October 11th, 2006

Fishy Circumstances


The newest installation in the Tate Modern's voluminous Turbine Hall is "Test Site", by Carsten Höller. A series of five silvery, clear-plastic topped tubes wind down through the heights of the expansive space, entertwining as they descend. The space is so large that, try as they might, many installations there do not fully relate to it. This one does a generally good job of relating to the rest of the space, although equally, the empty stetches of air suggest all the other twist and slides and spirals which could have cluttered them up. By leaving the set at five, the overall space is still streamlined. Spotlights shine at the tubes, casting curving shadows on the wide walls, more visible when the weather without is overcast than when there's sun.

A superficial glance shows that art critics are thus far divided on whether or not this is good art, or just good fun. As someone partial to good shadows and interesting light play, I'd love to come back with a camera during this installation.

Logistics: The two slides from Level 2 are first-come, first-served. The slides from Levels 3, 4, and 5 require free timed tickets, available on Level 1, which is also where all the slides end. No chidren below 0.9 meters allowed on the smaller slides, 1.4 m on the taller ones. As with amusement parks, we spent a fair bit of time standing in line before going down several of the slides - up to twenty minutes, even with the timed tickets. All bags and umbrellas and such must be left at the cloakroom pre-sliding. (UKP 2 optional donation for cloakroom use.) The logistics behind avoiding crashes on each slide made fine use of CCTV.

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