Dunstan Playhouse, Tue 29 Sep.
Walking into superposition at the Dunstan Playhouse you might be forgiven for thinking you were at a computer convention rather than a theatre. Screens and more screens, in two neat rows as well as large projection screens above. In the quantum world, you can’t know exactly where you are and where you are going. So in superposition, at least some of the artist’s effects deliberately set out to disorient and confuse.
Many of these effects are extreme – video flashes like random lightning and large waves of sound (and this after having been offered ear-plugs at the door and being warned about extreme noise). But, of course, the concept of superposition is also about placing one thing with another thing and the principle is used in many branches of art, science, rhetoric, philosophy and mathematics – all of which find their way into this piece. It’s also about superimposing some order into the chaos and vice versa.
Several ‘acts’ of the play are presented on the video screens, others had two human protagonists, with several props, including Morse keys, tuning forks, video cameras, microfilm, little balls and the action sometimes distorted, projected and acoustically amplified. Ryoji Ikeda also plays with our minds in terms of the dualism of nature, are we considering waves or particles – superposition was presented in both ways.
As well as an assault by video and audio, words and ideas was also used to help the audience to try to find order in the chaos (something we humans are hard-wired to do) and chaos in the order. The quantum world is quite alien to many people and Ryoji Ikeda sets out to expose us to a reality that is quite alien, but like all good theatre, there are moments of insight; moments where we have been drawn through a quantum worm-hole and we’ve emerged mostly unscathed, where we realise that we simply don’t understand the building bricks with which our world and ourselves are constructed. The final aspect is one of culture, taking a bow along with the two actors are three Japanese graphic and audio art support staff and Ryoji Ikeda – welcome to the alternate world of the Japanese art geek.
superposition would not be recommended for folks prone to those medically-affected by strobe-lighting, nor those for whom sustained exposure to extremely loud noise might be a problem.
superposition continues Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, from 8pm until Wed 30 Sep.
Book at BASS on 131 246 or bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.