• Phoebe Gardner

Late at the Tate - almost 500 words about queueing

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

Late at The Tate is a monthly event hosted by The Tate on the last Friday of every month. October's event was the year anniversary, so, The Tate promised a unique experience combining art and music under the roof of one of the world’s most astonishing art galleries. Showcasing a variety of vibrant talents from London’s thriving music scene and around the world in an exciting, industrial setting. It seemed however that even labyrinthine caverns of the Tate Modern could not contain the Event’s ambitions.

The building’s impressive architecture and vast open spaces, which are central to the Event’s aesthetic, seemed compromised by the never-ending queues to pretty much everything, even the loo. What could have been seamless experience exploring The Tate and its talents was instead a constantly interrupted and confusing, slow shuffle through the building.

Walking, slowly, through into the first and most famous room in The Tate, the Turbine Hall, we were greeted by Danish art collective SUPERFLEX’s ‘One Two Three Swing!’. The artwork was comprised of several large swings “designed for three people, because moving together has greater potential than moving alone.” (sponsored by Hyundai). Which when you think about is just a subliminal advert for Hyundai. Unfortunately, there was a large queue for the swings, so decided to not experience this and move onto the particularly long queue for the bar, which to be fair I believe was much more worth the wait.

After purchasing a surprisingly cheap gin and tonic, we decided to go upstairs and explore the variety of interactive art and music. The Tate has a lot of stairs, every step was part of, again, a queue. When we eventually reached the first floor we were greeted with multiple queues, wriggling towards different art ‘stations’. Every art piece was interactive, or to be honest in my opinion, bluntly pretentious. A quick look into one room, Yoko Ono’s ‘Mend Piece’, people listening to bio-music sat on the floor drawing on brightly coloured square pieces on paper to “mend their heart”, we quickly decided to to focus our efforts on getting to the viewing point rather than realising our potential to “mend”.

After reaching the viewpoint, which was worth the many steps, decided to go and check out the music in the Tanks on the bottom floor. The music had been selected by NTS and featured performances from Mount Kimbie and other DJs, Mount Kimbie was ticketed but the other acts were free for anyone to see.

The queue for the Tanks was the longest yet, but, this time worth it. In the large room, there were projections on the wall, on the stage stood the DJ, his decks and a rapper. The music rippled off the concrete walls, and the rapper’s voice complimented the DJ’s minimal techno track. The rapper left the stage and the DJ continued, the projections beautifully framed the room. As we were leaving the DJ played his last track, ‘Idioteque’ by Radio Head, eerily following us out the room. A surprisingly nice turn around to the evening, so much so I would recommend visiting Late at The Tate, just be prepared to queue.

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