I began to shiver as the cold chill crept round my shoulders. I wondered about digging my jacket out of my bag and putting it back on. It had been lovely and warm lolling around on the terrace overlooking the Thames - warm enough to make you nod off and have a nap. Now we had walked downstairs to what looked like the route to some unknown dungeons.
Couple that with the general clanging of bells, the rushing sounds of water and clunks of gears changing every few seconds and I was ready to go back upstairs again to the safety of light and warmth. But we hadn't come to visit anyone in prison - we had come to experience Bill Fontana's River Sounding which is described as 'an immersive sound installation that creates an acoustic journey through little known subterranean spaces of Somerset House'.
Bill Fontana had spent several months amassing a collection of audio and video recordings from various parts of the Thames (which sounds to me like a great way to spend a lot of time outdoors and call it work) and then put an edited selection on display in the dark recesses underneath Somerset House. The result is an odd combination of meditative and eerie. In addition there are no gallery staff watching your every move which, in the confines of these small dark spaces, gave me a sense of freedom and liberation. It was certainly an interesting and different way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
If you click on the heading to this post it will take you to a short video at the Somerset House website.