Otra Vida

Photography: Bernard Creely

Otra Vida

Underworld, an interactive installation in the basement of the old Rotherhithe Library, came together with the announcement of the demolition of the library. Just a week before the building became officially vacant the basement space became a large cemetery for objects. For one day only, visitors were invited to rescue one item of their choice from the burial ground. These were part of my personal collection, ranging from expensive antiques to animal remains found in the streets, rivers and markets of London, often broken pieces out of use, capturing the nostalgia of bygone eras.

Visitors were invited to come into the Underworld on their own. After walking down the stairs they entered a pitch-black corridor at the end of which they encountered a door with an invitation to enter the massive basement. As they entered, the dimmed light would slowly grow brighter, the light bulb’s sound vibrated throughout the space. Slowly the guests would discover a huge empty cold room full of objects. They were invited to stay in the space for as long as they pleased and to choose one of the objects to take with them if they wished to do so. The remaining unpicked items stayed intact inside the basement so that the demolition of the Library would act as their burial ground.