Nine Elms 'hidden space' opens for art

Published: Thursday, January 9, 2020

The former Royal Mail delivery office in Nine Elms is opening to the public to show two art installations free of charge.

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Nine Elms: Play life-size games at Actual Reality Arcade

Wandsworth Council has secured 12 days of public access to the disused depot, hidden behind the US Embassy off Nine Elms Lane.

The two installations in the Mail Centre Takeover invite audiences of all ages to take part in life-size retro games, becoming Pac-Man or building Tetris walls, or take a step back to consider the reality of global statistics through mounds of rice.

'Rare glimpse inside the warehouse'

Cllr Steffi Sutters, Wandsworth Council cabinet member for Community Services and Open Spaces said: “Nine Elms is emerging as one of London’s new and exciting cultural hubs, so we were delighted to take this opportunity to open up a ‘hidden space’ for our next arts events.

"Bring the family or pop in one evening after work to have fun and see something new, whilst also getting a rare glimpse inside the former Royal Mail warehouse before it makes way for development in this fast-growing part of our borough.”

Grains of truth

Using several tonnes of rice, Of All The People In All The World by theatre company Stan’s Cafe makes otherwise obscure global statistics tangible, offering a grain of truth about our planet: every grain of rice represents someone, somewhere.

For the 2020 edition in Nine Elms, in acknowledgement of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing and in response to the venue’s proximity to the US Embassy, Stan’s Cafe will feature statistics that shed light on the relationship between the US and the UK, using 6.7 tonnes of rice to represent the combined populations of the two countries.

Classic arcade games

The Actual Reality Arcade is a life-sized interactive zone inspired by ten classic arcade games where you play for real. Dodge barrels and lasers, build Tetris walls, shoot aliens and become Pac-Man.

Designed by Matthew Harrison, it has toured to over 60 festivals in the UK and abroad and is physical fun for all ages. Matthew is a multi-disciplinary artist creating work that combines traditional hands-on techniques with modern technology. Over the past 15 years, he has worked with people of all ages in a variety of spaces, including prisons, museums, schools and festivals.

Cultural programme

The Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area is undergoing rapid transformation with the creation of 20,000 homes and 25,000 post-construction jobs in this innovative mixed-use district on the Thames in central London. Apple is moving its London campus into Battersea Power Station in 2021, further enhancing the area's reputation for creative and digital industries.

A vibrant cultural programme of events, exhibitions and installations is being delivered by Wandsworth Council alongside new cultural spaces opening up in Nine Elms including Matt's Gallery and World Heart Beat. Recent events such as Light Up Nine Elms, Art Night and outdoor harvest feasts attracted thousands of residents and visitors from across London.

More information and opening times on the Nine Elms website

Thought-provoking: Of All The People In All The World exhibition