TOPOPHOBIA …The chronicles of a newbies first event.

As someone whos default setting on the stimulus-ometer is  Music I was keen to  attend the Topophobia Art preview on 2nd March at the Bluecoat to see if it rivalled anything I may have felt had I turned up  somewhere like  Heebies or the Zanzibar on any  afternoon or evening .Would I leave the Bluecoat eager to text a friend “youve got to get onto this” or “I was Blown away” with the same just tried chocolate for the first time enthusiam reserved for after gigs. Well I think it was a big ask but even so i was still looking forward to the event.

In my heightened state of distraction at becoming one of the new 2012 Cultural Champions I made my first schoolboy error and turned up instead at F.A.C.T. where a polite but bemused receptionist informed me “theres nothing like that here tonight love sorry.” I glanced at my invite ,realised my mistake and quickly apologised in a crimson faced stylee  bidding a hasty retreat.

Entering the foyer of the Bluecoat and witnessing the artistic collective of near clique proportions I tried my best to hide my inexperience and Billy no mates demeanour convinced that within five minutes I’d be walking round grinning awkwardly like Peter sellers in The Party muttering “Birdy Num Nums” to an unsuspecting elite. Heading towards the complimentary  wine my luck began to change. I spotted my cousin Louis  working at the bar. A face I knew and more importantly, he knew me

Armed with a glug of wine and a familiar exchange I claimed my entitlement  and entered TOPOPHOBIA ...fear of place.Of the various exhibits there,a few in particular caught my attention. The First being Mathias Einhoff Brache Berlin2006. A short video sequence of wasteland within the area of  the Old Berlin Wall .The mix of sweeping  camera angles and  frantic urban noises gave me a feeling similar to being one twirl away from needing to get off the Waltzers. The  mischevious in me was saying “Note to self.Must show daughters.”

Next  on my list of consumption was Uta Kogelsberger Urban Myths2009. A selection of photographs depicting American Cityscapes and Landscapes.For me whenever I view any photograph the size of a kitchen window it already has its foot in the door.I sauntered from one end of the exhibit to the other then back and then back again finally standing as far back as I could  viewing them altogether in their entirety,equally as pleased with each perspective and wondering if, after they had done the rounds at various other venues, I might be able to take one of them home.

The last of the plaudits go to Marja Helander. She presents a series of pictures that depict her own humurous take on being caught between two worlds, Modern and Traditional. The photography is of the finest quality and its no wonder the picture GoBetween(noaidi), inara (2002) appears to be the advert for the TOPOPHOBIA event itself. It reminds me of  a front cover picture found on one of my older twin sisters set of 20 Junior Encyclopedias.Maybe it was number 5 of the collection  F  for ….Finland, Fringe collars and Funky Boots.

I left the bluecoat that evening satisfied and reassured that I’d got it wrong all along.I was always entitled to be there.I felt like I had appreciated the  intentions of each artist and had taken all that was on offer .It didn’t have to be a gig to be my thing or my mates thing when i texted him to say “you have to get down to the Bluecoat and see this.” The truth of the matter was, I had been made a very welcome guest at this party.I wasn’t Peter Sellars after all.

  • Topophobia at the Bluecoat Sat, 03 Mar 2012 – Sun, 22 Apr 2012
  • 10.00 AM – 6.00 PM

The Party“(Peter Sellars 1968) available on or you can just borrow my copy.

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