I’m the first to admit I’m not a lover of art exhibitions. I am that person that stands in the Tate Modern, looking puzzled and exclaiming ‘What IS that?! I can make that at home in five minutes!’ I just don’t get a lot of art. But we’re all different aren’t we. I can stand at the window of a cake store and think ‘THAT cake looks amazing, how talented that baker is’, whereas someone else might not even glance at that cake and instead walk straight to Sainsburys to purchase one off the shelf (*shudder). Different strokes for different folks right?
However, despite my lack of art exhibition lovin’, I’d read up on the Carsten Höller Decision Exhibition at The Southbank Centre, and I’d seen photos of the GIANT slide. Any event that involves a giant slide has to be fun right?
I mean look at that thing! I have to also admit I was a little bit nervous that I’d get to the top and think, UMMM, this is really high up, what on earth was I thinking!? I pushed that thought to the back of my mind as we arrived at the Hayward Gallery.
The exhibition is called Decision, and the first decision you have to make is whether you go through Door A or Door B. We chose Door B and pushed open the door.
In front of us was a long metal corridor that became darker and darker, going uphill and down, around corners and basically confusing the heck out of you, and kinda making you want to sit in a corner sucking your thumb and cuddling a stuffed toy, because it’s a pretty strange sensation when your sight is taken away, and all you have to rely on are your hands to feel along the wall to the exit.
We thankfully didn’t have to resort to the thumbsucking and toy cuddling, as we finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel. (Ha! See what I did there?)
Walking past a bunch of giant flying mushrooms, I kid you not, we were then greeted with a pile of pills on the floor. I know this is all sounding a little kooky, and trust when I tell you that you’re not wrong in thinking that!
The pills drop from the ceiling throughout the day, creating a growing pile on the floor. But how those pills dropped from the ceiling, we did not know.
Leaving the pills behind, we entered a room with robotic moving beds. By this stage, nothing was surprising us, we’d become accustomed to the madness of it all. The beds roam around the room on their own free will, and if you want to spend a night in one you can, for £300!
We lined up to wait our turn to put on some goggles and see goodness knows what. I sat down as some goggles became free, popped them on, and then saw this photo later and thought, I cannot believe I was sat there with my hair sticking up like that!
I pressed play, and in front of me was a forest, which I ‘walked’ through, and kinda thought ‘what the heck is going on here?’.
But it makes for a funny looking photo.
The next section of the exhibition was where the real fun began. We lined up to go flying. Yes that’s right, flying. And don’t I look chic in my flying outfit?!
All suited up and ready for our turn, I said a silent prayer that the cords didn’t fail whilst I was mid-air!
Up, up and away! Oh my goodness, talk about FUN! There was an accelerator, so I kept that on full throttle the whole time, completely forget about my concerns that the cords might fail on me. I was enjoying my wonder woman moment way too much to think about safety.
I think being a superhero kinda suits me?
I zoomed around for a few minutes, taking in the amazing views below me, before my wonder woman moment came to an end.
Back inside the exhibition, we enter a room with a giant dice for kids to jump in and out of, and the source of the mysterious pills that dropped from the ceiling earlier on.
The room was covered in mirrors, so there was no avoiding your reflection!
The line to try out the upside down goggles was lonnnnnng, and we almost decided against it. But we were worried we might just be missing out on something amazing, so we joined the queue.
I’m not sure why this snake was hanging around. But he looks how I feel after a Cheat Day Sunday when I go on an eating marathon of burgers and cake.
Finally we made it to the front of the line, I propped my upside down goggles on top of my head and walked out to the rooftop. We’d been told to sit down first to get comfortable with the idea that EVERYTHING was now the wrong way up, and once we felt okay with walking around, we were to try and shake hands and high five.
I look like something from Terminator.
These goggles were hilarious. And just absolutely crazy! Try walking around when the floor is now where the sky should be and vice versa.
We took on the challenge of trying to high five and shake hands, and who knew something that comes so naturally could be so difficult. You’ll see for yourself in the video further down in the post!
I want a pair of these goggles for myself! Though be warned if you try them out, they may make you feel really dizzy afterwards. We were spaced out for a good 10 minutes after we took them off.
We’d come to the end of the exhibition, and the grande finale awaited us. Handed a ‘slide sack’ we ascended the stairs to the top of the building.
The ‘slide attendant’ helps you get sorted, and instructs you that on ‘3,2,1’ you’re going to push yourself down that slide and screaming is definitely encouraged.
I hopped in the slide, I held the onto the edge, I heard ‘3’2’1′ and I pushed myself down the metal chute, and squealed like a ridiculous girl the whole way down. I always knew there was a reason when I was a child, that I was certain I wanted a slide in my house when I grew up one day. I have not changed my mind on that. Now I just need a 3 storey house to install one. Might have to resort to the slide at the park for awhile in that case!
Carsten Höller created an exhibition of madness, but it was madness that was worth the three hours we spent there last Sunday. So go check it out, and let me know how those upside goggles work out for you!