Art / Design, England

Rain Room Random International

We’d heard about the Rain Room and about the queues so we arrived at the Barbican’s Curve Gallery early on Saturday and joined the line with a new friend of ours, Mai (who is currently exhibiting in the ICN Gallery). After an hour or so happily waiting; chatting and drinking coffee, we stepped into the darkness…

When you hear about the concept of this installation, it sounds amazing, but believe me the experience far exceeds all expectation. Heavy rain falls noisily in the gallery but as you move about, as long as you move slowly, sensors stop the rain around only you, preventing you from getting wet. If you looked to the ceiling, you could see small circles clearing a path in the rain where people walked below. The feeling inside the rain was exhilarating and we wondered whether they could reverse this and, in an opposite way, make a small rain-cloud follow you around! Don’t be put off by the queues for this one, it’s beautiful and since I feel my photos might be far better a second time around, we might be standing in line again before long…

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Art / Design

Waste Not, Barbican Curve Gallery

Beijing based Chinese artist Song Dong’s “Waste Not” is currently on display at The Curve, Barbican Art Gallery. The exhibition consists of more than 10,000 objects that were collected by his late mother, Zhao Xiangyuan, over a period of 50 years. Her desire to fill her life with things became stronger after the death of her husband. It was painful for Song Dong to see his mother in a state of depression and they created the first installation of “Waste Not” together in Tokyo Gallery project space in Beijing, which eventually became a part of her healing process. “It gave my mother a space to put her memories and history in order” as Song Dong later noted.

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Art / Design

Song Dong

“Following Song Dong’s father’s death in 2002, Zhao Xiangyuan sank into deep depression. Her desire to fill her life with things regardless of their possible use became more marked and more disturbing to witness. It was clear to Song Dong that his mother had a ‘need to fill the emptiness after my father’s death’. In an attempt to help his mother find new purpose in life and bring her out of the depths of her grief, Song Dong proposed that she work with him to make her possessions – in effect, the family home – a work of art.”

Despite a whole gallery full of gathered items, I guess she never filled that void that was left after her husband died. Song Dong’s exhibition in the Barbican’s Curve Gallery was as moving as it was overwhelming.

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England, Music

Ryan Adams – Barbican (Monday)

I think it’s incredible that despite being quite a long-time listener of Ryan Adams, at an acoustic set, old songs can suddenly seem new again. Some were played differently but other songs I simply hadn’t listened to in ages. He’s probably released around 14 albums in 10 years and there is a wealth of unreleased material too, so that’s a lot of songs.

As he flipped through his songbook on-stage, there were a few nice surprises last night, a couple of tracks I never would have dreamed to hear and it was totally different to Sunday, he seemed a little more at ease with things and there was less guitar-tuning.

Many people think I am crazy to see him once, let alone twice in a row, but the chances to see him are few and far between so I am really happy we saw him both nights. People were again pretty respectful of the no-pictures rules through the show, I have just this one picture as he settled on-stage for the encore.

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England, Music

Ryan Adams – Barbican (Sunday)

I had been waiting a while since the last time I saw him, but Sunday finally came and we went to see Ryan Adams play the first night of his two ‘Acoustic Nightmare’ sets in London.

The fact that this was a no-phones / no-taping / no photography gig really did make a difference; no bright screens to distract from the music. There was a very short burst of photographs as he left at the end of the show, and I took advantage of that, but to sit in darkness for 2.5 hours listening to him play acoustically alone was heaven. Despite a few guitar-tuning issues, the sound in the Barbican was amazing, it shocks me every time to hear just how good his voice sounds and how skilled a guitar player he is.

The acoustic black-metal / spanish-guitar improvised song made us laugh, as did his stories of norway. The two new songs he played were brilliant and I can hardly wait to hear the new album.

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England

Nurture

Nature seems to be talking hold and starting to claim back an unused platform at Barbican station which is especially eye-catching this morning, in the pouring rain. I stepped off the train to snap these on my way through to work.

Now just trying to save Atsuko’s contact information from her iPod which is turning into a bit of a nightmare… Against all odds, I have backed up Atsuko’s contact information and am therefore claiming myself to be a bit of a genius… ; )

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Art / Design, England

John Bock

At the Barbican’s Curve gallery space, John Bock currently has an interesting installation. Weirdly, we are a little quiet today as we wait for some feedback from a client so rather than twiddle thumbs in the studio, we walked around the corner to check it out. Was pretty cool, I didn’t understand it at all but then I didn’t even try. As far as I could see, it was a collection of Archigram-style ‘living spaces’ that ‘walk’ or move around and cling to walls or ceilings.

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