Living In A Bowl is the title of Cica Ghost’s latest installation, which opened on May 10th. It presents the visitor with a tropical island where almost everything is on a gigantic scale: flowers stand taller than an avatar, their delicate heads large enough to offer shade from the sun; coconuts the size of a man hang from palms and gigantic wooden-framed tanks and enormous fish bowls tower over the landscape, holding huge fish and seahorses within their watery confines.
At first, this might seem some giant’s idea of cruelty to fish; the tanks are all placed within view of the oceans from whence these curious fish may have come, almost as though to taunt them. Indeed, the huge glass bowl with its seahorses appears to have been intentionally placed on a rise in one corner of the island, as if daring its captives to perhaps try and unseat it and so gain their freedom in the open waters below.
But are these fish even aware of their circumstance? They drift in their tanks and bowls, in ones and twos, seemingly completely unperturbed by their situation, their movements languid and almost hypnotic as they float over and between the ornaments placed in their tanks – some of which would pass for a modest house for you and I.
Are they the observed, or the observers? There is a serenity about them which suggests that perhaps they know more than we might imagine – or equally, that they are content in their ignorance. And what of their fossilised brethren scattered across the sandy landscape? What do they say to us – or to the fish drifting in their tanks?
If all this sounds disturbing – it’s not. Quite the reverse in fact; the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, the gentle song of birds in their air together with the odd plaintive call of a gull, all combine with the gentle undulations of the glass-encased fish and soft swaying of the palms in the wind, to created a soothing feeling. The entire effect is, frankly, tranquil and further enhanced by the audio stream, a beautiful selection of music that had me exploring the island to a gentle, lyrical piano and then to soft a cappela Georgian chanting. Little wonder that those on the region with me all appeared to be rooted in contemplation and lost in the music and the motion of the fish.
Such is the peace offered in this strange, other-worldly environment, that I found myself drawn to the watchtower sitting on a little hill in the north-east corner of the island, and there sit down and watch the fish, the music washing over me.
Living In A Bowl will be open for the next few weeks, and is well worth a visit.
- Living in a Bowl (Rated: Moderate)