Alex Chinneck's Fighting Fire with Ice-Cream, is a Christmas tree inside a block of ice that is slowly melting in Granary Square, London:

Fighting fire with ice-cream

More photos )
1. Try to escape from a locked room. (HintHunt and similar.)
2. Go on a tour of public toilets in London. (Loo Tours).
3. Stare at sculptures made out of Lego.(Art of the Brick).
4. Look at interesting fungi on a fungi foray.
5. Listen to bats on a bat walk.
6. Visit some of the Great Trees of London. (I have 2 Central, 2 West, 9 East, 4 North, 9 South left to see.)
7. Stare up at the books on the ceiling of Leadenhall Market.
8. Visit Ernö Goldfinger's modernist home - 2 Willow Road.
9. Have fun in Croydon ([ profile] nou's Croydon Fun Weekend).
10. Visit places not normally open to the public (Open House Weekend).
11. Walk from one tube station to another (on Tube Walks).
12. Get on the first bus that comes along, and then the next, and so on. (Flâneurs Challenge.)
13. Eat vegan sushi at Itadaki Zen.
14. Eat unusual vegetarian food at Vanilla Black.
15. Eat at self-service vegetarian restaurant Ethos.
16. Go to Richmond MakerLabs in Ham.
17. Learn to pick locks at the London Hackspace.
18. Go on the London Eye.
19. Visit the Museum of Brands and Packaging.
20. Visit the London Museum of Water & Steam.
21. Take photos at a Flickr meet.
22. Hide inside the bunker at the Churchill War Rooms.
23. Drink cocktails in the Heron Tower and stare out over London.
24. Eat a Bánh mì.
25. Listen to technology related talks at OpenTech.
26. Explore the hidden tropical oasis at the Barbican.
27. Stare at the replica sewer lamp on Carting Lane.
28. Try not to be scared of the Old Kent Road Hellraiser bus stop.
29. Look down through the glass floor at Tower Bridge.
30. Walk down the other contender for narrowest street, Emerald Court.
31. Wander around the top of the Walkie-talkie, in the Skygarden.
32. Find the Seven Noses of Soho and be wealthy for evermore.
33. Listen to people talk at a Quantified Self meet up.
34. Travel by amphibious vehicle. (Duck tour.)
35. See people flying and a bridge that lights up when you walk over it. (Canary Wharf Winter Lights.)
36. Play a game in one of the video game bars.
37. Explore the foreshore.
38. Visit Severndroog Castle.

Is there anything you would recommend I do in London in 2015? What are you thinking of doing?
After reading about it in [ profile] the_alchemist's LJ, I started doing [ profile] naarmamo on 1st August. (NaArMaMo is National Art Making Month, where you attempt to make one piece of art a day.) Mostly I have been drawing Manga faces and making collages, but I have also sculpted clay, done some painting, and even did a bit of knitting. Any suggestions for what might be fun to make are welcome. I may post pictures or at least give a more detailed description of what I've made later.

I received my London Open House Weekend booklet. After failing to get the tickets I wanted during the pre-book frenzy, I ended up with tickets to the Balfron Tower (after [ profile] modulatorium's suggestion) and to 2 Amyand Cottages. Where is everyone else going? Any suggestions of what I should see this year? I'm looking forward to 17th/18th September!
Garden Chair
"You've entered the room. It looks empty. It looks silent. There is vinyl text on the wall.
Someone in their early twenties hands you this pamphlet and a pair of ghetto-style headphones attached to a small electronic device."

That was part of the text written on the pamphlet I was handed at the Translated By exhibition at The Architectural Association School of Architecture.

I sat on a grey exercise ball, staring at a black image, listening to an excerpt of Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. It was about the Street.

After that, I sat on an old garden chair (see picture), amongst some tin cans and a block of wood, looking at a picture of what looked like the end of the world, while I listened to an excerpt from Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland.

My mum and I sat in office chairs and looked at a map on the wall, while we listened to an excerpt from Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem, about Brooklyn.

We listened to other words also, but those are the ones I noted.

