Part installation, part soundscape and part performance, Japanese born, Paris based artist Ryoji Ikeda’s superposition has arrived at Carriageworks this week.
Ikeda’s 15km-high projection of pure white light, entitled Spectra, featured at MONA’s Dark Mofo festival in 2013. In the same year, Carriageworks presented Test Pattern [No 5], a looped audio-visual installation that churned data into barcodes against a symphony of beeps, blips and electronic glitches. superposition is sharper on the senses: less meditative and an altogether more loaded, rollercoaster experience.
Originally commissioned by the Festival d’Automne and shown at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, superposition plays out in an auditorium. The set appears like mission control: two rows of small screens run across the base of the stage, one large screen takes up the back wall and a long table laid with dials, instruments and cabling is centre stage. The audience is sat and slated to endure the performance, earplugs optional. And so it begins.
A cascade of rhythmic sound matched to dots and dashes is orchestrated and re-orchestrated by two performers sat at either end of the table. One man, one woman, the performers appear to be tapping a Morse code switch in a series of mirrored crescendos and decrescendos. As infinite numbers race across each screen like the Wachowski Brothers’ Matrix, snippets of text, verse and poetry flash forward and disappear. These are relatively ominous musings on humanity and our ability to comprehend the reality of nature. ‘Everything is written in the immense book of nature’ blazes past. Here Ikeda may be referencing Loren Eiseley’s The Immense Journey, a poetic reflection on the science of human evolution and human ignorance.
The final throws of the 65-minute piece are possibly the most nuclear – loud, explosive and interstellar. superposition is an incredible experience, but one that intends to shake you whether through sonic reverberation, high definition visuals or the concept of the cold, incomprehensible vastness of infinity.
superposition is at Carriageworks until September 26.
Performances nightly at 8pm.