Wetin You Go Do? – Otobong Nkanga

Yesterday was Saturday…hopefully you all knew that and I’m not breaking some exciting news there, but what that means to me is…it’s my day of the week to go and break the monotony of working life and get out and explore. The Tate Modern was my destination yesterday. I’ve not been since they had the Damien Hurst exhibition there, so I was really quite excited to go back and see what little treasures they were hiding this time.

If you’ve never been to the Tate Modern, it’s the old Bankside power station which was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (who was the architect of the Battersea power station). This is now one of the largest museums of contemporary and modern art, and its split between two areas….the boiler house and the switch house (Blavatnik building). While I walked around most of the areas yesterday, what really caught my eye was something in the tanks. The tanks are fairly large chambers right at the bottom of the switch house. I love how this area differs from the light and airy spaces further up, with cement pillars and an almost grimy feel to it.

On walking in to one of the tanks and seeing large concrete balls attached together by rope, I was really taken with it. I instantly felt that I was looking at a network, and the sounds which filled the room were initially quite hard to pint point what they were, it gave the impression of a babble going on.

As I stood taking in what was in front of me, the sounds become clearer, and there is a mix of English, French and what I later found out to be Nigerian Pidgin conversations and songs overlaid on each other.

Some of the concrete spheres are coloured in soft pastel colours, but the majority are white, and they are gathered in clusters, with a heavy rope weaving through the them, entwining them.

As you walk around the room, you realise that there are trigger points on the walls which set each conversation off, therefore to get the full feel of this piece you really do need to take the journey around it.

When you read Nkanga’s break down of what is being done here, it made total sense to me, albeit I didn’t see the spheres as people, I just say them as a representation of social entities, for some reason I got images of life bouys floating out at sea, each linked to each other and unable to move around much without taking the others with it.

The curators notes on this piece say…

“The installation consists of concrete spheres connected to each other with heavy ropes. Sound can be heard from three of the balls, carefully edited and layered, with each sphere representing a different imaginary character. These soundtracks are part narrative and part song, and shift between stream of consciousness and profound statements in English, French and Nigerian Pidgin, an English-based Creole language widely spoken across Nigeria. In a dialogue improvised by the artist, the characters reflect on life’s difficulties, asking ‘Wetin you go do?’, a colloquial term in Nigerian Pidgin meaning ‘What are you going to do?’

The spheres are arranged in small groupings that mimic the way people gather in a crowd. The ropes connecting the spheres suggest networks within society. As such, the work can be read as a metaphor for the interconnectedness of life. With some of the concrete balls weighing more than 600 kilograms the work might also signal the impossibility of moving forward alone.”

This shows social anxiety and a reliance on a network.

I really appreciate that this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you can’t get the full effect of this rather sensory encompassing piece unless you see if live. So if you’re in the vicinity of the Tate Modern, pop in and see it….it’s free and the museum is open until 10pm.

If you wan to see more of Nkanga’s you can see it here


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

Art & criticism by eric wayne

Art and Criticism by Eric Wayne

Quaint Revival

quirks, quips & photo clicks

It's Turpintime!

Stuff & Bits For The Muddled and Addled.


When the universe hands me a pen and then regrets it

The Artsy Psyche

I speak in colours and metaphors.

Eerie Unsolved

A Mix-Up of Mysteries, Conspiracies and All Things Spooky!

As Lady Stitch

Living with fibromyalgia.

Being Beckyy

We were born to be real, not to be perfect.

The Battles of Frankie

The failings and anecdotes of an average Aussie woman

The Formidable Endeavor

Ph.D. student life

The Indy Diarist

A Day in the Life

Leggings & Tea

Books. Art. Life.

The Non-Alcoholic Student

Ramblings on the University experience from a sober student

High Lumen

lighting design blog

Lady with Black Lipstick

Hopeless romantic speaking her thoughts.

Scandi Lifestyle

A lifestyle blog about all things Scandinavian


This is the page where I will share my thoughts about football, my memories and funny stories.


A panorama is defined as an unbroken view of the whole region surrounding an observer. My panorama includes a jumbled mess of ideas and thoughts waiting to be typed out. Welcome to my panorama.

Marina Baker

marketing, social media, & business development

Chef Dave, Esq.

Lawyer by trade -- Cook by passion

Trailhead To...

Friendship & Advice, Compassion & Support for; Fitness & Nutrition, Relationships & Parenting, Art & Writing, Learning & Reading, Finance & Budgeting, Minimizing & Decluttering


Psychology to Motivate | Inspire | Uplift



The Insides

Don't h8, apprici8

Diary of a Twenty Something

Finding meaning in the small and mundane...


an online diary of an introvert.


Tick talk, around the clock. Because Lyme disease never takes a day off.

Amdall Gallery

Collection of artwork, data analysis, and other assorted projects by Jon

The Butterfly Tree

where stories take wings

The Planet According to Dom

The workings of a dyslexic mind

O' Canada

Reflections on Canadian Culture From Below the Border


My experience Paris Museums

Black Pen Art

Website and blog on the simplicity of the line. (c) 2017. All contents belong to sueblackpenart

The Daily Travesty

Bad Poetry On Purpose

The Semicolon

Where words speak out loud.

No-Madder Nomadder

Where am I going?


🌸 F A L L I N G F O R S N O W 🌸


A peep into Megha's mind


my journey, recorded in words and pictures

%d bloggers like this: