diamond geezer

 Sunday, April 18, 2010

London excursion: Speed of Light
When a media company seeks to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its broadband service you might expect something naff. Instead they've given London a temporary artwork made of laser beams and stashed it away in a dark warehouse behind the Oxo Tower. And it's rather fun. The installation's called Speed of Light and it's taken over the four storeys of the Bargehouse on the South Bank. A safety chat at the entrance ensures you're not fazed by strobe lighting, and aware that there might be dimly-lit trip hazards within, because they have to say that. And then the first gallery invites you to answer a question into a microphone. You'll discover why later. An exploration of the interior space follows, including several ascents of a dingy back staircase (I kept expecting Richard O'Brien to come running past me with six jump-suited adventurers behind). As your eyes get used to the dark, expect to see flashing laser beams zapping about across unseen rooms. The first one's pretty tame, more atmosphere than spectacle, followed closely by a red-beamed virtual living room complete with shimmering furniture. Look closely, it is indeed all done by mirrors. One long room has been taken over by two parallel metal rods, between which misty lasers dance to an electric soundtrack (the best view's from down one end, not stood in the middle). A redfaced icon shifts from smile to frown according to which way the light's reflected. And finally a roomful of shifting beams with a more frenetic accompaniment (I couldn't decide whether it reminded me more of military searchlights or an alien disco). The event's only on for two more days (today and tomorrow), so you'll need to hurry if you want to look at pretty lights in the dark. And don't worry, nobody tries to flog you broadband on the way out.
by tube: Temple

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