10.04 The  Lido Show (7th August 1993)

The 'Dive-In Show' at Brockwell Park Lido was announced in a Centre-page advert in a Exploding programme of 24th July 1993

This was a major event showing at least 75 works with a budget of £1200 and a paying audience of over 2000.  Along with the media attention it generated this was the event that established Exploding Cinema as an underground institution and myth.[1]

Brockwell Lido at that time was unused and the pool was dry. It was a medium sized municipal swimming pool with a simple modernist architectural charm. Changing rooms and other spaces make up about half of the perimeter. These derelict spaces were used to house installations and screenings. The pool had previously been squatted and used for various parties and raves.

(See Illustration 17)

This was the Exploding Cinema show that many people remember for the simple reason of its scale. At the time the collective numbered more than 20 people. It is not remembered very fondly by some of the current (1997 /99) members who were in the collective at that time. Although for Caroline Kennedy it was the event at which she joined the collective.  It provided technical headaches of mammoth proportions. Several screenings ran in parallel using the outbuildings and the poolside cafe as well as projections in the empty pool itself.

I attended this event and as an audience member my memory is of experimental no budget film culture on an incredible scale. Impressive because of the amount it concentrated into one space, on one evening. Never had I seen so much projection equipment brought into action in one venue. (The later Volcanos are bigger but spread out on various sites over a week.) On top of that the empty pool did provide a uniquely memorable setting.

The Lido has a place in the hearts of most people brought up locally. Perhaps the event played some part in the revival of the pool which has since be taken over by private enterprise and regained its former summer glory and has itself been the subject of several documentary films.[2]

Here is an account from the interview with Caroline Kennedy:

What I did in the Lido was quite a good installation. It was in the shower room and changing room. I got loads of tiles, and I put that° magic stuff which you paint on white tiles and you can print on to it. And I had taken loads of photographs of lidos, people just swimming and lounging. I printed them all on these tiles. And a lot of the tiles were falling off the wall, it was like a really wrecked shower, and I just put them on the ground. And I had a loop of, I think it was me swimming under water, filling the entire space. And there was sound, and smells like bleach. And the sound of water, and people showering, and distant voices.



[1] This is a very short report on what was a key event. Hopefully someone will do it more justice elsewhere. No detailed account by any participant was found in the course of my research.


[2] See report by Sean Hagan in The Guardian (8-8-93) and The Face (Sept/October 1993).