If anything was to exemplify the power of science and art in collaboration, it would be the series of events and productions being presented at Fringe under the banner of Electric Dreams.
UK-based production company Crossover Labs presents Electric Dreams, with one of the 2023 highlights set to be the immersive experience Torrent at Light ADL’s The Light Room.
“Torrent explores the multifaceted nature of water, both as a source of life and a destructive force,” director Ben Carlin says of the multi-sensory and multi-disciplinary production.
“It endeavours to craft a symbiotic convergence of music, dance, poetry and real-time visual effects, utilising cutting-edge game engine technology.
“This holistic approach to learning allows individuals to engage with the information in their own way, through different senses and experiences. By offering multiple entry points, we can make science more approachable and enjoyable for everyone.”
Carlin explains that audiences at Torrent will be surrounded by monolithic LED walls in 360 degrees, “inducing a sense of being transported to another world made of sand and water”.
“The musical score will be felt as much as it is heard, with the bass vibrations filling the space.
“The live dancers, brought to life through motion capture, will embody the elemental forces of sand and water, providing a mesmerising visual representation of the interplay between humanity and the natural world.”
The team at Crossover Labs is collaborating with renowned Yankunytjatjara-Kokatha poet Ali Cobby Eckermann to add a layer of poetry and a First Nations voice to the production.
“I wrote some poetic text to mix with the movement of Torrent, and to define its tone,” Eckermann tells InReview.
“I am a Yankunytjatjara woman from the desert region of north-west South Australia and have lived many years in desert and remote regions. So as a desert person, my view of water is different to the production team in London. I believe this added to our collaboration; we were all learning new elements. For me, water is sacred, and also scarce – the blessed giver of life.”
Eckermann says Torrent explores the flow-on effects of colonisation – not only on First Nations people, but also on the environment.
“Aboriginal people have had to suffer the policies and prejudice of white governments since the invasion of our land. The environmental destruction incurred upon our sacred lands over the past 230 years has been abysmal. The effect of one issue affects another. I think Torrent captures the effect.”
While technology such as that used in Torrent is new to Eckermann, she is open to the evolution of storytelling, and what new tech can bring to the conversation.
“This is my first-time inclusion in such a high-tech production,” she says.
“I hope my grandson Jett can come to see it. I’d love to share this moment with him. Even at six years of age he has a technology knowledge I didn’t have. It is healthy to accept the world is always changing.”
Also being presented as part of the Electric Dreams program is Volo: Dreams of Flight, which celebrates Leonardo da Vinci and his pioneering work related to flight. Participants in Volo wear virtual-reality headsets that enable them to soar on everything from gliders to parachutes.
Electric Dreams: Torrent is at The Light Room at Light ADL, West Village, from February 17 until March 18.
Michelle Wakim for InReview