After leaving the gallery, we ate at Planet Organic, and then headed to the river, where we jumped aboard a boat that took us to the London Eye, and the big wheel towered over us, and then the boat turned around and took us to the west, and we left the boat at Canary Wharf.

The London Ice Sculpting Festival was happening and although we did not get to carve polar bears from ice, as all the sessions were booked up, we did see lions, people, London buildings, and other things carved from ice, already starting to melt.
Anyone fancy coming to see Douglas Coupland talk about what words look like, and the power of text as an art object, at the ICA in London on Thursday September 3rd? Helvetica is also being shown that evening, so I might go and see that as well.
Blizard Building lecture theatre
Blizard Building lecture theatre
My last weekend in London (September 20th and 21st) coincides with Open House London Weekend, so I'm hoping to see some cool buildings before I leave. Anyone else thinking of going, and if so, to what?

I've been to the Neasden Bunker twice before, but am thinking of going again. Anyone want to join me?
Traffic Light Tree
It snowed that day, and as I waited for [ profile] fluffymark at East India, I stared out of the window at the view of skyscrapers and snow, thinking of how it reminded me of Vancouver.

It was cold outside as we walked towards Trinity Buoy Wharf and I snacked upon the space food I'd bought at Cybercandy the day before: a freeze dried cookies & cream ice-cream saucer. I had also bought a Japanese chestnut KitKat and a packet of Canadian chocolate fudge clodhoppers. [ profile] fluffymark bought Australian tim-tams, a Japanese red apple KitKat and some kind of great sounding energy drink. We managed to resist the Zotter chocolate, which came in many flavours, such as "bacon bits","cheese-walnut-grapes" and "sweet potato-mocha-rosemary".

In the street leading to the wharf, the lamp-posts were decorated. Ants were painted to crawl around the base of one lamp-post and another had traffic cones taped near the top. One lamp-post was pink and another was like a totem pole, with faces, and the strangest was perhaps the one with an arch hanging upside down from it.

As we reached Trinity Buoy Wharf, a girl who had been playing the guitar prior to our arrival greeted us, from the information centre. We wandered past and came across Container City- a colourful block of flats made from recycled shipping containers. Opposite that stood Fatboys Diner, but it was closed. Next to the diner stood a small hut marked, "The Faraday Effect".

Further on was the lighthouse, London's only lighthouse. It's only open on the first weekend of the month, but inside it, if you climb to the top, you can hear Longplayer, a "1000 year long piece of music".

We headed to Canary Wharf after that, to drink Cadbury's Creme Egg milkshakes and to stare at the Traffic Light Tree. We just about managed to avert our eyes from the Olympic flame as it passed.

Photos on Flickr: Trinity Buoy Wharf.
Alexandre Pollazzon, near to Goodge Street tube, just off Tottenham Court Road, is currently showing Andreas Dobler's Paintings from the Comfort Zone. The paintings are dreamy and have a sci-fi feel to them, although some are a little bit creepy, but for a few minutes before lectures started, I gazed at the 8 paintings of islands, bridges, tiny buildings and strange structures and imagined I was amongst them.

From the press release: "'Paintings from the Comfort Zone' presents surrealist settings that are hallucinatory utopian/dystopian visions and perhaps, cryptic prophecies about urbanism, originating in the painter's lust to occupy new territory. By indulging in these spaces and grounds, Dobler reflects on his own desire for comfort and security, and painting as an ideal way to reconcile reality and dream."
A talk at the ICA on the 29th of February: Fun and Games: The Gallery as Adult Play Centre

I've hung upside down on a climbing frame in an art gallery in Amsterdam and I know that many people played on the slides at the Tate Modern in London, so when I heard that the ICA's founding president, Hubert Read, described the ICA at its inception as an "adult play centre", I was inclined to agree that art galleries can be thought of that.

The talk at the ICA included various speakers, including curators from the Tate Modern, and a number of interesting points were discussed, but no conclusions really seemed to be reached. A video of Oh What a Lovely Whore was shown and then Sebastian Boyle spoke about it. Oh What a Lovely Whore was an exhibition, which looked more like a party really, that happened in 1965 and seemed to involve people getting drunk and smashing up pianos to turn them into new forms of instrument. Tino Sehgal's 2007 This Success/This Failure exhibition was also talked about, which simply involved a gallery full of actual children playing.

