This review was originally written for the Londonist
Always keen to explore London’s more unusual spaces, we arrived at the entrance to the Dalston Bunker excited purely by the prospect of going underground. After stumbling around in the wet and dark for about an hour we realised that it was pretty foolish to have thought spending time in an old World War II hiding place was going to be an exotic experience.
The premise of this installation is that visitors are on a recruitment open day for a company called Bunker Plc. Potential recruits are invited on a tour of the basement in order to find out more about the work of the organisation. The journey involves tests like trying to fill in a form in the dark, identifying weather patterns, fertilising plants and open chest surgery. Oh and there’s time travel involved too – all this takes place in 2031.
The project organisers say the installation explores climate change and sci-fi themes, offering people a vision of the future. Overall we felt it was all a little clunky and that the experience was odd rather than enlightening. Our small group seemed perpetually confused, as we were told to don overalls and perform tasks like spraying plants with coloured water after downing a shot of eye-watering alcohol. We had fun, but were left wondering what the point of it all was.
The Dalston Bunker is open until the 15th May, but you have to buy your £7 ticket in advance. The ticket includes a drinks voucher for the delightful Dalston Roof Park. The bunker entrance is found on Abbot Street, behind the Arcola and Cafe Oto. Find out more on their website.