Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Lovecraftian Traveller I: Non-non-Euclidean Geometry at the South Bank

No doubt the observant amongst Ghooric Zone regulars (if such a rare beast truly exists) will have noticed the lack of updates for some time. In yet another attempt to stave off apathy and encroaching cosmic ennui, we at Ghooric Zone central have decided to introduce a new ‘series’ of articles (amongst other things) detailing some of the strange journey’s we have undertaken of late. Some of these are reports on genuine sorties undertaken by us (often at great personal peril) into abysmal zones of abject horrors (Suffolk comes to mind), whilst others may - or may not be - the products of our fevered imagination...

First up a trip to the Psycho Building exhibition at the Hayward Gallery at London’s South Bank Centre, ostensibly for a viewing Mike Nelson’s ‘To The Memory of H.P. Lovecraft’. I wasn’t able to take any photos at the time, so a stock image from the internet will have to suffice:

By the artist's own admission ‘To The Memory of H.P. Lovecraft’ owes more to Borges’ take on Lovecraft in his short story ‘There Are More Things’ than the writings of the Old Gent himself. Indeed, given the character of the exhibition, it seems something of a missed opportunity that the artist didn’t opt to construct a piece more in tune with the theme of architectural strangeness which Lovecraft so often uses to signify alien otherness. Other than an oddly shaped concrete bench (which again Nelson takes from Borges) the exhibit makes no sustained attempt to evoke non-Euclidean geometric principles or strange angles. Instead we are presented with something akin to the Whateley Farm following the escape of the Dunwich Horror. Even though Nelson’s piece is suitably suggestive in attempting to engage the viewer’s imagination (i.e. inferring the shape and substance of the monster by its aftermath) the piece is less interesting as a result of emphasising the theme of the unnameably monstrous (and let’s not forget that Lovecraft invariably describes his indescribable monsters in exacting detail) instead of the cosmicism that is Lovecraft’s unique trademark .

Psycho Buildings is on until the 25th August 2008.

1 comment:

  1. Appropos of a bare mention, to me, Lovecraft's non-eulidean geometry was one of his more annoying features. It's become a humorous descriptor I ocasionally use, but in reality it was problematic. My engineering maths is a very, very, very long time ago, but I'm reasonably sure (I could look it up but prefer to trust my ignorance, which is what ignorance is for :-)) that it's actually a fairly meaningless phrase for what he intended. Non-euclidean I think would have produced curved or parabolic shapes. Not mainstream but hardly weird.