11 October, 2012


A visit to the Old Vic Tunnels where the only thing inducing madness was the technology. 

My visit to the tunnels was provoked by Twitter when somebody posted something about bookings opening for an exhibition in some old railway warehouses under Waterloo Station.  The title of the exhibition was 'Bedlam' after the Bethlehem Hospital now in Bromley but formerly in Lambeth.  The initial website www.lazaridesbedlam.com was efficient at booking but inefficient at sending an email confirming it.  Nevertheless my name was on the list so I was going in.  Nobody asked me to fill in a form disclaiming responsibility for any medical diagnosis that I might get so I presume there was no psychiatrist on duty that evening.  I was issued with an HTC mobile phone that was supposed to guide me round the exhibition.  I had been thinking about a smart phone but decided that if I do get one it will not be made by HTC.  Firstly it did not work as there was no volume, then I couldn't get the display to light.  Eventually somebody fiddled around with it so it played, but eventually I just gave up and let the thing play out without associating it with the exhibits.

I should state that the Old Vic Tunnels were used for the Middle Classes Graffiti artist of choice, Banksy, to run his money making scheme (sorry Ironic take on exhibitions) Exit through the gift shop.  I think that Mind were also trying to make money out of this with a suggested donation of £5. 

So after a failure of technology what were the exhibits like?  Well there were some good sculptures and installations including the two depicted here as well as some good canvases.  There was also a cafe but really, £2.50 for a cup of tea?  I'm glad I didn't book food.

On the whole I've had better experiences in the dark.

From Travels around London

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