John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
For only $4,200, you too can pretend to be eaten by the Iron Giant.
For seekers of an unusual art experience and Iron Giant vore fetishists, there's this: a honkin'-great robot whose belly has a compartment you can sleep in.
The clunky, stainless-steel brute squats atop the facade of London's new Beaumont hotel, as if it had just rocketed down from space and was surveying the area for people to squish under its massive feet. Titled "ROOM," the sculpture is just that – a fully operational bedroom, whose interior walls are paneled in classy, ammonia-fumed oak. Of course because it's London, where real-estate insanity knows no bounds, an overnight stay inside the invader isn't free. The cost of entry is £2,500, or about $4,200 for Americans who wish to incinerate their savings accounts.
"ROOM" was designed by British artist Antony Gormley who, a little like the crouching robot, "dominates and squats on British art like a lead toad," opines the Guardian's Jonathan Jones. It fits right in with Gormley's other artworks in that 1) it features a humanoid figure composed of boxes, like it was slapped together with mismatched Tetris pieces, and 2) it's massive. The artist likes to work big, having once gifted the urban town of Gateshead with an "angel" bearing a 177-foot wingspan and built a terrifying wicker man made from 33 tons of garbage. Actually, by these measures "ROOM" is a rather modest Gormley jam.
So what's it like to stay inside? Photos right now are scarce, but according to the artist's description it might be something akin to being buried inside a refrigerator box. When the lights are shut off, Gormley intends the space to encourage retrospective thinking, much like a sensory-deprivation tank. He writes:
"I take the body as our primary habitat. ROOM contrasts a visible exterior of a body formed from large rectangular masses with an inner experience. The interior of ROOM is only 4 metres square but 10 metres high: close at body level, but lofty and open above. Shutters over the window provide total blackout and very subliminal levels of light allow me to sculpt darkness itself. My ambition for this work is that it should confront the monumental with the most personal, intimate experience."
The robot will open up its belly to visitors when the hotel opens in August.
June 10, 2014