The last few days I spent in London were spent walking and seeing more of the city. One night I met a couple of friends, Luke and Lindsay in Dalson / East London area. This area is becoming popular with artists and young people, it has a lot of nice pubs and eateries. There also seem to loads of artists studios. It's where the hipsters go, in a lot of ways you could probably compare it to Wicker Park or thereabouts in Chicago.
Note: I recently learned that they way you tell the cutting edge of hipsterdom when you ask yourself what the hell that person is wearing - if it's clothing style you recognise then they arent hip enough. If you say what the *expletive* are you wearing you know you've landed in hipster central. I didn't see too much wacky wear, more like mid-range, so the real fresh hipsters were yet to be found, at least I didnt come across them.
Anyways I met Luke and Lindsay for a beer and bit of pizza. I had sort of met Luke virtually through another friend earlier this year. For Popup Addis we showed one of his photographs, he had traveled a bit in Ethiopia and made some really great work. Check out Luke's stuff here. Lindsay came along as well, she also visited Ethiopia with Luke. She is more into nature drawing and preservation. She made some really nice drawings of Ethiopian plant species - check it here. Two cool dudes and glad we got to hang out. It's so funny when you know someone only online or through email then you finally get to meet them in person, a nice feeling.
The following day I decided to head to a few museums I hadn't gotten to check out yet, I also took a nice walk in Hyde Park, in the center of the city. Its quite a massive park, with a great lake in the middle. There are also two exhibition spaces in the park, called Serpentine, which also is the name of the lake. Unfortunately they were closed for installation. I photographed the outside at least. I heard great things about the space, that they always put on really good shows. Too bad, next time I guess.
Just down the street through the park is the Victoria and Albert Museum and also the Natural History Museum. The VA has a really vast collection of works, ranging from Renaissance sculpture, painting, cookware and utensils, stained glass, as well as loads of other stuff. The display practices took me a second to get used to, they sort of jam everything together in this strange way. You get used to it after awhile though I guess.
The best shows for me are the ones where I'm sort of left with a kind of gut feeling or change that happens after I see it. If I become moved emotionally by what it is in front of me that sort of stays with me the longest. Its sort of a combination of how all the works fit together and flow through the space.
After the VA I went down to the British museum. Luke's friend happened to be working there - so he hooked up the ticket. There was a show about Japanese pornography (not pictured here), as well as a display about El Dorado gold. Both were decent. The British museum turns me off in a way. When you begin to think about where these objects were collected from and by what means they were collected, you start to wonder how legitimately they were come across or properly obtained. The provenance of some objects is in question for sure, and that kind of bothers me as I think about the whole picture.
At any rate - apart from its methodology of collection of artefacts and objects, the British Museum is quite stunning as an architectural work.
The remainder of the day was spent packing they headed out for a nice foreign beer - its origin escapes me now, I'm usually pretty good about knowing what I drink - but it was damn good anyway. I really enjoyed London, apart from spending too much money I had a great time. The visit to the countryside was really crucial as well. It made for a great well rounded trip.