By Robin Fox and collaborators. Chamber Made, in association with Melbourne International Arts Festival and The SUBSTATION. The SUBSTATION, 1 Market Street, Newport. October 3 – 6, 2019

In over thirty years, Melbourne based Chamber Made has gained an impeccable reputation for their modern experimental operatic works. In recent times, they have included an eclectic group of artists who work in visuals, performance, sound and music.

Inspired by the first chapter of Greg Egan’s science fiction novel of the same name, Diaspora, Chamber Made’s new show for the Melbourne International Arts Festival, at the Substation situated in Newport, features Robin Fox, Erkki Veltheim, Madeleine Flynn and Georgina Darvides

The performance space is bathed in laser light. Musicians are set back, bordered by a three-dimensional light projection - a hologramic fetal like brain that grows to a mammoth size. Esoteric, galaxian and ambient noise - sounds are cacophonic, discordant and yet symbiotic with the striking visuals. The hologram effects change and the brain gradually turns into a computerized linear scribble that stretches across its horizontal frame.

The novel Diaspora explores the futuristic world controlled by artificial intelligence and the superhuman organic habitation that co-exists within. The performance itself offers a visceral experience that transcends and overwhelms the senses. The hologram has now become a rotating eyeball; the musicians quietly shift in the space and move center stage with their instruments; Darvides performs a superb vocal morphing of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, accompanied by Veltheim on his reverberating violin.

The multitasking Fox samples the electronica and handles the brightly lit series of retro computers that align the side-wall. The musicians are unassuming and reserved except for Darvides. A magnificent streaming of laser and light effects  circumnavigate the room, while sonic sound continues to permeate the space.

This interesting aesthetic exploration of a dystopic futuristic world questions the power of software and its hazardous potential.

Flora Georgiou

Photographer: Pia Johnson

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