Acidnale: The Biennale On Acid

Yeah, Acidnale will do for a title. I think LSDenale works better, because it sound like Biennale more, but I don’t know anyone that calls acid, 'LSD'.

Mostly I just hear acid, or Lucy. Lucy’s nice, because she sounds like someone fun who you really want to come to the party.

‘You bringing Lucy tonight?’ ‘Don’t worry, she’s coming.’

‘Just picked Lucy up off the floor of the club, taking her home. Think she might need to stay with you for a few days.’

That’s a text that a friend of mine sent when he’d found a saddy of tabs on the floor at a club. He was palming her off. She’s a cool lady but sometimes she’s a bit much. Overbearing and in-your-face. You can’t take her everywhere, and some people can’t stand her.

However, if you are considering going to the 18th Biennale of Sydney out on Cockatoo Island, Lucy is an excellent companion to bring along.

She’s a treat on the ferry ride. Pointing out all the pretty watercoloury lines of sandstone cliffs and giant trees clinging defiantly to them, and how the water is like someone shaking a giant sheet of sequined fabric in front of a fan. You never noticed that before.

I could write pages and pages about Acidnale but Cockatoo Island is a big place; I’d be writing till at least 2 in the morning. There were a lot of details. I’ll put it in bullet points, so this story can snap around like my thoughts did that day.

- Giant chains of polystyrene draped over machinery so hulking and huge you can’t even fathom what it would make. Probably drills to build underground mole cities or something.

- What looked like a magical Christmas wonderland in the shape of Falcor from The Neverending Story turned out to actually be alien spiky snow-flowers that lit up when you touched them, and would unfurl frond by frond. They had giant vials of yellow inside them, like sunshine trapped in oil, and you felt like you were in a cave of buzzing stalactites - or sleeping cocoons from another world.

- Walking along in a giant tin shed that could be a hangar for probably the biggest plane ever. Speakers are rigged up to sound like swarming bees. Sometimes the sound would dip right down inside your ear, just like a bug was buzzing there, and you could feel its gross little feet, but the chills down your spine are offset by the Wickerman quotes your friends are making. ‘Not the bees! Killing me won’t bring back your goddamn honey!’ Oh, Nicolas Cage. He’s a good spirit animal to have.  You can’t be scared when he’s around, said Science.

- Then one exhibition was just a giant sheet of silver that is kind of like a combination of a two-way mirror, and wrapping paper that has been saved from an economical giant who planned to reuse it because times are tough.

- We take a tunnel underneath a giant chunk of land, and it’s slightly terrifying to think about all that earth pressing above you, especially when your friend runs his hand along the wall and his palm is shiny sand, and there are little blacklit miners made of machines. But then there’s friendly anemones of light twittering away at you magically and it’s the best.

- Walking through a cloud of condensation, not being able to see a thing in front of us but confused people stumbling around like after the haze of a shell being dropped. Except instead of being terrifying and awful it was super hilarious. And afterwards thousands of glittery spheres stuck to my friends’ curly hair, and shone in all the rosy sunset light like crystal beads.

- A giant maze of paper that you could see clear through, the layers painted blue, sometimes leading to the other side, other times to demented ink drawings of an octopus eating a guy with wings.

OK, enough dot points. There was a lot more but I don’t really understand, especially a factory that appeared to be for animal immigrants from the 1940s.

Of course there were some things that were a bit much, like a sculpture of a pregnant woman spewing spiderman jizz out her breasts, humans being compared to ants, fugly stuff made out of yarn, a nipple leaking sand, a theatre of furniture that even I could see was pretentious as balls. But Lucy will probably be good to you if you’re in a good space. Get yourself lost amongst factories, convict houses and your eyes doing cool shit.


Warhol's Children's 'Chemically Assisted' series:

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7.

Check out the original series here.

Image Credit.