A live site-specific sound piece devised for the goods lift at Camberwell College of Art for the exhibition in Camberwell Space – Elusive, Feb 8th to 26th, 2011 Floor Zero by Tansy Spinks, until 26th Feb.
In the corridor next to Elusive was a queue. As Roman Ondak’s Tate acquisition Good Feelings in Good Times shows, we Brits love a good queue. We always seem to assume the end of it will hold wonders. Since it was a queue for the lift we assumed the wonders were in another floor. Not so, the wonder was the lift itself. As sets of people crammed into the lift we were trapped in Tansy Spink’s live sound piece.
At first we couldn’t see what the extensive recording apparatus in with us was for, but soon enough we felt a claustrophobic nausea as the lift voice ‘First Floor, Going Up, Second Floor…’ etc. gradually looped and layered to become a cacophany of sound that disorientated and, combined with the movement of the lift, nauseated.
When at one point the doors opened and we saw a man from the first floor get in smiling (ah! I found you!) I realised all sense of time and space were gone. This moment was artful, derivative of Alvin Lucier’s I Am Sitting In A Room or Gilbert and George’s Gordon’s Makes Us Drunk, but with a physical dimension all its own. The art was the feeling in the stomach, located in the whole body, not just the eyes and ears. An unusual feeling, adoring an art work yet blessedly relieved when you could finally walk away from it.
And so, breathing deeply, we did walk away into the dark Peckham night, leaving the imposing university building behind us, and clutching free posters. The best works were those which the poster could not capture, could not reproduce, those which will stay in our memories, no souvenir required.