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Posts Tagged ‘archive of the forgotten and remembered’

Over the years, LIFT has given me some extraordinary experiences, including my first exposure to Catalonia’s La Fura dels Baus and Argentina’s De La Guarda, and my 2014 trio of ‘shows’ starts with one of the most extraordinary. It will be difficult to describe this it, subtitled ‘archive of the forgotten and remembered’, particularly without spoiling it for anyone planning a visit (if you are, I suggest you end here).

When I ‘checked in’, I was told to store coats and bags and was given a neck cord for my glasses. Just six of us enter the Royal Academy of Arts main galleries, where they’re still hanging this years Summer Exhibition. After a while sitting in and walking around the galleries someone put a pair of headphones on me. A while later someone removed my glasses and put on a padded ‘blindfold’ through which I could see light, dark and colour, but nothing else. From here, I was led by a hand, sometimes two, with voices and sounds in my head, through spaces which changed temperature, moisture, light and colour.

It now all seems like a partially-recalled dream. I recall changes in elevation and texture of the surfaces on which I walked. I know I was in a lift twice, one crowded. On one occasion I was outside (it was raining!). Sometimes we were walking between locations, at others in circles, it seemed. I got hot and I got cold. When the hand let me go and I was instructed to continue, I did – I trusted my guide implicitly. An hour or so later, my blindfold was removed and I was in a large empty room with my fellow travellers. In a subsequent room, my headphones were removed and we met the man who’d put them on in the first place. Soon, we exited into a large space somewhere I don’t expect to be!

I’m not sure I’ve digested it all yet, but I do know it was unique and amongst the most fascinating experiences in more than thirty years of ‘immersive theatre’. My artistic radar will hopefully pick up other work by Swedish artists Lundahl & Seitl.

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