Destress In The Dark At This Free, Atmospheric Exhibition

UVA, 180 The Strand ★★★★☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 31 months ago

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

Destress In The Dark At This Free, Atmospheric Exhibition UVA, 180 The Strand 4
Animals sounds made visual and reflected in the water.

I step into the darkness and lights swing hypnotically above my head. It’s all rather relaxed until it suddenly feels like the whole room is tilting in one direction. I tip my head and body to compensate before my own body corrects back to stop me falling over. It's like that feeling when you set foot on dry land from a boat and can't find your balance.

That’s the unsettling experience of being inside an installation by United Visual Artists (UVA) — an arts collective who have set up three atmospheric experiences within the massive events venue that is 180 Strand. Thankfully, the disorientation only happens when walking up the middle of this installation, so stick to the side if you prefer being mesmerised by the gently swaying lights.  

Step into the light in this mesmerising installation.

Next door, a laser grid projects on to a screen. It feels rather Tron-like, or reminiscent of that scene from Resident Evil. Thankfully the laser beams don't slice visitors in half, and it's a meditative experience, even if it is the least memorable of the three.

By contrast, the most impressive is the last one, which involves biophonics — that's the study of the sounds of nature, although you'd be forgiven for not knowing that. Working with noted bioacoustician — also a thing — Bernie Krause, the sounds of nature have been transformed into visual data that's projected on to screens in green, blue and red, all beautifully reflected in the water underneath.

No need to watch out for these lasers.

It's best to lie back on one of the beanbags and listen to the song of a humpback whale, the howl of a coyote and drilling of a woodpecker as the piece cycles through the sounds of different habitats from across the world. It'd be extremely easy to spend several hours there, absorbing the whole experience.

The sounds of nature in the heart of London offer a great escape when the stress of the city gets too much. An important environmental message is embedded within the piece too, with a section comparing the sounds of nature in a habitat before and after logging takes place, with the drop in noise levels speaking volumes... or not.

The Store X The Vinyl Factory presents Other Spaces with United Visual Artists at 180 The Strand. The exhibition is on until 8 December 2019 and entrance is free. Visitors should also check out Transformer: The Rebirth of Wonder, another free exhibition hosted at 180 The Strand, also open until 8 December 2019.

Last Updated 03 October 2019