Our entertainment doesn’t always happen on holiday, in a cinema or even watching telly on the phone or at home. so, what comes to mind when people think of a desert? Lack of precipitation, scorching heat and probably the last place you would go for ‘amusement’. But take a country like Bahrain, mostly made up by desert regions, which not only inspired Shona Illingworth to shoot her immersive multi-screen sound and video installation Topologies of Air but just so happened to also be a place of leisure.
Topologies of Air is a unique piece which explores the airspace and Desert skies of Bahrain as a multi-layered cultural and legal space with a past and a swiftly changing future as opposed to the void, free space, many consider it to be. Out of the two weeks of filming, Illingworth spent most of her time in the desert, which serves as a leisure spot in the winter, and has done so for generations.
In the cooler months, Bahrain desert completely transforms, becoming a place of joy brimming with numerous encampments which are intermixed with the oil pipes and gas plants the country is known for. A multitude of Bahrainis takes advantage of the pleasant weather to host picnics and socialise under the vast sky.
A different part of the world welcomes ‘Somewhere In The Enchanted Garden’, organised by jeweller Tessa Packard and gallerist Lindsey Ingram. The 10-day programme is an amalgamation of events, talks and interactive workshops which celebrate the sheer beauty of nature.
The programme’s list of amazing events includes a behind-the-scenes tour of British Museum’s botanical and garden, works on paper, installing a mesmerising garden mural and placing plants, flower and animal cut-outs on the mural allowing the Victorian-inspired garden to ‘come alive’.
‘Somewhere in the Enchanted Garden’ coincides with London’s Chelsea Flower Show and Chelsea Fringe, augmenting the celebration of gardening which engulfs the city during the spring season.
We’ve just begun scratching the surface. Ever heard of ecological water parks? Indonesia’s Riau is home to Funtasy Islands, a theme park which offers activities such as sailing, snorkelling and more, with quite an emphasis on appreciating wildlife. The park ensures minimal utilisation of man-made elements.
A desert, garden or even a wildlife water park, there’s something for everyone. The next time you think of leisure, don’t limit your options to watching a movie or playing a sport. There’s a whole world out there, and all you need to do is look.
Topologies of Air is scheduled to be exhibited in 2020 at Bahrain National Museum, and is supported by the British Council, DCMS and GREAT through the UK-Gulf Culture and sport programme. List. If you want to know about more Ecological theme parks, here’s a lowdown: