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Carsten Höller: Decision

Sunday, 16 August 2015


Path A or B? 

Entering into the Hayward Gallery you're presented with your first decision

As you step into your chosen pathway you also step into complete darkness.


With your dependance on sight entirely removed, you instead rely on sound and touch.

Höller created the tunnels to prolong the transition from your world outside of the gallery to the world he has created for you inside.

A world that persistently plays with your perception and forces you to explore the way in which you make decisions. 

The entire thing made me feel like i'd fallen right into an Alice in Wonderland book.

Emerging from the tunnels you find Mushrooms... giant flying mushrooms.


For me, the idea of 'flying' mushrooms seems to relate to the well known hallucinogenic properties some mushrooms are known to possess.

Placing the 'flying' mushrooms at the very start of the exhibition could not have been more appropriate.

Moving through the exhibition, the deeper you explore, the more scenarios that play with your perception, the more you feel as though magic mushrooms are more of a reality for you then Höllers' installation alone. 

Moving into the next room you'll find pills being dropped from the ceiling one by one, collecting in a pile below.


It's here you're met with your second decision - Do you take a pill without knowing its contents or do you place it back onto the pile? 


Personally, I popped it into my pocket and completely forget about it. 



Moving through the gallery you come to a large room, empty besides two beds.

The beds roam around the lower floor of the gallery.


 You can actually book to sleep in these overnight.

The idea is that it creates an uncertainty. The sleeper cannot guarantee that they'll wake in the same place the fell asleep. 

At the other end of this room you'll find 'the forests' 


You experience the 'forests' through a dual screen 3D headset.

You begin by journeying through a forest at night, walking until you reach a tree in the middle of your path.

Here, your screen splits. One eye moves around the right of the tree, the other moves around to the left.

Höller is experimenting with the ability to see two things at once.

Safe to say this left my head feeling a little fuzzy.

Moving upstairs up you're handed a pair of complex looking googles and taken outside.

The googles quite literally turn your world upside down.



The googles hold a mirrored lens to invert your vision... leading to the most hilarious experience.

It is so hard to keep your balance when everything is upside down.

As you move back inside you discover the source of the dripping pills...


A giant dice...


and two very plump looking snakes.



Leaving the room you find yourself outside once more.

This time you'll find the flying machines.

High above Waterloo Bridge you experience the sensation of flying above the city.


Unfortunately this was the only negative from the entire experience.

The que for this installation was well over an hour and as I had a hospital appointment we were unfortunately unable to experience this part of the day.

Maybe it would have worked better if each group were given a particular time to go to this part of the exhibition. It looked amazing I'm just disappointed we didn't get to try it out. 

Moving through to the next room you walk between two rows of TV's featuring twins facing one another. As you make your way between the screens the individuals speak. Each time a contradictory statement to their opposite. 


It is here you enter into the final room.


And it is in this room that you're asked to take the gallery exit.



The exhibition was so enjoyable and definitely worth a visit.

It's at the Hayward Gallery at Londons' Southbank centre until the 6th of September.

You can book your tickets to the exhibition here and if you're interested in spending a night in the roaming beds you can book those here.

Let me know if you've been and what you thought of the experience!

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