Merge Festival is back again this year! An annual art festival curated by Illuminate Productions, working in collaboration with Better Bankside, celebrating and promoting our local London artists in various art performances and immersive installations! And this year… I got to work with dodgems!! Whaaaaa…? ooooh…. *taps fingertips together*
Drive Dead Slow, Dodgems of your mind – one of the featured installations at the event!
So why dodgems you ask?
Well… What is better than stepping inside a converted 1960s vintage Supercar to drive through an art installation?! Each bumper car is fitted with senors, unique sound systems, and flashy lights. They each have different personalities that is matched to your mood (on the day) according to the Plutchik Wheel of Emotions, (and before you enter the arena, you must fill in a Personality Questionnaire just to confirm that you have a personality) and off you go on a sensational psychological journey!
Once you enter the installation, you are free to drive around and bump into obstacles and then be shouted at by your car *yelp! my car got upset and decided to take a rest in a corner* but this is only the beginning of madness, above you are projections of different people voicing things that are usually said in our own heads… so it might be relate-able… ‘What on earth are you wearing today?!‘ 😥
My first day started quite chaotically, all the staffs were running around putting together the final touches of the playground, I didn’t quite get the introduction as I was immediately put into action! So as I was busily taping the black textile across the kitchen cabinets, someone had asked me where _____ is, I gave them the lost lamb look O____O *I-have-no-idea-who-you-are-talking-about-OR-who-you-are-SORRY!*
But at last, everything (well most things I believe) were completed on time and the dodgems were in working order. The rest of the volunteers came and were already gathered behind the bar, attentively waiting for instructions. Now we are ready for the launch partayyyy!!
Lights were off, music all loud, smoke is spreading, dodgems are roaring!!
It was surprisingly easy working inside ‘Plutchik Cafe’ and serving Bompas & Parr‘s colour changing Gin and Tonics, or Colas. They were totally AWESOME, everyone was fascinated by it and held it up against the lights! They glow! *erm.. toxic!?* As the drinks were free on launch night, all we had to do was cut or rip open those plastic pouches of Gin and pour Tonic in or ‘Cola’ with Soda water <<< These tasted like fizzy gummy cola sweets! Nomm (My night ended with chipped nails as the plastic was stubbornly tough to rip! Grr… -____-” )
So two weeks went by where I was put on door duty, controlling the eager beavers and to hype them up even more before upon entering the building. Tehee. It actually wasn’t so bad working downstairs, sometimes on my own, in a dingy drafty ‘lobby’ area, with temperamental weather outside confusing me whether to keep the door open or closed, and continuously greeting our punters that I end up being dehydrated! But it’s all good, I really enjoyed chatting to the excited punters who did not what to expect and also attempt to answer their curiosity… or did I? *Angelic gaze*
Of course, not everything was smooth from the start, we didn’t expect the unexpected, blah blah blah, we had some problems with our internal ticketing problems, but it was fixed after a few trial and errors =/ The queue grew uncontrollably and some of our own systems didn’t quite go to plan, but what else can go wrong?
My favourite day was definitely Fridays though, because that means it’s the weekend!!! And the weekend means it’s going to be busy busy busy!! Woop! Which also means the live band is rolling on till 10pm! Let’s welcome… Hot Teeth!
‘Drive Dead Slow, Dodgems of your mind’ is delivered by a collective of artists, and directed by Marcus Lyall, the British artist behind award-winning stage visuals for the Chemical Brothers and Metallica. Other artists involved in delivery include former KLF member and cultural provocateur Jimmy Cauty, Sam Bompas, co-founder of Bompas & Parr – industry leaders in flavour-based experience design, Tony Pletts, director of a London based company specialising in art direction and construction for the film industry, Ed Baxter who manages the world’s first radio art station ResonanceFM, Dave Cranmer, creator of electro-mechanical machines and sculptures, Luke Morgan, co-founder of Supergrouplondon, and Bankside artist and designer Tim Sheward.
If you have not visited yet, I hope that you are now buzzing for it!! Visit it now before it ends on the 4th June! Free 12-4pm, £5 4-7pm! (I suggest you book online before going to avoid disappointment! As we figured out that not accepting payment on the door was a more sensible plan!) Or if you wish to go before 4pm, I suggest you actually arrive there before 3.30pm so you won’t get turned away!
Location: London Fire Brigade, Southwark Bridge Road (Entrance on Sawyer Street), SE1 0EG
Dates: Wed-Sun, 12th May-4th June