The Star, November 10 1993
Enter into an Orwellian nightmare
By Hazel Friedman
You could hover around the outskirts of Alan Alborough's installation, or you could bend your knees and brave those 500-watt lightbulbs boring into your back. The choice is yours, but either way the experience is harrowing.
From a distance, his stark construction resembles a set of dominoes or building blocks. As you approach the front piece, the bolts and burnt wood assume the shape of the word "fulfil", suggesting prophecy and expectation.
This is the opening scene of a pageant in which words function not as texts, but as images of power. Gaining access to the rest of it all requires bowing beneath the frontal sign. And once you've performed this act of obeisance, you can no longer shelter behind detached observation.
You are now part of what can only be described as an Orwellian nightmare: stuck in a cell, lacerated by lights and forcefed a diet of dogma by the big brothers of church and state.
"Faith", "fear" and "force' are emblazoned behind "fulfil", almost echoing the shape of a cross. These words are supposedly the building blocks of social order. But they serve a more ominous role in breaking down rebellious minds, not faithful, fearful hearts.
Suddenly the word-images start to gyrate in a sort of disembodied dance. You want to escape the oppressiveness of the space and the power play within, you start to perspire, only partly as a result of the stinging heat from the tungsten globes.
Phew! There is probably a more cerebral way of responding to this astounding installation. But a strictly intellectual approach would amount to an act of evasion. And you can't avoid the fact that Alborough's mind games have a habit of hitting where it hurts.