On Friday night, suarts took over the Royal Academy of Art’s first ever Friday Late, and what a suitably impressive take over it was.

The event was based around the work of British sculptor Bill Woodrow, and was made up of interactive installations in various rooms throughout the Burlington gardens venue. 

I filmed the goings-on, getting a bird’s eye view of the events unfurling throughout the night. The first thing I saw was visitors making sculptures with their only confines being the perspex box container they had to use. After watching balloons, plasticine, and pieces of wood being fashioned into intricate and occasionally comical pieces, I watched the Camberwell students auction off the sculptures to bidders with the best reasons as to why they should be the sculptures’ new owners.

Competition was fierce, so quite a few people missed out on the chance to own one of the masterpieces, but unlucky bidders had plenty of other things to distract themselves with, including the brilliant dj’s (including the NTS Radio show host and Boiler Room regular Black Foot Phoenix),suarts’ very own Vibrant Matter instillation, and Decades, a piece where visitors could write down their memories or highlights from certain years and display it on the wall for all to see.

It wasn’t all fun and games though. The Nature of Things (one of my favourites of the night), instructed visitors to assemble Lego structures in a limited amount of time with pieces travelling along a conveyor belt, while the student ‘bosses’ shouted demands and ominous forewarnings through megaphones, wearing lab coats and intricate animalistic headdresses. Designers that made the grade were rewarded with chocolate coins for their efforts.

What I found really interesting and refreshing about the event was the fact that almost every room (and corridor and staircase) had something hands on, which visitors were encouraged to be a part of one way or another. Filming people interact with The Cabinet of Curiosities was really interesting, as all of the visitors, from small children to students to elderly people rummaged through the drawers and investigated their findings in a very similar way, which you wouldn’t usually be able to see in a traditional gallery space. 

The Swarm Piece returned for the evening, a work in progress installation which UAL students might recognise from this years’ Fresher’s fair. By the end of the night the RA letter-shaped boards were infested with plasticine insects of all variates.

Birds was a other highlight, which saw visitors manipulate the small flightless clay sculptures into various positions and locations around the room based on what was written on the instructional cards piled in the entrance to the room. It was an endearing instillation, which had RA goers crouching down and standing on their tip-toes to arrange the birds to the requirements of the cards.

The whole night was very successful, and I recommend coming along to the next one if you missed out this time!