on spoilers and giving away secrets…

jumping back Edinburgh for a week..with the festival in full swing and all…

SPOILER ALERT: if you are in Edinburgh for the 2013 International Arts Festival and you are thinking of going to see the work by Gregor Schneider at Summerhall…DO NOT read this post as it will spoil the work for you…the work relies on you not knowing what you are going into…YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!

So…all we are told is that this work was specially created by Gregor Schneider for the basement galleries in Summerhall, that you must go into the space alone (you queue up) and that you can spend a maximum of 5 minutes there and that there is absolutely no photography or recording allowed…

It’s my turn, i go through the door and there is a long white corridor with a door at the end and a door to my left (i have been instructed to try all the doors), i go into this nearest door and am in a smaller white, windowless room with some vents…it’s very, very bright, even feels a bit misty but i can’t tell if it’s a trick of my eyes because of all that bright whiteness, it smells a little of dry ice. I stand there for a minute blinking in the whiteness and then go back into the corridor…only 1 other door option…at the end of the corridor.


Am aware of loud voices coming from nearby, but this place is a warren and there are lots of other plays and performances going on, i wonder if this is what i am hearing…i can’t tell the language, maybe it’s English but i don’t think so…i open the door and the voices cease immediately…OK…so now i am in a very dark room, black with very low level lighting…but i am not alone. At first i think they are mannequins or statues as their bodies are classical and smooth like marble. But they are men…maybe 20 or more of them, naked, black, sitting and standing around the perimeter of the room…muscular like classical statues, glowing slightly yellow in the dim light, and looking at me the audience…i think. There is silence…


Wow…what to do…i can’t believe some people spend 5 minutes here…i spent less than a minute and that felt like a LONG time…Am not sure what to do so i find a gap among the bodies and stand like them for a few seconds, in a kind of clothed solidarity…then i see the green exit sign above another door and leave…once the door is closed, i start to laugh (quite a lot), that is my immediate reaction…at my own discomfort, at the tension of the situation… and the invigilator radios that i have left and that the next person can enter. I ask him how people react when they come out…he says a few laugh, a few are bit disturbed, some are unperturbed, all manner of reactions…

I immediately think I’d like t go through again, try to remain a little longer in the space, see what happens but then realise i don’t want to go through in this new fully informed state, it changes everything.

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