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London, Museum Sunday

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To round off our stay in London, there were some exhibitions to be seen on Sunday. First we went to Tate Modern which I keep liking a lot. Unfortunately they were busy doing some construction work in the Turbine Hall, so we couldn’t enter that. But it was the last day of their Dalí exhibition which we had a look at. As Dalí is usually known for his weirdo and surrealist ideas, seeing that many pictures by him really highlighted that the guy was quite good at drawing and painting as well. And that he loved adding miniscule details to his paintings and playing with things as perspective and shadows.

The exhibition put an emphasis on Dalí’s relation to film. And while this was a bit annoying because you couldn’t walk two metres to find yet another reference to Dalí and Buñuel’s Un chien andalou [watch] it also displayed many other film connections, the films of which you could actually watch in the gallery if you had enough time. We limited ourselves to the shorter snippets such as the dream sequence from Hitchcock’s Spellbound or the just recently finished Destino which Dalí worked on for Disney back in the 1940s but which was only done for real recently.

I’m still not a fan of the lobster on the telephone, though. And I think the lobster was on the phone the wrong way round (not that it matters, but I think it was different from the way you see it in the postcards ;). At the very end of the exhibition they had a photo series of an ‘interview’ done by a photographer which focused on the moustache and was quite funny.

With time already running before we had to head back to the airport, we rushed to the Design Museum afterwards. They had an exhibition on the architecture of Zaha Hadid running. Her buildings look strangely angular. That’s interesting but I keep wondering whether that could negatively influence a building’s ‘usability’ because it’s harder to navigate that way. Seeing many of the stylishly presented models and plans, I kept thinking that she’d surely be the favourite architect of James Bond super-villains as many of the buildings have exactly that futuristic charme.

As things go with modern architects, there was quite a number of concepts in the exhibition which wasn’t built and only recently Hadid seems to have gotten a serious number of big contracts. With all the models being exhibited there, each of them carrying a Zaha Hadid Architects (Flash + Arial ridden web site!) label, it looked a bit like an ad for her bureau.

The other exhibition shown was called Friendly Fire and full of works by Jonathan Barnbrook. Many great ideas to be seen there in terms of graphics and typefaces, mostly with a bit of a ‘subversive’ background. However seriously you can take that. The typefaces were mainly of the ‘novelty’ type, so probably not particularly useful outside a very small range of jobs. The graphic works, though quite close to advertising (and I probably have to envy the designer types for how seriously they can take all this), were rather cool. I particularly liked a number of works where repeated and symmetric patterns of symbols or company logos were used to give larger structures or wallpaper like patterns.

Hidden way back in a corner, was a rather amusing (and even free for private use) font called Olympukes which, while note brilliant in every single letter, had quite a few good ones in it.

Olympukes - Drowning in Advertising

And that was that. Time had run out. We had to get back to grab our luggage and catch the airport bus. This time our driver was close to being crazy and I had the impression that he was going too fast – signs were saying 50 miles per hour, but the speed felt like well over 100 km per hour. At one stage a police car with flashing lights and sirens approached us from the back – which made the drive, who was in the fast lane pull over to the right and slow down. Now I had totally expected the police to stop him for reckless driving and they did somehow make a point of visually telling him off while passing, but apparently they actually were after someone else and sped away soon. Crazy! Next time no easyBus for me…

Getting on the plane was another big bit of hassle. Of course we had carefully put all the dangerous cosmetics into the checked in luggage, just my brother had a few little things on him because he didn’t check any luggage in. Great care had been taken to ensure that everything is less than 100ml and in a transparent bag. Which worked pretty well for him on the way to Stansted. But in Stansted they sent him to get one of their (freely provided) bags with a built in way to seal them. Just as it isn’t clear to anybody how big bottles of shampoo are dangerous, it remained completely unclear how using a particular type of plastic bags is going to make things any safer. But who is to argue with (presumably not extravagantly bright, underpaid and over-regulated) security staff and make loads of new enemies in the queue?

And then the friggin morons even x-rayed our shoes. Which was a first for me. And I thought it was completely ridiculous (now I’m wondering whether I could cut out a message from tin foil and put it inside the shoes… BOMB! or something). If they insist in treating people that way they should also provide adequate seating opportunities and tools so people who need them to put their shoes back on can do so without being rushed.

September 10, 2007, 0:46

Tagged as arial, country:uk, london, salvador dalí, tate modern, travel, UK.

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