Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf at the New Art Exchange
Our guest blogger Madeleine Wallner reviewed for us her play-through at New Art Exchange Leisure Land Golf. Read on to find out what she thought about her experience.
Friday 1st April
No, this wasn’t an April Fools but a sneaky peak at Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf exhibition at New Art Exchange. Opening just in time for the Spring holidays, it’s a mini golf and art collaboration all ages can enjoy, featuring ten of the leading voices in contemporary art.
This a great affordable day out that can be enjoyed solo or as a team, and only 4 stops to The Forest on a 7-minute tram ride from the Market Square. There’s a leader scoreboard too, so let’s play!
The course can be enjoyed in different ways, with a start and end point, so it’s up to you how you want to play it. This makes it easier if you’re waiting on others during busy times. You get a golf club and ball hire with a scorecard and pencil for the £2 admission (£1.50 concessions).
Starting with Reactor’s Alligator Resort, this alligator infested hole, located at the front of the building can’t be missed on arrival. It’s bold, bright, and larger than life! The alligators seemed friendlier than I had imagined, and the colours inviting, with hazards to overcome during play. Each day these parts are moved around to mix things up a little.
Now upstairs to Hetain Patel’s squatting man, playing on the concept of industrial cultural exchange. A clear shot to the conveyor belt, then a wind of the handle cranked my ball upwards, creating excitement not dissimilar to being on a rollercoaster waiting at the top of its ascent. Turning again, my ball worked its way down through this tactile mossy green felted man, satisfyingly popping out his backside!
One Strike Only! Reads the signage for Ellie Harrison’s Life Raft. The hard floors of the gallery made for a bouncing spectacle of failure. Watching my ball ricochet off the coast, ‘denting’ the white cliffs of Dover and bouncing into oblivion meant that I didn’t manage to secure my place in the UK. The penalty is high for missing this shot, adding 20 points. Why are golf balls so bouncy?
Doug Fishbone’s piece, inspired by the cruise ship news story from 2012, reminds me of how humans have created such monstrous living, breathing floating islands of indulgence. The impact of our leisure pursuits seems constantly driven by our ability to make things on such a scale, whilst turning a blind eye to the impact on the everyday environment outside of this ‘fantasy’ world. Doug puts this well and truly in place here as part of the course, revealing accountability, and forcing us to think, albeit at our leisure.
Here the idea of leisure and pleasure is juxtaposed with cause and effect.
Go and discover for yourself and take up the challenge on this thought provoking, and problem solving mini golf course. Soak up the culture, immerse yourself in the interactive art for a while and have some fun. I’ll be back to finish my round off soon!
During the next few months there will be echoing sounds of golf balls bouncing off walls, being catapulted into the air, and cries of “Heads” from excited voices. Go and check this out, it’s a real treat.
It’s on until 19 June; so don’t worry if you don’t make it this time round.
Photos credit: Bartosz Kali