death-defying Valerie

I went on a manic day-trip to London yesterday; in a fit of money-saving enthusiasm, myself and my partner decided to bring our bikes down on the train and cycle about instead of getting the tube. So we got to Marylebone, bought an A-Z, and launched ourselves into a day of running a bendy-bus-and-taxi gauntlet that tired me out even more than a day spent flinging myself into a vertical windtunnel and flailing about mid-air, spitting all over myself. Oh yes; been there, done that.

Anyway, the purpose of the trip was to check out the Tate's triennial, Altermodern, in the Tate Britain, and the Roni Horn show, AKA Roni Horn, in the Tate Modern. I found the Triennial something of a mixed bag, with some brilliant moments - my personal highlight was Giantbum 2008, Nathaniel Mellors' video installation based on an absurdist film-script where a group of medieval explorers get lost inside a giant's bod. Their spiritual leader, the Father, in trying to find a way out, goes mad and turns to coprophila to survive. You heard me - the man eats his own poo. He invents a tribe of cannibalistic poo-eaters and tries to convince his followers that the tribe, which he calls 'the Ploppen' made him eat the poo. Genius. The Ploppen rule. The videos are set up in a corridor wallpapered in brown carpet that's supposed to resemble a digestive tract, and the last room contains three robot heads that sing at you.

It does not get better than this.

I'm serious.

The Roni Horn show was also interesting, if less poo-related. She has a series of photographs in one room, close-up shots of water, called Still Water (The River Thames, For Example), and each picture is annotated with about forty footnotes, mediating on water, the Thames, and the act of viewing water or viewing photographs of water, among other topics. I loved that - but I am partial to a bit of self-conscious meta-babble. It's well worth a look.

And on the train home I finished Dear Mr Capote, by Gordon Lish, and man, am I tired today.

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