On the off chance someone near to Glasgow reads this and fancies going and seeing it: read no further than the photie below. Just go along to the Botanic Gardens tomorrow night between 1600 and 2000 (go along from 1530 to book a slot) for the last night of Heliotrope. Places are really limited, but it’s free and if you don’t get in, Byres Road is full of places of consolation, or indeed celebration as we ended up in two places, one for a chip supper and one for ice cream.
Ah, summer evenings out.
They’ve been very careful not to spill the beans about what Heliotrope actually is which Joycee knew about from one of her art pals. All I knew was it was lights, sound and I’d gone over the Erskine Bridge heading for the Winter Gardens at the Peoples Palace instead of the Botanics. Ah, the scenic route is just as good.
We signed up for the first showing and headed into the park to kill 40 minutes. The sun was coming down in spectacular style, so I was fine with the camera while the girls played on the swings.
Arriving back we were taken into a side gallery in the Kibble Palace, the domed Victorian greenhouse which is the centrepiece of the Botanics, where there was a tipi. Shoes off they said and eight of us went in and lay down with our heads at the centre pole and feet to the outside like spokes on a wheel. There were little pillows and white blankets to snuggle under and Holly wriggled inbetween me and Joycee with just a little nerves showing.
The sound of a zip being closed from outside and we were on our journey. The sun rose on the other side of the canvas and cycled through days, weeks, months and the seasons of the year as bells chimed the start and end of every change of mood and colour.
Holly lasted well, a few squeezes of hands, a few whispers and she made it to the end despite the volume which at times was getting up there and, the movement. I wasn’t sure at first, maybe ten years living on a boat makes me immune, but the floor had been moving. It was slow, but the floor revolves which places the fixed point of sunlight in an arc as you lie there. Clever.
Many will scoff at this, many will scratch their heads, some will earnestly discuss the depths of its meaning and some like me might smile at the parallels to real camping. I lay there and saw the sun and the moon of the different seasons, I felt the movement, the peace, those little touches of nerves at times and the bell sounds were the sounds of camping when you’re on the edge of sleep, slow, distorted, distant but somehow close enough to be inside your head.
Art’s what you make it, you’ve got to give it a chance. I’m usually glad when I do. We were all whispering when we came out of the tent, no one asked us too, we’d all been affected in some way whether we’d like to admit it or not.
There’s an explanation leaflet on your way out. It’s nice, folded cleverly and I didn’t read it. It was telling me what Heliotrope was all about, light in the dark of winter, comfort and Seasonally Affected Disorder, but I didn’t want my mind changed. I’d been camping in the city. Again (London report in a day or two).
A bonus is access to the Kibble Palace after dark which is fantastic. The statues come alive in sombre reflection, the plants are still and the air is silent. Even Holly’s giggles were snatched up by the darkness. We ran out into the brightness and noise of Byres Road for dinner and Christmas window shopping.
It’s only Monday too.