Friday, 20 November 2009

hyperstition feedback

Julia Usher wrote

I had lots of thoughts about Hyperstition, and enjoyed the very interesting talk with Paul afterwards .

I loved going in subterraneanally at the start, and it was quite awesome to get the warning about the dark etc.

Then I had a series of adjustments while I went round, or tried to sit ( at the start).

I somewhat regretted that the guests were a bit noisy, so that the atmosphere and music in particular was obscured at times.
As I mentioned, I also felt that we needed longer to adjust to it, and indeed, to start reading the ultraviolet pages in the dark,
instead of on the bus all the way home!

I early on decided I would create my own "safe distance" from objects and revelations, til I felt i could take it in;
so in the first room, I wasn't awed by the Magic Circle bits, and didn't study the objects - which I guess were the Schrodinger objects or whatever they were called.

But I did sit and watch the beautiful cardboard revolving light/shadow display, when fellow guests got out of the way.
Dan's music created a breathing atmosphere.

It was amazing to come into the big Slack Space, and take time to acclimatise, first to the "working laboratory " atmosphere of Costa cups and left meals,
along with more sinister experiments. Again, it was possible to take close note of the more ordinary earthly artefacts and clues, while keeping whatever
distance felt appropriate to the heavily disturbing side; at least until one had put oneself in Da Vinci Code sceptical mode.

I loved the big map, and the ultraviolet lines; especially the red laser that went in the wall and behind. the objects in filing cabinets;
all this I have seen at various times at the Venice Biennalle, and like very much.

The code symbol table was also intriguing.
The grotesques and formaldehyde jars, with stem cell research could touch a bit nearer, and was naturally uncomfortable.

Stuart's music was hugely effective, and full of the mystery the installation needed; I thought it contributed very much to the atmosphere.
It worked so well in the space; I was at just the right place in the room when one of the "music of the sphere" sections came through.

I was very amused by the 14 page brief, with its learned tone and research-based references; it was so convincing, and you only slipped in learned tone
a couple of times......Hilariously funny at the end where the VAF is revealed as a cosmic analyser of some kind. If only.

Astonishing that it was uninfluenced by Depot. I liked both in different ways.

The detail and intricate "research" behind this one was different from Depot - where I most liked the slow participation in what someone recently called the "oppressed" people
of Colchester; and the vast size of the space.

For Hyperstition, what is fascinating is the level of elaborate and painstaking "research" behind this one;
and the systematic transformation of Slack Space, a true Installation.

Just a cautionary thought from me. More a wondering speculation. What is the effect of the subject matter on the artists, when you pore over so much dark stuff for months; dreaming up and disturbing and unsettling material. I think in a way the stem cell bits, and the gentler archaeology reality, including beautiful doorways,
kept the feet on the ground; and there are three sentences or so in the long blurb about our not being able to comprehend the universe from our narrow earthly view, which
is definitely what I believe.

Thank you all for a very surprising and memorable evening.

hyperstition feedback

Julia Curle wrote

I had never been to an installation before and had not known what to expect but was fascinated by it. I love that we explored the space with torches as it really made it such an individual experience and made me feel like I was investigating the room and looking for clues.

The thing that most occupied me was the characters of the scientists who had been there. I don’t know if I particularly focused on that because I am an actress or if most people do, but I was drawn to the post-it notes that gave clues to their personalities and little bits of humour amongst the research.

There were so many other touches I loved and I could be writing all night if I go into all of them. I felt like I was on a film set and my boyfriend felt like he was in a computer game and should have a riffle with him, so we experienced it very differently and both really enjoyed it.

hyperstition feedback

Mixmage wrote

The installation was genuinely unsettling: it really did feel like a scene of crime after the cops had taken away any living (and not so living) bodies, leaving us (the investigators) to piece together just what the very fuck had occurred. I thought the "leaked MOD timeline" was an excellent preamble which had my mind whirring, trying to imagine what I was about to witness. I was glad that I didn't read the concept document until after my viewing, allowing the installation to speak for itself. Bringing us in through the service area, the whole raising of the shutter, all served to heighten the anticipation. Sending us directly into the viewing room-turned-altar was a kind of psychic slap.

I didn't trust my companion from the moment we got in there. I suspected her of being "in on it", perhaps leading me or serving to highlight important fragments that I might have overlooked... mostly, I had to keep an eye on her in case she suddenly went batshit and started picking up rusty tools.

So... genuinely unsettled.

The sounds emanating from the Cthulu plinth were extremely disconcerting, I was too (I admit) scared to approach the altar until the half hour was just about over. It was the sudden sounds that caught me off-guard and made me think the statue had moved in my peripheral vision. That said, the one aspect that sold the scene more than any other was the smell. As soon as I walked in my hackles were up: the combination of smouldering incense and putrefaction (is that shit? have they used real faeces?) hit me like the word "Newcastle" to John Constantine.

This is bad. Really. Bad.

Add to all this the fact that the torches only gave a very small circle of light, and were off by default... well...

I've worked in FX a bit, done make-ups and gore for fun (I'll link you to my flickr below) so I was quite ready to have to suspend my disbelief. Instead, I found myself using it as a shield. The altar was quite clearly an altar - not just a bit of set-dressing of what an altar *might* look like. The books and documents - all real. The smell, the flesh, likewise. I had to analyse the way the blood was settling, examine the contents of the backlit specimen jars, note the Futurama cypher, dwell on the pop-cultural references (all work and no play makes jack a dull boy), translate the inscriptions (If you can read this you're too weird)... basically tread water in this immersive installation. Both my co-investigator and I tested every door - a clear indicator that really we wanted more - I think we were both relieved and disappointed that the other toilet cubicle turned out to be unused... the fact that she came and got me before she opened the door didn't do anything to allay my suspicion of her, but perhaps hinted at her own disquiet.

To sum up, I would use the word "dense": so much detail, so many cues, so much deeper and broader than a mere set-dressing. I regretted not having brought a camera. Please tell me you took some photos!

So... what next? Is that it for the Hyperstition installation, or do you plan to recreate it elsewhere? I know it's expertly and inextricably tied to the location and its history, do you think it could work elsewhere? Or perhaps keep it in Colchester, but weave it into a larger event...

Facebook | MAGUS

Facebook | MAGUS: "Brian Boyington I'd just like to say that Hyperstition was excellent on Saturday night. I have always suspected a great evil lurks within the bowels of Colchester, and now I have seen it's effects upon the minds of investigators into the strange and unexplained."

Facebook | MAGUS

Facebook | MAGUS: "Dave Plumb writes 'you know me like a bit of gore cannot believe how scared the girls were. They were so funny. thanx that made my Saturday evening! The funny smell and darkness made it work!! Coming in fro the rear of the building made it spooky too!'"

Facebook | MAGUS

Facebook | MAGUS: "Ciara Jack Hyperstition had to be one of the most clever, inventive and terrifying things I've ever been to! The amount of effort that obviously went into it is staggering, and the creativity of it all is mind-blowing. Everywhere you looked there was something you hadn't seen before, it also had it's own creative beauty. Magus are officially the shiz :D :D"