Anyone passing along the Albert Embankment on Monday evening at about 9pm would have seen thousands of people turned north towards the 120m high Millbank Tower. Rather than cantankerous students targeting the Tory party HQ, however, gathered in the cold November air, were a relatively peaceful group of spectators who had come to see a ‘4D’ light projection display on the 27 storey building, set to music by Canadian house producer Deadmau5.
To say I could hardly contain my excitement at witnessing the fourth dimension on a Monday night would be an understatement. Surely Nokia, whom I had to thank for the evening’s proceedings, wouldn’t make such a claim just to generate headlines for an advertising stunt promoting their latest smartphone?
Oh alright, I think everyone knew what was happening from the start. But regardless, I think most of us were fascinated to see what happens when a massive capital building turns into a projector screen and the Deadmau5 set was a bonus. Huge white tarpaulins had been cast down the length of the south façade and £6million of projectors were beaming HD imagery onto the Tower from 300 metres away.
The opening 10 minutes were spent listening a repetitive, slow bass woaoow noise from the pair of speakers that had been donated to the south side of the river, whilst Nokia’s logo flashed up frequently to remind us who was paying for the evening. I was quite bored actually and I found myself distracted by a far more interesting conversation between a small-statured, saff London hopeful geez who had spotted an attractive blonde girl to his right.
“So where you from then, darlin’?”
He mused over his next romantic couplet.
“I had my hair cut by a French girl on Saturday.”
As Casanova continued on his quest the display got marginally more impressive. The projections divided the Tower into thirds. The bottom storeys became a giant video screen showing the warm-up act (although, in truth, I really wasn’t aware that it was the warm-up act) and on the upper sections a series of stars and blue lights travelled two dimensionally around the tarpaulin, occasionally illuminating the word Nokia.
After 10 more minutes of this we were treated to the return of the repetitive bass wobble and I was considering leaving but Casanova’s chat-up lines were giving me too much enjoyment.
“I went to Calais once actually”. He waited for his emotionally considered statements to register. He continued, “It’s a bit like Lewisham. Have you been to Lewisham?”
My interest in this budding relationship was put to one side when finally the video showed Deadmau5 in his signature mouse outfit arriving on stage at the foot of the Tower. At last we were up and running. The entire tower appeared to wobble in front of us and crumble to the ground as the beat dropped to his brilliant Professional Griefers. Objects came crashing out from the virtual glass Tower, giant eyes looked out across London and we were taken at light speed on a rollercoaster through cityscapes. This part of the show was really quite spectacular, although the speakers didn’t really do Deadmau5 any justice and it lasted less than five minutes, presumably due to the sheer cost of staging this kind of audio-visual production.
It all ended with Nokia’s new smartphone taking-up the entire Tower, and a chorus of boos could be heard all around the north and south Embankments.
Resoundingly boring for most of it, great for four minutes would be how I’d summarise the evening. The official video of the four minutes is worth watching, it has unsurprisingly been edited by Nokia to look far more impressive than it was in reality. The boos have been removed and the music re-laid. At least Nokia have got the great piece of marketing that they were hoping for.
by Edward Lines