A few notes:
- "Play is crucial in sublimating aggression" - Read.
- "Man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays" - Schiller.
- What happens when participation is forced?
- Being subversive by not playing.
- Invigilators at art galleries hinder play.
- You are not allowed to be delirious.
- Playing is not the same as gaming.

Pax Guns

Feb. 15th, 2008 09:07 pm
Pax Guns
Archway Road, London.
On the map, a number of roads existed in South-East London without names.

I wandered the streets of Blackheath, with a crumpled print-out, staring at the names on street signs and trying to decode them as if they were secret messages the roads were passing to me. Estates were full of tangled roads, blending too quickly into other roads, sometimes with different names, but sometimes the same. Other roads just weren't marked at all, not even with outlines on my print-out, and every time I found one of those, I felt like I was discovering somewhere new, as if that road had just sprung into existence as I reached it.

I glanced at boat stencils, advertising a Thames treasure hunt; I passed a graveyard containing the grave of Edmond Halley, who Halley's Comet was named after, as well as the grave of Robert Cocking, 'an early aeronaut who in 1837 fell to his death in a local field when his primitive parachute failed'; I found Celestial Gardens; I found the Queen of Clubs on the ground; I walked past streets that had been adopted and streets that hadn't; I was approached by a cute long-haired guy on a bike and wondered whether I was dreaming, but he was mapping too; I visited Kenya, Nigeria and Grenada; and then there was the most beautiful sunset with pinks and blues and oh, I couldn't stop staring at it.
London Rollergirls
Temple Church Ceiling
On January 19th, a sports hall in a leisure centre slowly filled up with people, some wearing pink or black to show support for their team. Most of the crowd would have looked out of place at your regular sports match, but this was New Year's Retribution, featuring the London Rollergirls.

Two teams of rollergirls in pink and black sat on the opposite side of the room to where I was sitting, while my housemate "Refzilla" and the other referees stuck to the middle.

Then the match started, and surges of pink and black flashed past as the Rollergirls zoomed around the ring and crashed into each other and then suddenly it would be over and would start again. Mostly I failed to be able to tell what was going on, but [ profile] mondoagogo was paying attention more than I was: London Rollergirls: New Year's Retribution.

Due to having gone to Invocation on Saturday night, I woke up far too late on Sunday to be able to catch much of the Temple Festival, but I did catch a few glimpses of effigies of knights and grotesques in the Temple Church (built by the Knights Templar), as well as of the Molyneux globes and bookcases full of purple books in the Middle Temple Library, and a variety of armour. I think I should have got up earlier. Photos on Flickr: Temple Festival.


Jan. 20th, 2008 11:48 pm
Site of the Devil
Bridge of Aspirations
During a Photowalk in central London, I stumbled across the site of the Devil, as well as seeing the Bridge of Aspirations, shoes on windowsills, lions and green men.


Nov. 29th, 2007 12:13 am
London seems full of enchanted forests. I just found another: The Evil Twins – A Haunted House in the Enchanted Forest.
Open House London Weekend 2007 happened on the 15th and 16th of September and it was then that I saw Vintners' Hall, 30 St Mary Axe, Old Turkish Baths and the Village Underground.

1. Vintners' Hall is also known as the spiritual home of the wine trade, but unfortunately photographs were not allowed, and actually, no-one seemed to be drinking wine. There were impressive chandeliers, old bottles, and labels that perhaps were once stuck to wine bottles (including "mouthwash").

2. 30 St Mary Axe is better known as the "Gherkin" and booking a ticket to visit the 40th floor during Open House Weekend involves pressing "refresh" a lot around the time when tickets are supposed to appear, but is worth it. From the top, there is an amazing view of London. The Gherkin itself is also impressive, so seeing it from the inside was interesting.

Old  Turkish Baths
3. The Old Turkish Baths are now an Italian restaurant, Ciro's Pizza Pomodoro, but they have retained some of their original features, so interesting details and patterns can be found, as well as pizza. Since it's a restaurant, it's obviously open other times as well as Open House Weekend. (The next London Open House Weekend is apparently on the 20th and 21st of September 2008.)

