I've a useless but informative skill of seeing institutions in X-ray: The underlying emotional default setting, the body language, the way staff communicate with each other, the tones of voice, the attention to detail, the phraseology, the pictures on the walls, the sounds, the relationship between office space and public space, the signage, the caretaker, these institutional habits, ticks, become as white bones beneath translucent body displaying the fissures and clamps of the infrastructure. It's instinctive and unstoppable.
Today (wednesday) I took eight young people and four members of staff from Horizons Learning Centre to a massive exhibition on animation at The Barbican called Watch Me Move. On entering I don't tell the children where to go or how to be. It's an art gallery and they'll find their own way through the corridors the gallery spaces, the halls of light and kaleidescop rooms.
At first excitable they raced through the black canvas rooms through the moving black and white cartoons. But an hour or two later as I walked around the exhibition I saw the children (and adults) tucked away in threes and fours and twos transfixed by giant screens in halls “Now, remember, Pinocchio: be a good boy. And always let your conscience be your guide.” or they'd be sat on bean bags in the cubby hole of a quite room.. the wizard of Oz, “there's no place like home there's no place like home” ….
Like a pixelated tsunami in a manga epic whose narrative raced through corridors and gushed up and out of the barbican art gallery sweeping the chidlren through from start to end more than any roller coaster coul have . Come the end and nothing was broken. As they walked away with their staff my favoiurite film popped into mind. My favourite film is La citee Des Enfants Perdus : city of lost children