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Review: Liverpool Biennial 2016: Rita McBride at Toxteth Reservoir

Rita McBride Installation for Liverpool Biennial 2016
Toxteth Reservoir
, 9 July – 16 October 2016, 10:00 – 18:00
Note: This work is only open Saturdays and Sundays.

Words and images by Steff Cain
Cover photo by Neil Murphy

Rita McBride’s large scale installation represents an opening between the real world and the world of fiction. Entering the unilluminated location of the piece with its sonic reverberations, the idea that you are about to transport to another world starts to feel plausible. The Toxteth reservoir is somewhere many people walk past every day, but have never had the opportunity to explore inside. This other worldly installation is the perfect opportunity for those who’ve always wondered, to explore an alien atmosphere juxtaposed with the familiar surrounding location; and for those who’ve never noticed or heard of the reservoir, the veneration of the site cannot be understated.

The installation itself is a ‘wormhole’, or portal, created with luminescent green laser-beams in the form of a rotating hyperbole, a smooth symmetrical curve with two branches produced by the section of a conical surface. A particularly interesting aspect of this piece is that it has been constructed using meticulous scientific calculations to create something which, in practice, would be altogether unexplainable by science.

Although the concept of the piece is very simple, the atmosphere created by the aesthetics is certainly something to be experienced rather than explained. It is available for viewing every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am to 6:00pm, from the 9th July to 16th October 2016.