Sunday, 1 June 2014


I went on an East London art tour, starting off at Bow Arts' exhibition of the East London Group in the Nunnery Gallery, walking up the canal along the River Lea to Hackney Wick, through the newly open Olympic Park and finally onto the inaugural East London Painting Prize exhibition, in an old warehouse space off Stratford High Street.

It was a beautiful, gloriously sunny day but I was feeling lazy and antisocial and wishing I hadn't signed up for it, so I could stay in bed rewatching Buffy episodes on my laptop.

The tour leader was someone who'd worked in regeneration projects in East London for years, and gave us a little history and political background along the way. Some of the artists in the exhibition came along too.

The tour leader introduced two girls in hi-vis jackets, he said they were tour leaders he'd met at a drinks reception, setting up their own architectural tour in London. He'd invited them to check out his tour. They were Australian and Canadian, and kept talking to people, asking them questions and making pronouncements along the way.  I just put this down to non-English people being less uptight and having greater social skills.

They were friendly but after 90 minutes of walking I was doing my best to put distance between us.  I just wanted to enjoy taking photos on the canal, checking out the Olympic park (somewhat bleak and weird) and the final show (oil painting, lots of good work.)

When we arrived in the final exhibition, the tour leader confessed that these two girls were in character - they were actors,their tour leader personas were part of an 'immersive performance' they were planning for the London Architecture festival.  

If you are going to see some theatre, you might be up for an immersive performance, but having someone be immersive all over you without your consent makes you feel a bit conned.

No comments:

Post a Comment