Kensington & Chelsea


Geoff Tibbs:

Rarity Shows


Geoff Tibbs

Where: Salvage City at Acklam Village 3 Acklam Road W10 5TY

When: Salvage City Open Friday 18 to Sunday 20 July, and Wednesday 23 to Sunday 27 July | 13:00 to 22:00

Tickets: Free | No booking required

The city offers up unexpected, receding views. Gaps in hoardings, peeling laminate, or a word scratched into paint on glass create miniature openings into closed, dusky spaces. The window of a top floor flat frames a corridor of chimney pots. The child who knows how to climb into the rafters of the railway bridge knows a gap through which you can poke your head and view between the tracks.

Walter Benjamin recalls the ‘Imperial Panorama’ of his childhood, a kind of giant stereoscope with multiple slides, peered at through viewing holes. These holes, like perforations in the Berlin cityscape, unfolded worlds both exotic and homely. Just before one slide gave way to the next, a tiny bell would ring:

“And every time it rang, the mountains with their humble foothills, the cities with their mirror-bright windows, the railroad stations with their clouds of dirty yellow smoke, the vineyards down to the smallest leaf, were suffused with the ache of departure. I formed the conviction that it was impossible to exhaust the splendours of the scene at just one sitting.”

The act of of peering through a tiny opening is always too brief. The scene draws you in, but your feet cannot follow. While the Imperial Panorama, zoetrope, raree show and other devices, were precursors to cinema, their mode of spectatorship - peering through a hole - seems tied to an era before cinema. The experience is private, curious, the opposite of mass viewing.

Using the form of a raree show - or paper peep show - a series of microcosmic views will be set into the architecture of InTRANSIT’s Salvage City, visible through small viewing holes. Whilst they take the form of curiosities, they explore the spatial possibilities of the site and unfold the compacted worlds of the urban environment.

About the Artist

Geoff Tibbs is an artist and writer living locally, whose current work draws from the 'magic assemblage', a historical cluster of entertainment forms with performance magic at its centre. His installations often have an element of trick work, and are always designed to chime with a particular space and context. He edits Different Skies, an online publication for experimental prose and creative non-fiction. Geoff is also a member of The Magic Circle.

Rarity Shows artwork Rarity Shows artwork