NIGHT FLIGHT- A Journey to Rewild
“If a green revolution is to happen, we have to switch from Apocalyptic imagery to Utopian prophecy to create a cultural ‘wilding’ that opens horizontal spaces into which people can enter and join the carnival.” Nicholas Powers.
Night Flight is a site specific, outdoor promenade performance at night. It is a journey through Te Toki reserve, Waiheke Island where we encounter isolated characters, lit up in the dark, struggling with their present thinking, with their thoughts of the future. The characters (and audience) find a reconnection to nature along the way and a metaphysical re-wilding emerges, a revolutionary carnival for all. Night Fight is a visual spectacle inspired by fair ground rides, encompassing physical theatre, puppetry and music. Made with Community volunteers part of this projects purpose was to empower participants to break the rules and defy the genres and quality of what is deemed as typical ‘amateur’ theatre. The project has support from Blake New Zealand, Ministry of the Environment and the Waiheke Marine Project and is part of Eco Fest 2023.
A piece of Absurdist theatre, Night Flight, looks at environmental issues in an abstract manner and asks us to let our imaginations run loose. We want to create a space of curiousity for adults which returns us to a childlike state of wonder full of boundless dreaming. In this state we can look at the world anew and become open to new perspectives and imaginative solutions. Here we may be pulled out of our Sisyphean actions and be empowered to write our futures for the better.
Te Toki reserve is a place that has been regenerated by different community groups. People have already made this environment better. Our parade and ritual carnival celebrates it. Everyday local people, not names or celebrities or political parties, have made this difference. There are movements of good actions growing, of indigenous communities and their knowledge of living in balance with nature being heard and brought to the forefront. We cannot however, ignore the darkness, as life is dark and light. The potential for disruption of balance will always be here. Monsters, here in the form of greedy developers, could take over this reserve but it is up to us to show them another way, bring forth solutions, show them our hearts, and they too could see a way for change.
The title of the work ‘Night Flight’ speaks of the performance journey itself but is also the title of a novel by Antoine Saint-Exupery who’s writings from ’Wind Sand and stars’ have in part inspired this piece.
Commisioned by the Urban Walking Festival ‘(Im)possible promenade’ is a trail of surreal, augmented reality curiosities that respond to and question human’s relationship to nature and the surrounding Tamaki Estuary environment. Inspired by games, toys, miniature theatres, and wonder rooms the curiosities ask us to play and perhaps imagine alternative futures. A hamburger floats above cows, in the historic stockyards, speaking of the now suburban landscapes and a call to shape the future. A boat house, adapted to rising seas, harks back to a simple life where consumerist desires were kept at bay and we lived in full feeling of the elements. A door, signed ‘nature’ leads us in both directions to the same site questioning the dualism entrenched in our systems.
This performative trail is also taking place at Whangarei Fringe Festval 2022.https://urbanwalking.nz/2022-festival/impossible-promenade/
‘Lock Down Gigs’-A billsticker project
Thinking about friends and family in the UK and Covid lock down restrictions this project is being developed in collaboration with musicians and performers in the UK. Its aim is to liven up lock down walks and give a small village a magical mystery tour of their own locale. Concert posters in public spaces are activated by your phone. Once scanned by a free app on your phone (using augmented reality) the posters come to life and are little secret performances/music concerts in themselves.
To get involved with the project or for more info. please email: firstname.lastname@example.org Or download Musican/performer Call Out below
We hope this project can spread to other communities and cross boarders and give musicians and other acts the chance to perform in public.
‘Augmented art trail’
Currently in initial stages of R&D. Watch this space for an augmented reality art project born out of thoughts behind Covid19 restrictions and enlivening neighbourhoods during Lock Down. Please see research tests below.
Augmented Spaces- test 2 from sarah-jane blake on Vimeo.
Augmented spaces- test 1 from sarah-jane blake on Vimeo.
‘A Fantastical Journey by Boat’
Developed for Splore Music Festival 2020 http://www.splore.net and with future touring in mind. A Fantastical Journey by Boat is an immersive performance and multimedia experience which takes you across a magical ocean. Join the Owl and the Pussy Cat on their Pea Green Boat and enter a transformed seascape where birds may fly backwards and icebergs could be pink. This is a two person at a time performance which explores virtual reality and eco-anxiety all with a nonsensical twist. The show has travelled to Whangarei Fringe, Bay of Islands and the Maritime Museum and was selected as part of the Aotearoa garden ARS festival 2021 www.ars.nz
Audience feedback: “Outstanding loved the messaging too.”,“First proper VR Trip. Amazing to be transported to another world. Important message too.”, “Stunning immersive experience.”,“Loved this experience-relevant, quirky and bringing VR down to earth.”, “Great creative experience with powerful hidden messages creating awareness for ocean pollution and care.”
Below is a promo film of the performance and further below a little bit about the performance and why it came about. In the performance two participants board a sardine can. While being rowed by a wise and peculiar Owl the participants take on the role of ‘Fish’ or Cat’ (VR headsets inclosed inside their particular masks).
VR Films edited by James Blake @jamesblakefilm . Music for VR composed by Alistair Maude-Roxby @wraudio and Alice Lacey @alicelouiselacey
Inspired by the fictionalised landscapes in the writing of the blog http://www.darthandstormy.com and not being able to carry many theatrical artifices on the boat VR appeared be an interesting option in terms of creating an immersive other world.
Within the imaginary seascape there’s an altered state, an underlying sense of unease , and confusion. The colours are saturated, there’s a chemical haze and the lens burns with heat, wildlife is not what it was . There are characters shouting but we can’t hear what they are saying, things are passing by but we can’t quite make them out. Ecological emergency symbols, broken toys from a child’s dream, scale changes as the Owl and Cat become puppets/dolls (frozen in their fate, they are pulled by larger forces). There are perhaps infinite dimensions of reality at play.
The Owl and Cat are suffering from an overwhelming anxiety about the environmental future, about the changing seascape. All they do, for now, is row on.
Sarah-Jane is in experimenting with multi- media to create new aesthetics and new meanings or emotional curiosities. Drawn towards false facades, the grotesque, fairground rides, games and play, the work blurs the boundaries between adult and childhood asking us to look back into our pasts and forward to our futures.
‘Adventures by post’
Inspired by Edward Lears nonsense poem ‘The Owl and the Pussy Cat’ the Owl and Cat share their adventures, fictionalised ocean going stories, by writing postcards to individuals and posting them (the old fashioned way) each month. Each postcard reveals a secret AR (Augmented Reality) mixed media art work/art film integrated within the card.
The post card project is an interactive art project with cards being sent to Subscribers, young and old, all over the world. Please see www.darthandstormy.com for more details.
Feedback: “Kids are still looking at it daily and checking out the AR very clever!”, “Great idea and so creative it is a bit of magic in the letterbox.”, “Can’t wait for the next instalment we all love reading the next adventure.”, “Ahoy there Owl and Cat, We are loving receiving your amazing postcards. I look forward to them every month. So fantastic.”