A new video art installation has opened at Canary Wharf that is, well, it’s interesting, in a good way and rather unusual.

Called Illusionaries and created by Arash Irandoust, it’s a collection of video art-filled rooms that sort of tell a narrative that flows between the rooms, but each of the rooms is so very different from the other that they stand alone as well.

It’s a very immersive space though – entry is through a sliding black door in a silver wall, and then into a dark mirrored corridor, then you’re guided into each of the three rooms in turn. There’s a narrative, so you need to stick around, although with so much visually going on around you, it’s not obvious how long you are in there before moving on to the next stage.

Room one is a large soft carpet floored room — the textures are important in these spaces — and the walls are then filled with, well, it’s odd. If Terry Gilliam’s cartoons for Monty Python met puppets met dutch masters met computer animations met religious iconography met science fiction.

There is a story going on, which I won’t reveal, in part not to spoil it, but also because frankly, I didn’t understand at least half of it! As someone who likes surrealism though, it’s quite a compelling experience.

The next room is all mirrors, everywhere and although it takes a while, it becomes apparent that it’s a continuation of the previous room. It’s rather like walking into a huge kaleidoscope with patterns repeating endlessly in a room that seems to reflect everywhere. Do try to stand in the middle occasionally and look down. You’ll be pleased you did.

The third chapter is much harder to describe being a room where you’re encouraged to sit on fabric pebbles on a floor that crunches as you walk around, and there’s another video animation projected into a circular portal.

Video art is sometimes a bit of a chore to wade through, but this is so surreal and frankly very odd, and also in three bite-sized rooms, it somehow just works as an experience.

And it’s very much an experience, that’ll probably leave you feeling a bit stunned with a “what on earth did we just see” sort of feeling, but probably in a good way.

It’s open until 24th September 2023 — and tickets should be booked in advance from here.

However, at £38 per person for a 40 minute show, it’s quite an expensive experience.

Illusionaries is at Crossrail Place, just above the Elizabeth line station in Canary Wharf — easiest to find if you use the western end of the Elizabeth line station up by the covered footbridge.

Look for the silver wall.

Yes, you can take photos — and that bronzed mirror clad entrance corridor is very selfie-friendly.


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