Heart of Darkness, the latest art installation in the great turbine hall at Tate Modern has been heralded as being an artistic triumph and an artwork that can at last bring the experience of a darkened room within the reach of the common man.
“Marvellous, stupendous, a triumph!” exclaimed art critic Septimus Billingsworth. “You go into the huge container and it is dark. How else could we experience darkness?”
Not only is the installation the first, and so far only, way for anyone to experience a dark room, or hall, the technology behind it has baffled critics and visitors alike.
“You have to wonder how it is done, like that tap that floats on the water pouring from it's own spigot,” said Billingsworth. “Just how is darkness created? It has influenced me deeply, just this morning as I awoke in my blacked out bedroom I was once again thinking just how impossible the experience had been.”
Visitors are being asked to prepare themselves for a visceral spiral of emotions as they visit the huge container.
“I spoke to one of the curators before I went in, as part of the training, for no one can be expected to know what to feel,” said Billingsworth. “He said to imagine a darkened hall. I couldn't. Who could? What a torture this triumph is. Then he said 'Imagine a box containing the impact on the country if Tracey Emin left' and I was there – truly feeling nothing.”
Art expert and layman alike have responded warmly to finally being given the ability to stand in the dark, something that only perhaps a few billion people have ever experienced in the last 24 hours. This has led to the work gaining affectionate nicknames such as 'The Box', 'A Load of Nothing' and 'A Black Hole For Our Money'.
Tate Modern says that it is currently in negotiations with the Lottery Fund for the Arts for a series of replica installations across the country as part of a programme of events entitled “Living with Energy Saving Light-Bulbs”.
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