Mischief Là Bas, Painful Creatures

Review in Issue 16-3/4 | Autumn 2004

Once through the ‘pain barrier’ and unleashed to explore the attractions of this ‘unfairground’ at my own pace, I felt suddenly impervious to the rain as I was drawn into an uncanny world.

Wandering through wet woods, my senses were overwhelmed by the scent of pine emanating from a tree… bedecked with hundreds of air fresheners.

Peeping through a slot in an octagonal booth, I was mesmerised by Medusa, as she writhed by candlelight, watched by dozens of pairs of eyes. I looked too long, and the spell was only broken by a bloke tapping me on the shoulder, asking for a go. Up the hill, closer inspection of neat rows of seemingly identical plaster heads on poles, revealed unnerving tiny differences in their features. Not sure for a moment which way to tum, my attention was directed by a megaphone-wielding ‘carnie’ (who seemed to be following me, or were there lots of them, all identical…?) to a live, disembodied bottom, emerging from the gloom.

Drawn by distant drums past a gingerbread house with two solemn child inmates, to open space and a crowd, I started to come back to reality as I struggled to see what was going on. Intimate interaction gave way to a large-scale finale in the form of a Wicker Man-esque fire sculpture. Installations near the end seemed to be crammed together and not as imaginatively sited. This and the overstated ‘crime scene’ were kinks in an otherwise totally immersing black-magical experience. If this is pain, bring it on.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Site

Queens Park

Date Seen
  1. May 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-3/4
p. 30