At the end of February 2018, Bryn Oh opened Tilt-aWhirl, the third in a series of single-scene poems she has been putting together whilst also working on a new immersive installation to succeed Hand (reviewed here). It joins Lady Carmagnolle and 26 Tines (both of which I wrote about here) on a darkened Immersiva. However, in difference to the first two pieces, Tilt-a-Whirl has something of a personal foundation for Bryn.
“It is pretty much a nostalgic memory of being young at a fairground or carnival,” Bryn says of the piece – albeit it a carnival with fantasy overtones. Two rides form the piece, the titular tilt-a-whirl ride, with flashing lights and regular-looking cars, and a carousel with a quite unusual set of animals on which to ride: a dragon, ball-balancing unicorn, a butterfly, and a mechanical octopus, seahorse and horseshoe crab …
These are not a random selection of creatures for the ride, however. In her notes accompanying the piece, Bryn notes how some of the creatures have a personal link to her – notably the dragon and the octopus – a creature she’s clearly fascinated by, and with good reason.
There seems to be a further personal element contained within this piece, a reflection of another childhood memory revealed by the accompanying 3-stanza poem, which opens:
I dreamt of my youth
when I met a girl
and kissed her by the
Glance under the front of the Tilt-a-Whirl, and this memory is revealed through two figures – Flutter and Juniper – cautiously leaning towards one another, one shrouded by a blanket, hands reaching for one another, heads tilting. It’s a poignant moment caught in time; an echo of a childhood event made manifest once more through art and expression. Click on them, and you can view the video accompanying the scene, and which I’ve taken the liberty of embedding below (the video, and those for Lady Carmagnolle and 26 Tines can also be video by clicking the images on the floor of the arrival point).
Like Lady Carmagnolle and 26 Tines, Tilt-a-Whirl is haunting in theme, but it is also perhaps warmer in tone and feel. All three make for a striking visit.
- Immersiva (Immersiva, rated: Moderate)