse of the Thames. I didn’t exactly make the best fashion choice, involving my low cut tank top, but my friend swore we had a few extra turns. RESULT!
Ahhh!! The finale…well to our outsider it looks like this….
I think Höller is bang on the money as he describes the slide as a “sculpture you can travel inside and a device for experiencing a unique condition somewhere between delight and madness”.
You can check out Carsten Höller: Decision at Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre until 6 September here