We talk to the legendary designer after the opening of his latest project, a 360 degrees installation set in Camden's notorious Roundhouse
One of London's most revered venues, The Roundhouse, with its unique circular structure has made it a wonder for both artists and audiences to immerse themselves in the great surroundings. Renowned designer Ron Arad too saw the potential of the structure where he embarked on his latest creation entitled 'Curtain Call'. The project focuses around a chosen array of artists' stunning visuals, projected onto a 360-degree, purposely installed curtain which the audience can quite literally walk through.
It gives a completely unique sense of audience interaction, best described as a wholly immersive exhibition. On 19th August, Arad will be working with Berlin-based collective, Innervisions, featuring electronic producers Henrik Schwarz, Ame and Dixon. We talk to Ron Arad as he explains how he joins the audience at Curtain Call...
Dazed Digital: Does the design and concept of Curtain Call attempt to utilise the structure of the Roundhouse in creating a completely interactive environment?
Ron Arad: I don’t like using the word interactive because everything around us can be described as interactive, people can force something to be interactive. Yes, its true people can walk through the images and get inside the structure so in that aspect you can consider it interactive. I’ve just come from the Roundhouse and right now the way people are ‘interacting’ is by lying on the floor right in the middle. I never envisaged people doing this.
DD: What drew you to this project – was it a combination of space and concept?
Ron Arad: Within the first sixty seconds when I was asked, I knew it was something I had to do. It’s such an amazing venue that contains so much You can date the history from Shakespeare to Hendrix and so on, it truly is an amazing place. I was asked to help create something very big and very round, in a sense then I wanted to create a container within a container. The Roundhouse is a distinctive and unique space with a unique history. I was lucky enough to be in a position where I could work at such a place and make my wish list.
DD:How did you choose the involved artists? Have you worked with any before?
Ron Arad: Apart from one person David Shrigley who I had never talked to before, I had been in contact with all the frest. They were chosen because each and every show was unique, they weren’t necessarily in tune with eachother but I think that offers great diversity. For instance Ori Gersht shows the dramatic emotions surrounding the bull fighting arena whereas with David Shrigley you almost get a comic relief with his fine blending of dark comedy, It’s this kind of heavy to light feeling which really makes Curtain Call unique.
DD: I find it very interesting that you’ve given the chance for customers to decideon what they want to pay for an entrance fee. Why have you decided on this idea of there being no-fixed rate?
Ron Arad: To be honest I cannot take credit for that. It is the Roundhouse. As such a prestigious and popular venue it was a simple and wonderful solution. It’s a show for the people, I understand there will be big undertakings but it’s not about that, especially in this climate. I don’t want people spending lots of money to come and see; I want them to come and decide and feel free when visiting. Of course it is a big risk but with it being held at the Roundhouse it almost ensures itself.
DD: What do you want people to feel during their visit to Curtain Call and subsequently experience after walking away?
Ron Arad: I want people to enjoy it, to be stimulated and to see these fantastic pieces of art. Its purpose is not to educate people but to show them a good time. It’s basically a creation of delight. It is amazing to see this coming together especially by economic means. In regards to the individual shows, it is hard for me to say because they are all so independent and unique from one another. In one you get a complete sense of beauty and then in another you’ll get comic relief, so it really does vary what experience the audience will come away with, but all experiences will be brilliant in their own way.
'An Evening at the Cabinet of Dr Caligari', with Henrik Schwarz, Ame and Dixon; Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8EH; Friday 19th Aug, 2011, 8pm - 1am.