I’ve just come back from Tunnel Vision, part of Architecture Week, a trip “underneath the pavements in Birmingham is a network of tunnels stretching from Victoria Sq to New St Station”. In my excitement to see subterranean Brum (which I think I inherited from my granddad, who I recall was somewhat obsessed with the possibility of a tunnel between Aston Hall and Holte Church) I hadn’t paid much mind to the art installation by Luke Jerram and Dan Jones – the intriguing sound and light came as a pleasant surprise.
The installations talked about abandonment, with a pile of unloved typewriters and furniture filled with concrete – the ancient, abandoned nature was a little undone for me with the presence of eBay printed despatch emails in the ‘pile of post’ installation (lovely shadow sculpture tho’, see above – EDIT much better image from Luke himself, who tells me that it’s St Gabriel, the patron saint of postmen). A little research would show the building vacated by the Royal Mail very much pre-eBay.
About 300 yards in the dark we came up against a gauze with a light installation behind it – strobes which had a dreamlike effect on dark-adjusted eyes -and that was the end of the trip (the light at the end of the tunnel, surely not that literal? I’m obviously no art critic). I reckon we’d got just about to the front of the Mailbox, not too near New St.
Personally I’d have preferred to get a trip all the way down the tunnel, possibly with a knowledgeable guide – coming out the other end having learnt a little more about the architecture and history of the building. Art that uses architecture as part of its context should be a little more grounded, for me anyway.
You can, and should, see for yourself. It’s on tomorrow, Sunday, and Friday 29 June – Sunday 1 July 2007.