“People are often more powerful than artworks.” – Carsten Höller
It was difficult to know what to expect from Carsten Höller’s Decision at the Haywood Gallery. Our Partners, Southbank Centre, promised an interactive and disorientating experience designed to induce hallucinations, which included the consumption of a pill upon arrival. Contents unknown.
Upon entering, we were told to wait in front of what resembled some sort of time machine aka H. G. Wells. Soon we were ushered through the doors, three or four people at a time, into a vent-like tunnel which was pitch black, completely clueless as to where we were and, more importantly, where we were going. Cue disorientation! Guests: be prepared for revolving mushrooms and a room full of pills next to a water fountain… Rather in an Alice in Wonderland fashion, the choice was whether to consume or not… Well, we did, and then found ourselves wearing what felt like night vision goggles and choosing between two screens in a dark room playing Congolese film Fara Fara.
The rest of the exhibition was a mishmash of interactive experiences and scenarios designed to carry you through and accentuate your euphoric senses, each piece giving you an option of two or more paths. The exit is worth a mention: a huge spiralling slide which carries you back down to reality.
This is a truly unique exhibition which we think needs to be top on every Grange Hotel guest’s to-do list this summer. The exhibition is running until Sunday 6th September, so head down soon if you fancy a mind-altering experience of your own. We wouldn’t blame you if you needed a lie down in your hotel room afterwards!