Camden Cyber Market Hall: Fact or Fiction?
By Muso187 | Friday, June 24, 2011, 18:06
An interesting addition to the usual market halls in Camden is the Cyber Market Hall. This aims to be a shopping experience of the future "where imagination is reality", but so far the claims of it's fantastic youtube trailer (by cyber artist Vincent C. J. Jö-Nés) that "It's not just a destination… it's AN EXPERIENCE" remain unfulfilled. To be fair it is early days yet and I am excited to see what becomes of the place, and if it does manage to become Camden's first one-stop shop/spa/club.
Camden Cyber Market Hall
It certainly caught my eye while strolling down the Camden High Street and the art on show at the entrance is both jarring and beguiling. I was intrigued to enter with a vague sense of wonder but beyond the other-worldy cyber art on display (also by the thought provoking Vincent C. J. Jö-Nés) I found a rather mundane arcade waiting. Most definitely of this world, but not to say uninteresting or at least some cut about the dozens of similar stalls I had passed on the street. The usual collection of so-called individual flare — rings, keyrings, badges, broaches, etc — greeted me on one side, and beyond that was the obligatory smokers' delight with bongs and pipes of all shapes sizes and colours, and every kind of paraphernalia you could imagine. A gorgeous collection of tasteful fashion fetish wear was perhaps the highlight since I love looking at corsets - I mean 'who doesn't?' - and although the owner said no pictures I did sneak a quick one for the gallery.
It's clear that work is still very much in progress in the Camden Cyber Market Hall, and the back half of the hall is completely empty as yet, yet the promise of something new and different does indeed hang in the air, with a 'fish pedicure' sanctuary in the middle for relaxing and taking a weight off your feet, literally, with the aid of little fish who munch off the dead skin, a hair stylist and a tattoo parlour. Now I'm not really against the idea of letting small animals along with their associated bodily fluids in the water, no doubt inspired by preceding customers' dead skin, loose on my feet to trim things up, but I can't for the life of me see why I would stop in the middle of a market hall to do it. The same goes for getting my hair done or having my skin permanently scarred with patterned ink. Surely if people wanted those services they would go to the appropriate place, and while I can appreciate the effort to add an air of eclectic inhibition by having them inside the market, I wonder how practical and popular those services will prove to be there.
More interesting was a small darkened shop displaying electronic t-shirts, drawing out various patterns and words in bright neon colours. Perhaps I'm behind the times and maybe I can be accused of having the fashion appreciation and daring of a complacent tortoise on a Sunday, but surely this is exactly what everyone's not been waiting for? Clothes that can't be washed, rained on or sweated into, and that need the batteries changed before a night out.