A walk through Hyde Park will show you a city already suffocating under the weight of the Olympics. Marquees, souvenir stands, tiers of steel seating, tents and fast food vendors, pairs of police every way you turn. The thwack of helicoptors overhead – could actually see them today as it wasn’t fucking raining…
In the middle of all this insanity, though, a treasure.
For the last dozen years, the Serpentine Gallery has had a pavilion built before it – flawlessly designed and showcased to be art as well as function. Isaac and I have gone to see them – and this year, the designers, Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, have surpassed themselves.
A flat pond, still, with a pair of serene looking ducks. Under it, a cork-built maze of tiers and seating, descending in tesselated platforms to a flat base where summer staff were letting the kids plot and draw and make mazes of their own.
One of them told me that this year’s pavilion started life as an archaological dig – they’d tracked all of the soil marks from the previous dozen pavilions, and built/dug this one to show where all of theose marks had been.
It was a very, very cool thing.
And it just goes to show that, although the rising tide of consumer tat threatens to drown us all (if the rain doesn’t), that there are still magical moments to be found :)