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Against the very forewarnings I have aforementioned, the first post is not of the adventures of an underaged me, but one from last week – alas, how could I? This is how blogs usually work, I believe, though I won’t agonize over the details. At the time of writing it is Wednesday the 28th, though in human terms it is still Tuesday night, as I have yet to go to bed. At the time of finishing this article it’s Sunday the 2nd, and I’m almost behind my self-set deadline. My adventures to the London beyond occurred fastidiously on Thursday September 22nd, 2016, approximately between 13:30 and 19:00. The day was of the autumnal equinox.

My location: Peckham.

Why? In search for a maze of mirrors.

A few days before my exhibition into thence territory unknown was inspired by a Londonist post about a maze that would only exist until the 25th. For readers, this means if you haven’t seen it, I will be your guide.

I arrived in Peckham Rye. I stepped off the tube, camera at the ready, and set to take pictures of a maze of fractured reflections. Peckham itself is an odd dichotomy between two different demographics; to get to the maze I crossed two packed hairdressers, a store dedicated to prams of all varieties, and then, art studios and hipster café’s. One took the streets, the other was found through a singular, eccentric alleyway.

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Carrying on through with only an occasional sign to lead me the way to a very vague address, I found myself in an entire other world. Professional graffiti canvasing repurposed brick warehouses, dozens of signs advertising yoga, art studios of an undetermined nature, kiln workshops, a bike repair shop, the strange Rye Café buried underground and acting as a threefold hangout for your coffee, alcohol, and vinyl needs. Everyone walking about is young, my age, darting up into and out of these warehouses that shelter this tiny art community.

This is Copeland Park and the Bussey Building.

At the end of this winding road, I find the maze. It’s roped off with a red carpet and official security wearing black tie attire. There is no queue, and I get waved in with a smile and given a card about the event. To my right is a pop-up gallery of flowers and pyramid self-sustaining societies, to my right, a giant structure encasing the maze.

Entrance was timed. The second go-around I asked the security how he determined when the next group went in – was it timed? Or was he so familiar with the program by now it was by sound, if not instinct. The answer, the latter. Inside you sit. A massive projection documenting the project is played on the far wall. We the viewers were only exposed to the repetitive creepy chanting, but here’s (more or less) the opening:

And then, the mirror maze. My first go of it was tainted by the Yayoi Kusama exhibit, which was timed to sixty second intervals before you were kicked out. I’m grateful I went in again, knowing that you can stay in there for as long as you’d like, be as leisurely as you like, actually experience a room of mirrors and see yourself fractured into hundreds of partial reflections. It changes the experience, let’s it sink it, let’s me take better pictures.

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The mirror room gave the effect of a collage of moving instances. People moved in and out of view, the colour of shirts and coats and bags copied over and over again. I can romanticize the room all I want, but if you hit the wrong angle, if the crowd moved a certain way – it suddenly seemed mediocre. Light could dazzle or it could fall flat.

Imagine it like this:

You wander, up and down stairs, like each one is somehow different than the others. You wander, you try to get lost in a small space, try to be tricked by different versions of you, and find yourself in a projection room with red pastels bleeding into each other on all sides. You wander more, and you find the exit. There, you step into a red dream.

The fog machine doesn’t quite do the trick to obscure anything, but it does blur darker colours together, diffuses the red neon light. There’s nothing to this hallway, no mirrors, no installations, it’s just red. You don’t know why, but it feels like a secret. In the mirror maze, you could hear a quiet murmur of voices, but in this room, people are strangely silent. Like it is something sacred, or perhaps because the magic of the room seems to break when normality enters it.

You don’t even realise how stifling it is in the room until you step outside.

As you loiter outside the entrance to the mirror maze, not quite ready to go home but not about to go through it again, you ponder the little flowers. It’s set up like a gallery, but the objects are wholly worthless in the grand scheme. Just some baby’s breath in a cheap glass vases. Some fogged ecosystems enclosed in a pyramid. Yet you linger to stare at them, take pictures of them, for some reason find them more beautiful than the maze.

How am I, as a guide?

The maze of mirrors, The Fifth Sense by Es Devlin, was an adventure within an adventure. An anchor that landed me in Peckham, where my travels continued. It was everything I hoped, perhaps a little dirty, perhaps in need of a good wipe down with Windex, but it lived up to the expectations and gave me a few surprises along the way.

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