I wanna go somewhere! holiday! traveling! But no money no time no one to go with. If you feel like it, you should definitely go to this exhibition. Around the world in eighty days. same name popular novel was written by Jules Verne at 1872. Inspired by the novel, 19 London based, although originally from out side of England, artists consist this group exhibition.

The story starts from an rather wired English gentleman Phileas Fogg takes a bet if he can circle the globe in actually 80 days. If not he will lose all of his property. So In such hectic journey he will see different culture of each place, technology changes, the height of colonial era, race, politics and international travel. Each artist got inspiration from these various aspects which this novel has.

Interesting enough, this exhibition’s held at two venues, located south and west center, so to cover all the works the audience will travel inside London with any of London transportation. During the travel, you may meet someone, discover something, or end up with changing your life! who knows!

Well let’s start our journey here from South London Gallery at camber well.
As soon as you step into the room, a headless man riding a unicycle, wearing extraordinary colorful cloths captures your eyes. That’s Yinka Shonibare’s “Man on Unicycle”.

It was said that the fabric he wears are African pattern, at the same time which origin’s are from Holland. So it is also explained as legacy of Europe’s domination of the continent throughout 19th century coronation.

Very small airplane and tiny bunch of tourists travel between inside someone’s house which looks gigantic compared with their size. That’s the video work by Hiraki Sawa. Strange, pretty funny, they may make you feel like traveling fantasy world.

As the title “In Hako” means, a projector in a small white box shows four and half minutes images. You will travel from a doll house by seaside which has swinging chandelier, to where something twinkle falls from the sky. Even inside such a small box, imagination can take you to as far as you want.

Our trip goes to Institute of contemporary Arts which is the other gallery.
From SLG to ICA you can just jump into the bus number 12. It will only take you half an hour. There’s a art school at camber well and young artists are walking down busily for their final show. We go passing Elephant& Castle which is Afro calibian African district. That was the day Ghana won at the world cup game, the boys and girls in yellow and green uniform parade themselves. Now we are on Westminster bridge just under Big Ben and London EYE. Lords of tourists are taking pictures around here all the time.

If you really look at things, you will find all the different ethnic or culture all over London. They must be pretty different from what tourists see in front of the landmarks of London.

You will see a map of the world on the floor of ICA lower gallery. They are actually consisted from thousands of glass marbles. If someone kicks any of them the map will easily change the shape.

“You can walk into the map if you want. but you have to take care not to fall over.”
“So try not to move anything?”
“Well It’s OK but not too much.”

This fragile, unbalanced work’s supposed to suggest the contingency that defines the geopolitical landscape, it is explained. Although, walking the floor with thousands of glass marbles, try not to step on any of them, no to fall over not to harm anything. That might be resemble to the feeling you may have when you travel by yourself. A bit insecure, strained that feeling at completely unfamiliar place all alone but try look at everything around you. That was “Map” by Mona Hatoma.

A half day trip though you could feel something positive, maybe something lovely waiting for you kind of travelers romance. It’s such a practical 80 days world tour I recommend.

Date: untill 16th July, 2006
Place: ICA, South London Gallery

Text and Photos: Sayaka Hirakawa

[Help wanted] Inviting volunteer staff / pro bono for contribution and translation. Please e-mail to us.