The launch of Ikon’s new Eastside space in Birmingham last night was quite a lot for the senses to take in.
Turning up at about 8.30pm the space was in almost complete darkness with people sitting on the floor and milling around looking bemused. Having managed not to trip over the bodies on the floor – and with my eyes getting used to the lack of light – I realised that I was indeed walking over Soi Project’s Island and nobody seemed to mind… until the lights came up.
The work is made up of 3-dimensional Islands on the ground which are covered in Google Earth images. Visitors navigate their way around the islands via the sea and are invited to put stickers on the island to influence the useage of the space. But the really clever thing is that over 24 minutes (rather than hours) the passage of time is simulated using the lighting in the space which takes us from almost pitch black to bright daylight – and the warming effects of the light almost feel like sun (although i’m not sure that was the intention).
So when daylight arrived I was spotted and promptly directed to the door to collect some flip flops (I was wearing heels – big faux pas for this particular exhibition). The flip flops (I assume) are to be worn so you don’t damage the work as you walk around it or on top of it which also seemed to be encouraged.
But don’t be alarmed the flip flops were new and I was allowed to take them home with me which felt like a little gift to remember the work by.
The space used for Ikon Eastside is soon to be ‘Fazeley Studios’ (owned by the Custard Factory) – a large complex of office and workshop space which will be completed in about 6 weeks.