Dennis Severs’ magical house is one of the Londonphile’s top London picks and one of London’s most evocative little gems. American artist Dennis Severs created a mini time capsule in this listed Georgian terrace house, located near Spitalfields Market.
The ten rooms range in time periods from 1724 to 1914 and follow the varying fortunes of a family of Huguenot weavers who mysteriously appear to have always just left the room when you enter. The experience is a sensory overload, and your sense of smell will be particularly active throughout your visit as you experience the traditional smells associated with the various time periods. As Severs himself noted, “your senses are your guide” in this house.
In keeping with the eras portrayed, there is no electricity in the house and you are asked to remain silent throughout your visit, so as to help fully soak up the atmospherics (and to appreciate the creaking of authentic floorboards). Amazingly, Severs himself actually lived in the house from 1979-1999 – on his death it was opened to the public. This is truly something you have to experience for yourself, so I will keep the description to a minimum!
Check the house’s website below for details of the regular opening hours as well as the Silent Night evening visits. This year’s Christmas installation of period Christmas decorations is currently up (until 6th January 2012) and is well worth a visit even if you have already seen the house. Exclusive Silent Nights are also run in which participants can have a drink by the fire and meet the curatorial team – this is on the Londonphile’s wish list!
‘Humanizing the world, one googly eye at a time’.
Possibly the sweetest take on street art – eyebombing involves sticking those googly eye sticker things on to any inanimate object out and about in the street. This creates the cute and often funny effect of making a random object of street furniture appear like a character or even a person. A new website devoted to this phenomenon has attracted submissions from around the globe, but it’s good to see London featuring in a few. This photo above (taken by Finbar Hawkins – thank you!) gives us a fresh take on a classic London icon.
One interesting thing about living in a city like London is the opportunity to get involved in quirky little one-off events. This is exactly what I got to do last weekend when I joined in the Institute of Contemporary Art’s (ICA) re-enactment of the Odessa Steps scene from Eisenstein’s 1925 silent film Battleship Potemkin. That’s me in the top right of the picture above, in the dusty pink jacket, and isn’t it great that in my first appearance in my own blog I am playing dead!
This flash-mob style event was held as part of ICA’s fundraising day held on 26 November. Luminaries such as Tracey Emin (yes, she did chase me down the steps dressed as a cossack) and Andrew Logan joined in with us mere mortals to raise money and create a new version of the old classic scene. You can watch our creation at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLFr6YbcQfA&feature=channel_video_title
ICA are planning to hold further re-enactments in 2012, so keep an eye on their website for more details. This is also the kind of event that I plan to promote beforehand now that the Londonphile is up and running, so keep an eye out here too.