revew: vew frm th 10th floor o th Tate Switch House
vew frm th 10th floor o th Tate Switch House/
17/06/2016 – onwards//
one of London’s Tate Modern’s most notable acquisitions of 2016 is the vew from the tenth floor of the Switch House at the Tate Modern in London on th south bank. the most significant vew is of the north bank of the Thames tho you can walk all the way around the square balcony to see in any direction of the compass you wish.
i get to the top floor for something like the third or fourth time. it is Fri 17 Feb 2017. the light and sky abouve the south bank and me is cleear and bright and sharp. the sky across the river is nearly black, the towers off east towards canary wharf are obscured but because of the sky above and behind me St Pauls is blinding. i doubt this will be news to many people, i am certain this is a common phenomena,
but it fascinates me because it made London beautiful. it put London into a different frame, put London ahead of me as something to stare at and admire at leisure, not scuttle through afeared and cramped like i do /every time/ i am actually in the thing.
of course London is what u make of it – it is an incredibly easy place to either love or hate, to feel trapped by or to feel split totally open by. London makes people vulnerable or it makes them strong. to me, it has been (by me) made a symbol of a number of things that i hate. there are so many banks and /fucking/ bankers there are too many rich things and rich people who own and build and build them. i can see into some of these rich people’s flats from here and they are mostly empty and boring looking. what do rich people talk about. how often do they ring their mums. do they know more abt art than i do.
most of the times i have visited this floor it has taken my breath. gladly, though. it has become what i come here for. its like when i go to the Tate Britain to ignore everything and find that Francis Bacon triptych and stare and stare at it. i am at theh end of a three day series of workshops inside the building beneath me and the largest discovery i have made about the art is that perhaps walking through as many exhibition rooms as fast as possible whilst trying to look at everything in there is an exciting new tactic.
the most potent of works of art allow you to map your self onto them. to reaffirm in a way violent or visceral or otherwise the things that you hold in your core, whether you realise them or not. the platform i am on is a literal and metaphorical clear viewpoint. theres no glass between me n London but my eyes and head do the job of a filter. beauty is just what my brain thought i needed to see and so there it was.
i still want to be up on that top floor during some storm. i want to seee rain lashing and maybe i will imagine the Earth or Thames swallowing London.
i do not know if this platform is democratic, or if it is only loosely democratising – we are all expposed to the same view, the same winds and height, the same communal shambling around the edge – it is almost definitely the most accessible thing the Tate has to offer. we may not all understand why people care about Matisse or Cy Twombly but almost everyone who makes it here will at least understand in their own way what London is. these big high viewpoints don’t so much recontextualise as crystalise; there is no need for a frame, beyond a railing to keep us out of the air, there is not white card nor dates. just the same giant thing we have all been inside of.
i was always going to see London when i stepped out of the lift. with so little in the way, i was always going to see it in the way i had always imagined it. London is beautiful in front of me, and the surprise is satisfying. the surprise was always going to be satisfying, London was always going to be there.