A (Short) Halloween Walk

No trick-or-treating tonight.

Halloween began in central London for me today. A visit to 180 The Strand to see Everything At Once, a new temporary exhibition installed in what feels like a half-finished office block. Last year’s The Infinite Mix in the same space was, frankly, beautiful. It was described by a friend as “joyful, if meaningless” and I agreed, albeit not seeing this as a bad thing.

Everything At Once was, on the whole, just meaningless.

Susan Hiller’s Channels was the main highlight: a wall of televisions, white noise and oscilloscopes with the sound of voices playing around the room, people describing near-death experiences. There is a sense that this is a John Carpenter installation rather than a Susan Hiller one, hinting at the relationship between television and spiritual “channels”. Signal interference. I kept expecting more than voices to emerge from the screens before me. A cybernetic rumination on how we visualise and articulate the other side. A fitting experience for a Halloween evening.

Later, Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message, the Message is Death was a sobering video mix best summarised by a clip of Amandla Stenberg in which he asks “What if we loved Black people as much as we love Black culture?” A necessary addition to an otherwise dull show that nevertheless felt like a shadow of Jafa’s Serpentine Gallery show from earlier in the year – one of the best exhibitions of 2017. A haunting video for very different reasons.

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Walking home we pass the decorated windows of a local letting agent. I did not need a Halloween illustration to tell me their offices are full of ghouls.

A graveyard shortcut and then home, passing the early trick-or-treaters knocking on doors before bedtime – which will no doubt pass them by if they consume all their acquired sugars.

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Halloween feels like less of an occasion when you have a job. I hate it.

xoxo, gothic girl

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