Foaming Skeletons

Last week we reported our experience of The Greenwich Spark the first Art Installation of this year’s GDIF and then last Saturday 3rd Sept we went back down to Greenwich and this time to the 02 Square and then back across the river for more random ‘Art’ Here is what our day included.

We started our day at the Greenwich Ecology Centre as we were around the area but we will tell you about that another time.

This time we are focusing on the Art.

Island of Foam: Version XVIII by Stephanie Lüning

By 5pm swarms and swarms of people were gathering in The Tide – the square outside of the O2 – so many people that you would not have been able to see the spectacle that would unfold on the staircase. Once again the organisation at the event was as usual a little chaotic and the crowd swarmed about the barriers in all directions and tried to push and jump the queue.

Seeing a opportunity to get a better view we tried to join the queue for the Elevator to get to the viewing platform above the square as the stairs were the other side of the bridge. However after 15 mins of queuing and being the next people to get on we were ordered away by a jobsworth security guard. As there was only a couple of minutes left before it was going to begin we rushed to join another queue to get through the barriers and into the cordoned off area and await the experience of ‘An Island of Foam’.

15 minutes later we were finally admitted past the barrier and stood with about 500 people staring at a flight of stairs and waited. Nothing happened for a while until a sudden puff of white foam announced the start and then that puff turned into more and more foam, starting off red and gradually changed through the spectrum of colours and the foam grew and grew, cascading down the stairs until it reached the floor in a full rainbow. Then a sudden gust of wind blew and the chaos ensued, with one gust the whole area became a mass of screaming kids and laughing adults reverting to younger versions of themselves, the order broke down and people started to try running through the foam, catching it and even rolling in it and kids screamed that infectious laughter.

This is when the staff thought to mention the dye in the foam stained skin and clothes – only then – not before, not in signs or even an announcement. After everyone had turned into multi-coloured alien like creatures.

The foam stopped pumping down the stairs and the woman who aided it emerged completely covered in foam and dye, having conceded to having lost the fight and this is when the foam started to dissolve leaving the crowd transformed into aliens and parents trying desperately to stop their little treasures from rolling around in the residue and wondering how to get the little ones home while completely covered in orange gooey paint or trying to wipe their skin clean (trying and failing).

We left them and the clean up crew to clearing away the mess and went in search of food in the Street food market but more on that another time. Our next stop was over the water in Canning Town and the quickest way was via the Cable Car – well it would have been if not for the 40minute queue to get in the station and only 5minutes up in the air to cross the Thames. This time round it was better the lackluster daytime broke into a red sunset and a bright lights drawing your attention away from the building sites and tips.

On the other side we went searching for Limmo Peninsula which according to Google is nowhere near where it turned out to be!. GDIF’s instructions were a little vague and it turned out that the instructions assumed everyone would be turning up via the tube at Canning Town. We bumped into a fair amount of people who all asked how to get to “burning man festival” as it is now dubbed. It seems were were not the only ones lost! Well eventually after a lot of running around trying to find our way in, we crossed the station and found a pink t-shirted man pointing us down a dark gravel road.

Charon by Peter Hudson

The path lit by oil drums with flaming lights inside led us a long way to emerge into an opening and in the centre stood a giant wheel that spun vigorously while lights flashed illuminating the bottom of the wheel and making skeletons appear in poses to simulate the Ferryman rowing across The River Styx, with deathly eerie music playing and a bell tolling occasionally.

The wheel’s rotation was charged by ropes at either side pulled like bell ringers (members of the public) the wheel slowed occasionally and one of the organiser’s appeared and shouted encouragement to keep the wheel turning, like a slave master, no whips thankfully on a sharp tongue – well a sarcastic one. We paid the ferryman with our muscles as spun the structure and watched on as the circle rotated on never stopping as we sat and drank coffee in the dark before taking our leave and heading home.

It was worth noting that there was a Bar and a Coffee shop and Tea shop open – it was past 9pm! We were so shocked we almost joined the skeletons!

We have chosen a few more other events to check out and will report back over the next few weeks so watch this space for more of the GDIF as well as the next section of the Capital ring Walk, plus of course coffee.



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