You may be forgiven for mistaking the image above for photo montage. But it is not: it is the London Mustaba project, a temporary (and contemporary) work of art, and it floats on the Serpentine, in Hyde Park.
When I saw it it struck me as hideous, so I went to see the accompanying exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery. I soon became converted to “oil drum art”. I saw a stark utilitarian beauty in their structures.
I had loved many other pieces of their work; to be honest, I am not sure why. The sheer audacity perhaps of altering vast natural landscapes with a “valley curtain”; of disguising structures like the Pont Neuf in Paris with wrapping.
It is also about shock – jolting you out of the mundane. The Mustaba on the Serpentine struck me as an alien spaceship and suddenly I saw the beauty. Yes it is man-made, mechanical if you like, but in an Ian Banks “Culture” sort of way; it is huge, colorful, magnificent and daring. It ought not to be there and perhaps at its centre there lurks a “Mind”.
As so often these days I am trying to see the world through different eyes: to use a different lens to understand “reality”.
To intuitively grasp that in a sense, all reality is subjective; a figment of our own minds rather than an absolute.
Shocks like this help.
Our senses allow us to experience only a small part of the universe. We can only see lightwaves of a particular wavelength. We sense time even though it may not exist. We believe we have a past and a future even if in reality the present may be all that is granted to us.
Expressions such as “mind bending” are perhaps not so trite after all.