The creators of this site-specific installation are taking the term “immersive” pretty literally.
Because not only is the piece an immersive, multimedia, multisensory experience, it’s also immersive in the sense that it’s taking place under the Thames.
The venue in question is probably a space that’s never even crossed your mind, despite probably having physically crossed it yourself a fair few times. Because hidden directly underneath the towers of Tower Bridge are the cavernous Bascule Chambers: the spaces housing the lifting mechanisms for the bridge.
When the bridge is raised, colossal counterweights sweep into the chambers on either side; but when the bridge is lowered, the rooms remain empty – creating unexpectedly atmospheric performance spaces. With their lofty, vaulted ceilings, exposed brick walls, and disorienting, brutally industrial architecture, you might describe them as resembling a giant, real-life Escher painting…
…Or you might just say that they’re really freaking cool.
Upon arrival at the bridge, you’ll be handed a pair of headphones to fully immerse yourself in the soundscape, then, descending the 120 meandering and spiral staircases into the depths of the towers, you’ll make your way to the chamber. Once inside, you’ll be submerged in a shifting haze of sound, light and projections designed specifically in response to the space by graduating students from the Guildhall School – whose strengths lie in anything from composition, to theatrical devising, to beatboxing. Named after uncharted territory, the resulting piece, Terra Incognita, seeks to discombobulate and alter perception…
At any rate, it beats whatever’s going down in Davy Jones’ locker. That place is a diiive.
NOTE: The installation runs from 17th-19th February and costs £30 for the installation. A £35 ticket will also get you access to the glass-bottomed walkway and exhibition above the bridge. Performances last 1 hour including access time and you are advised to dress warmly and wear sensible shoes, just like your mother told you.
Terra Incognita – Here Be Dragons | Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Road, SE1 2UP
Main image: Davide D’Amico / Flickr | Inset image: James Guppy / Flickr
Like art in weird, subterranean venues? Then you’ll have a blast at VAULT Festival…