United Visual Artists: Momentum Review | The Curve, Barbican Centre

It’s like stepping into a Resident Evil game or a horror movie.

United Visual Artists - The Barbican Centre
United Visual Artists – The Barbican Centre

The setting and feel is reminiscent of the moment just before someone is killed by the attacker in horror movies and gory video games. A lone character steps into a pitch black room. ‘Don’t go in!’ you shout, muffled and hiding behind a pillow or sofa.

Those comforts aren’t here however. For some reason, the flickering, swaying lights ahead draw you in, almost hypnotising you – ‘come closer’ they whisper. Suddenly your feet begin to move forward, as if independent of your body while all of your instincts scream for you to turn and run through the black curtains to the safety of the real world and lights. Light – you remember what those were right?

Momentum - Barbican Centre
Momentum – Barbican Centre

Perhaps it’s your curiosity, wondering what’s here and what’s around the corner (curve). After 30 seconds or so in this spine-chilling environment, you can feel your senses heighten tenfold. Like removing your sleeping mask from a long lie in – but do you really want to see more? Did someone turn up the eerie soundtrack in the background?

The sights, sounds and smell remind me of playing laser tag as a kid, my mind retrieving feelings of running away and hiding, hoping no one will shoot me.

United Visual Artists - The Curve
United Visual Artists – The Curve

The motion of the lights increases as too does the brightness, until they swing in tandem like pendulums in which you must avoid for fear of being seen. They stop, and so do you like an animal caught in the headlights. They shine bright spotlights, creating huge circles of light on the ground beneath them. Still no sign of a spaceship – phew. Others seem to emerge from the darkness and stand beneath the spotlights, figures bathed in a warm glow – I wait for them to be beamed any minute now.

Then I remember this is an art exhibition. I see faint outlines of people sitting along the sides of The Curve. Illuminated faces come and go as they take pictures using their smartphones. Quiet whispers and giggles remind me I’m not a character awaiting my ill-script-written fate.

United Visual Artists - Momentum
United Visual Artists – Momentum

And then I walk through the black curtains at the end and bright lights pierce my eyes as I step back into the real world and wonder, ‘what was that’? All I have are these eerie photos I took to remind me. Maybe a spaceship did get me?

United Visual Artists: Momentum is a free exhibiton runs until 1st June at The Curve, The Barbican Centre.

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What was your experience of Momentum? Tell me in the comments section below!

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