The Horniman Museum and Gardens flung open its doors to welcome visitors for a night of creative and critical installations.
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On the evening of 21 March 2019, 10 installations and activities located throughout the galleries and grounds and created by Goldsmiths’ staff and students immersed over 1000 ticket holders in a world of interaction, casting the museum in a new light.
From performatively evolving webs of elastic and audio-visual performances to digital visualisations of plastic-polluted oceans, there was an array of activities and creative interventions responding to the museum, its collections and spaces for visitors to experience. Not to mention street food, bars and DJ sets.
“Great mix of interactive things to do and explore as well as static displays to look at.”
In the Natural History Gallery, visitors were transported into a psychedelic world full of alien forms by Mutator VR, an immersive virtual reality experience developed by pioneering Goldsmiths computer artist Prof William Latham. Latham was inspired by the gallery’s themes of evolution and the VR experience was projected across the entire vaulted Victorian ceiling.
The Horniman Palm Reader, created by Jesse Wolpert, Associate Lecturer in Dr James Bulley, was also located in the World Gallery. It saw participants place their hand into a mysterious digital devise that displayed different objects from the collection on their palms. They could then seek out these artefacts in the museum to discover more.
In the gardens, visitors had the chance to experience the Longplayer Listening Post, a 1000 year-long musical composition curated by Computing. Heading back inside, they found and read letters to strangers scattered throughout the Horniman and were encouraged make a new friend in an object matching game designed to connect people.
The Aquarium played host to Overcurrents, an interactive digital installation designed by students in the Department of Computing to interrogate the global impact of plastic waste on ocean ecosystems and educate the public on potential solutions.
“Loved the variety of installations and experiences, and how they connected with the exhibits and space.”
In the conservatory, visitors navigated a web of elastic, created by students from Harris Girls’ Academy East Dulwich and directed by Goldsmiths artist and teacher, Jose Campos, in a recreation of Duchamp’s famous work ‘Mile of String’.
In Gallery Square, visitors were treated to a surreal performance by Plastique Fantastique and Benedict Drew, telling the story of the meme-animals and avatars of Zero City through music, masked performance and projections.
The musical instrument collection of the Horniman was the creative impetus for the sound and visual installation: The Long Now - During: Adaptive Rhythm, by artist Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom and curated by Goldsmiths MFA Curating alumni Phil Serfaty.
Last but by no means least, a self-guided experimental tour of the Natural History Gallery highlighted the animals and birds of Borneo to bring attention to the problematic colonial legacies of the collection.
“Wonderful - looking forward to attending more.”
We look forward to hosting more exciting events with the Horniman Museum and Gardens in the coming months. These include Sounds from the Gardens in November 2019; a weekend of sound walks, interactive installations, workshops and performances exploring our impact on the environment.
Horniman X Goldsmiths Late will return in 2021.