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ken's black blobs

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Wednesday 30 July 2003 7.53pm
I was wondering if anyone knew what was going on with those silly sculpures/blob things next to Ken's palace by tower bridge.

They have been there for a couple of weeks now, but have been surrounded by barriers and covered in plastic.

Yesterday, at some point they were revealed in all thier black blob glory, three of them, two spheres and an egg.

The barriers remained but the sculptures could be seen. Then today as I wandered down there saw they had been covered back up again!


does anyone know?

Thursday 31 July 2003 11.35am
From the frantic activity going on behind some of the hoardings, I think that there is scheduled to be some sort of launch of "More London"'s public spaces. The More London website "will be relaunched in September", but I found this on the Pool of London website.

More London Music Festival

The Scoop is a new open air amphitheatre performance space located outside the landmark City Hall at the More London development. During August there will be a fantastic free music event to enjoy between 12pm and 3pm everyday.

4th-10th August - More Chill Out:
Jazz vocalist Kathleen Willison, DJ Sneaker plus Latin percussionist Gabriel Nuzzoli, Simon Colam, Trio, Hannah Vasanth Trio, James Fenn Trio, Jamie Anderson Quartet, Anna Stubbs Quartet.

11th-17th August - More Showcases:
A week of the finest jazz from the Royal Academy of Music.

18th-24th August - More World Music:
Indian Mist (Sitar, Tabla, Flute), The Caribbean Boys, Folk Farm, Africa Sound (song, dance, percussion), The Gabriel Nuzzoli Quintet, London Community Gospel Choir, Paul Aguilera (classical flamenco guitar duo).

25th-31st August - More Jazz Week:
The Kelly Dickson Collective, Tom Cawley, Harry Brown, The Graeme Flowers Quartet, Acoustic Ladyland, Barney Dickinson Quintet, the Finn Peters Quartet.

Tickets: FREE

Event Location:
The Scoop
More London
London SE1 (Near Tower Bridge)

Contact Details: Simeon Aldred, Vibration Music
Tel: 07767 412 426

Thursday 28 August 2003 4.02pm
Well Jo, the blobs were unveiled once more this afternoon, though the barriers remain around them. It was precipitating so I didn't get a good look at them but my initial reaction was their build quality is very very poor. Instead of being perfect spheres and egg shapes, as I would guess the designer had specified, there are dents and large lumps of rust under the paint, which made them look tatty.
In fact the build quality seems similar to the rest of Ken's palace; where they've already had to replace an exterior fire exit door, both rotating doors at the entrance, and loads of paving bricks - with still more in need of replacement.
Saturday 30 August 2003 12.50am
Well Mel,

the barriers have now gone and the vile black blobs are totally revealed!

I agree they are poor quality and I am not sure that the egg is supposed to lean.
Maybe it`s artistic, i don`t know!!

I also agree that the buils quality is akin to that of kens palace, has anyone else noticed that every time it rains, water pours out of the light fittings round the doorways on the outside.

Surely that wasn`t intended to happen.

Sunday 31 August 2003 11.17am
I always thought that this GLA building was Blair's revenge on Ken for winning the mayoral election.

Perhaps these "big black blobs" are a present from John Prescott..

Or a free gift from Tate Modern, who don't have room for them...

Lord save us from modern architects and artists - there is so much tat around, masquerading as good design....
Saturday 13 September 2003 11.10am
I was beginning to wonder if they aren't some post-modern artist's response to Tom Wolfe's description of most public art as the "turd in the plaza" syndrome.

But then ... a bizarre naively carved and painted woman appeared atop the low rise stone structure close to Tooley Street [which houses public conveniences and the escape stairs from the car park]. And a metal tree with backlit green "foliage" has also sprung up between the riverside blocks.

A little detective work brought up the following from architect Norman Foster 's website:
"festivities were held on 10 September to mark the completion of phase 1..."

"The landscaping includes trees, water features, seating and lighting designed to create a lively and congenial social environment. Site-specific sculptures have been commissioned by leading artists including Stephan Balkenhol, Fiona Banner and David Batchelor. "

Further googling reveals that Fiona Banner is responsible for the "blobs", Balkenhol did the wooden woman, and Batchelor the green tree.

Banner's blobs seem to be a variant on her "Full stops" that were seen in her Turner Prize shortlist installation last year - you can download a screensaver version at

I also managed to dig out this press release from back in February from the Pool of London website... the amount of their funding wasn't stated - just part of four projects totalling 213,000.

"More London Public Art - As part of the PLP's Public Spaces Strategy this project will contribute significantly to the objective of improving the public realm with the installation of three pieces of quality public art as an integral part of the More London development on the south side of the Thames.
Within the three new open spaces this project aims to enhance the public realm for the enjoyment of workers, visitors and residents as well as help establish the Pool of London as a key destination for anyone interested in contemporary art and sculpture, with a view to attracting an additional visitor market. The three sculptures will be installed by the end of September 2003."

IMHO - I don't think we're going to get hordes of people coming to the area to look at these.

Could James interrogate the PLP to find out what the final contribution from public money was (and the official titles of the art works)?

PS There also seems to be an enormous piece of sculpture under wraps in Ernst and Young's future lobby

Post edited (15 Sep 03 13:00)
Saturday 13 September 2003 12.33pm
Well thanks for the info Lang.

I had a walk around last night and saw the wooden woman etc.

I must say that although I have been very very skeptical of the whole project and also quite damning of the "blobs" as a whole I now kinda like the area. I Love the water thingys outside the entrance of 6 more london place. (you`ll have to go and have a look to see what I mean) but I can also see them causing lots of trouble with tourists and children over the next few years, but hey it`s only water!
Also I think i would have covered the water stream bit over with some nice clear glass or something, but all in all I think its great. I however also think that it would still be great without the "blobs" and the wooden people, (i quite like the tree)
My problem with the "blobs" is actually just the quality. Up close you will see that massive patches of rust have been left under the black paintwork. Was this intentional?

I also agree Lang, that i would be great if James could dig us up some more information.

My only concern now is that all this beautiful area surrounding the scoop will not get used as it should, because of the lack of events in the scoop. I truly hope it gets well used and well advertised.

I for one would love to sit out there on a mild evening with a glass of wine and listen to some great music or a play.

Hope we all get to do the same soon

Post edited (13 Sep 03 13:34)
Monday 15 September 2003 11.17am
I saw these blobs for the first time yesterday:

I see that we are gaining another Marks & Spencer Simply Food store at More London

I will alert the PLP to the questions raised above and see what response I get

As for Jo's point about a lack of events/publicity for The Scoop, the web address on the hoardings - - gives a 404 not found error

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Monday 15 September 2003 11.27am
James, whats that green lolly thing?

Monday 15 September 2003 11.29am
It's the sculpture/instalation by David Batchelor that Lang Rabbie describes above.

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