Between Hallowe’en and Guy Fawkes
Halloween pumpkin in compost bowl Anish Kapor’s ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ Model of new WWF UK ‘Living Planet Centre’ Pandamonium Ditto Ivana, Sam, Patrin, Amy at 2 Bloomsbury Place Patrin, Sam’s camera
Loved the smell of bonfires as I cycled through London last night. Have been profoundly enjoying the Fall (a word I was overjoyed some time ago to find was more English than Autumn) colours as I cycled to and fro this week. One delight is Anish Kapoor’s new installation in Hyde Park, Turning the World Upside Down, which my route takes me past. Took a number of photos earlier in the week, but it was only when I rode past the work yesterday – having accidentally left a bag and camera in the office (in fact outside it, but inside the building) – that I realised that if you look inside the mirrored structure you see the world turned upside down. Colour me slow.
Highlights of the week have included visits to Earthscan, to discuss new book, a meeting of the WWF Council of Ambassadors at 30 Fenchurch Street to discuss things like their proposed new ‘Living Planet Centre’ building in Woking, and a lovely evening at 2 Bloomsbury Place, when Ivana (Gazibara) was due to turn up for a glass of wine after work – and we ended up with Amanda (Feldman), Amy (Birchall), Jacqueline (Lim), Patrin (Watanatada) and Sam (Lakha). Joyous.
One weird thing at the RSA Insurance building in Fenchurch Street – apart from having my slightly less than pinstriped look commented on in the lift to the ninth floor by two very well dressed Americans – was an installation constructed out of something like 100 old WWF panda collecting boxes, that became surplus to requirements. Thanks to televisual trickery, as you stand near the pandas, a few start to turn to look at you, and then they all do. (RSA have a partnership with WWF, see here.)
During the Council meeting, Bernard Donaghue, who chairs the Task Force organising WWF’s 50th anniversary celebrations next year, showed a slide quoting Max Nicholson – a typically striking foresightful comment from decades ago. I said I couldn’t channel Max, despite having worked with him over decades, but noted that if he had been around the table he would be totally happy with plans to celebrate, but would also be forcefully arguing for a hard-hitting assessment of progress over the past 50 years – and arguing the case not simply for a spotlighting of the really nightmarish challenges we face over the next decade, indeed over the next 50 years to 2061.
Once again, he’d be telling us to turn this unsustainable world upside down.