Village Underground
4. The Village Underground consists of a number of artists' studios that have been made out of recycled tube trains. They have been painted and refitted and some even look like they are about to fly off the top of buildings.

(After that, [ profile] fluffymark and I headed to See for "ice dragon" ice-cream, as well as strawberry and balsamic vinegar ice-cream.)

More photos on Flickr: Open House London.

1. Secret passageway, full of cobwebs and abandoned video players. Suspicious pile of rubble at the end of the the passageway, with further digging could lead all the way to the Mole Man's lair in Hackney, or perhaps to vaults in Highgate cemetery, or even just to secret tube stations.

2. Sacrificial altar. (Victorian sink with coals underneath, encrusted with rust-covered coins.)

3. Zeppelin in the outdoor cupboard.

4. Sinister poster of three owls.

5. Food found left in house: salt. Suggests there may have been a problem with giant killer slugs.

6. Dead yellow flowers pinned to the wall.

7. Early morning rumblings of tube trains, which I hope will soon seem like a lullaby.

8. Glow-in-the-dark stars, but only on one corner of my bedroom ceiling, as if magical happenings might happen only underneath there.
I'm in Kent now and am tempted to play amongst the hay bales.
I watched Before Sunset again recently and am thinking about the scene where Céline says, "Now that we've met again, we can change our memory of that December 16th. It no longer has that sad ending of us never seeing each other again. Right?" and Jesse replies, "Yeah, you’re right. I guess a memory is never finished. As long as you're alive..."

I suppose that's how I'm trying to think at the moment, about Southampton, that my memories of it aren't finished.
I received the Open House London guide for September 15th and 16th and am trying to decide what to see. Is anyone else intending to go?


Apr. 30th, 2007 07:38 pm
Disappointed Carsten Höller's slides at the Tate Modern have closed? [ profile] mondoagogo and I investigated the alternatives, armed with a map of nearby playgrounds and a tape measure.

Jason Slide
1. Name: Jason Slide.
Location: Rotherham Walk, Southwark.
Distinguishing features: Stickers, such as "lettuce is a member of the sunflower family" and "Jason".
Measurements: 144cm from the top of the slide to the ground. 297cm actual slide length.
Number of steps: 6.
Observations: Average slide, but a bit tight at the top for an adult. Slightly muddy.

Tiny Slide
2. Name: Tiny Slide.
Location: Rotherham Walk, Southwark.
Distinguishing features: Tiny slide, in the same playground as the previous slide.
Measurements: 58cm from the top of the slide to the ground. 146cm actual slide length.
Number of steps: 3.
Observations: Not very slidey. Adults may get stuck.

Nelson Square Slide
3. Name: Nelson Square Slide.
Location: Nelson Square, Southwark.
Distinguishing features: Slide is on top of a mound.
Measurements: 243cm actual slide length.
Number of steps: 11.
Observations: Quite slidey indeed. A sign warns, "no adults without children", so this may not be a viable option.

4. Name: None.
Location: Mint Street Adventure Playground, Southwark.
Distinguishing features: No slides in this adventure playground.

Abney Park

Apr. 19th, 2007 02:06 pm
Abney Park
On Good Friday, [ profile] wintrmute and I wandered around the intriguing cemetery at Abney Park, gazing into the eyes of ivy-covered stone angels and lions, as blossom floated past in the sunshine.

We found the statue of Isaac Watts, who was born in Southampton and wrote many hymns including the one played by Southampton's clocktower. He apparently helped to landscape Abney Park.

I wondered how people had died, but then about what was still alive. In English churchyards, ancient yew trees are fairly common, but often there are other plants and animals that are also interesting. Southampton's Old Cemetery has three-edged leeks, where as in the churchyard of St Martin's in Eynsford, Kent, (edible) Roman snails can be found. In Vienna's Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery), pretty red and black beetles are common, and of course, in the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris, there are a lot of cats. In Abney Park, I did see a few ladybirds at least.


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