When I was in London in October I went to see a curious art installation in a warehouse in Hoxton… and I wrote this piece about it for Her Royal Majesty, about getting lost and finding art.
In the very best of circumstances, I have an atrociously bad sense of direction. Send me to a notoriously difficult-to-find temporary exhibit in a somewhat gritty neighborhood I don’t know at all, and depending on my mood I’ll either cry or give up. And yet here I am, on an unseasonably warm October day, wandering through Hoxton. I’ve come to see Locked Room Scenario, an art installation in a warehouse, sponsored by Artangel, a London-based art group with a penchant for outside-of-the-cube installations in unexpected locations. A friend of a friend works there. This show is meant to be really interesting, but no one will tell me anything specific about it – not my friend, and not the friend of my friend. Deciphering the website takes too much concentration. “Please tell me what is the point of the show,” I asked my friend in advance. “Just give me some idea of what I’m in for.” “Just go,” my friend said, so I’m going, despite the fact that I’ve been getting lost in London all week – taking the wrong trains, making the wrong turns, ending up quite far from where I meant to go. But as I’m contemplating moving to London, I’ve resolved to Keep Calm and Carry On. One day I will navigate the Big Smoke with ease. Or at least with less difficulty.
I start off with a half-pint at a pub called The Eagle. Thus fortified, I begin the task of looking for the Londonewcastle Depot, 1-3 Wenlock Rd. I wander up the street and pass building after building but see no numbers on either side until number 7. Maybe the numbers go the other way? I keep walking and soon I’m at number 19. Then I call my friend.
“You know I am easily lost. Why have you sent me here?”
She describes the entrance, and I seem to remember having passed something that matched her description. “Enjoy the show,” she says. “If you get yourself out of there without having your head collapse it will be amazing.”