2013 Art on the Underground, London, UK
Bethnal Green, Ladbroke Grove and Notting Hill Gate stations.
In this science-fiction inspired project the Central line is transformed into an interstellar superhighway. The familiar station symbols on Harry Beck’s Tube map have evolved into planets: stopping-off points on the Lunar Express, appearing like notes on a galactic musical score.
Artist Harold Offeh and young people aged 11 to 19 years, from Canalside Activity Centre, part of Epic CiC and Baraka Youth Association, worked together on a project to mark the 150th anniversary of London Underground. This historic year provided a springboard from which to imagine the next 150 years of the Tube – a vehicle to project the group’s interest in popular culture and sci-fi and their visions of the future, whilst allowing an opportunity to reflect on the present.
For Offeh, a regular tube traveller, ‘There is wonderment in disappearing into a “black hole” in the ground and being transported and arriving at a completely different location.’ This idea of the Underground as an everyday transporter, like the teleportation machine in the Star Trek films, enabled the group to travel together through space and time in both a real and imaginary sense.
The young people travelled with Offeh to discover parts of the Tube and the city that they had never explored before. They visited the V&A Museum of Childhood, the Science Museum and the London Transport Museum, encountering art on the Underground along the way, such as Mark Wallinger’s Labyrinth, a unique artwork for every Tube station. At Bethnal Green station, a behind-the-scenes tour by Underground staff gave them a glimpse of how the station operates and how devices like the PA system work.
Transporter was part of Art on the Underground’s engagement programme for Labyrinth, a major commission by artist Mark Wallinger resulting in an artwork at all 270 Tube stations to celebrate the 150th year of London Underground. In partnership with Epic CiC and Baraka Youth Association
Listen to messages from the young people broadcast at London Underground stations