There are guided tours planned for this year’s Summer Exhibition at the RA that are radically different to any in the show’s 246-year history. Swedish-born artist-duo Christer Lundahl and Martina Seitl are taking groups of seven visitors on a choreographed journey through the galleries – and through their own imaginations – with the presentation at the Academy of their experiential artwork Symphony of a Missing Room: Archive of the Forgotten and Remembered.
Lundahl and Seitl’s works are highly immersive experiences. For their effects to be at their most transformative, they are best enjoyed without too much prior information. What can be written is that while audience members are led around physical spaces, they are also taken on a disorientating sonic odyssey via the headphones that they wear.
Symphony of a Missing Room. Mixed media on paper.
Courtesy Christer Lundahl
‘Symphony of a Missing Room is a tour through your imagination,’ says Lundahl. ‘Although there are triggers and suggestions in the work, you create your own tour in your mind.’ In this way, suggests Seitl, the ‘missing room’ of the title is less a real room and more a space in the mind. ‘You go there in your consciousness during the work, but you can’t go back to it easily again. This room in your mind is not actually missing, but we tend to look in the wrong place, as we’re blind to that imaginative part of our ourselves.’
The work was conceived in 2009 and has been shown in several international museums. As a site-specific piece, it is being customised to take into account the unique environment of the Summer Exhibition. Groups also go behind the scenes and encounter works that were rejected for the exhibition – like the metaphorical ‘missing room’, Lundahl sees these rejected works as ‘a symbol of what could be forgotten’. For an unforgettable experience, book tickets to Symphony of a Missing Room as soon as possible.