|in the foyer|
Yesterday lunchtime we headed off to Blackpool to visit the brand spanking new Winter Gardens Hotel, slap bang in the centre of Blackpool.
We entered the foyer into what was once obviously a grand space but was now furnished with bland, modern furniture, the staff were efficient, but not warm and we waited for our tour, all this in the midst of a controversy surrounding long term resident of the hotel who had fallen on hard times and had been asked to leave her suite, her home for half a century - front page news! We were escorted by a member of staff to one of the newly refurbished rooms, and that's where things became a little bit strange...
As you may have guessed, we weren't in a new hotel at all but inside, and part of, a new art installation Absent which follows the story of the once grand Winter Gardens Hotel and the demise into a new budget hotel, and the story of Premiums Bonds winner turned pauper, Maggie Morgan. We wandered from room to room, sometimes looking, sometimes joining, sometimes passing through the scenes, seeing the history and future of the building and long-term resident, and looked at ourselves in the context of both.
I had been a little sceptical at first, but as soon as we entered the first room and events started to unfold I was hooked both by the story and, of course, by the amazing architecture and features of the Winter Gardens building - ending in the Empress Ballroom (I shared a couple of snaps here). The experience was beautiful and sad, my favourite mix. There is no way I could put into words how wonderful this melancholy experience is, firstly I don't have the skills and secondly I wouldn't want to spoil it in any way for people who may choose to visit for themselves, if you'd like a review produced by someone more wordy than myself there's one here. You can learn about dreamthinkspeak, the people behind the work too.
Absent is on for the next three weeks.