Prove your humanity

How often do we step into the uncomfortable and sit with ourselves in discomfort?

Lights reminiscent of the Hollywood sign flicker erratically, piercing radio signals interrupt the onlookers’ thoughts and a figure approaches… or does she? This dystopian world leaves people questioning whether they’ve been abducted by extra-terrestrial beings, are suspended in the fragile moment between life and death for half an hour, or perhaps catapulted through a black hole to another dimension? The answer to the mystified art enthusiasts? All and none of those things simultaneously.

Dance artist Rachel Arianne Ogle, manipulator of light Benjamin Cisterne and sound sorcerer Luke Smiles, harmonise motion, sound and light immersing audiences in a space equally chaotic, tranquil, confronting and meditative with i have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. Springing from a conversation off the back of precipice’s 2014 season, the trio discussed the design elements of the set and how the curvature of the screen could lend itself to a show of its own.

Rachel says nights spent delving into the mystery of the universe, and like any dedicated research team, watching a lot of sci-fi films together saw the birth of this apocalyptic world.

“We had a lot of conversations about black holes and kind of nerdy space stuff, as well as looking at how we manipulate or warp our sense of perception of what’s happening in space,” Rachel says.

A strong motif throughout the show is a pulsating red light not dissimilar to those flashing on a retro camcorder. However, in this instance, Rachel says the light nods to 2001: A Space Odyssey’s main antagonist HAL 9000.  A character serving as a metaphor for Frankenstein’s monster and the ways in which playing god backfires on humans, it was natural HAL featured so prominently in the work that explores death and souls beyond death.

Rachel says despite the various themes that resonate; this work is ultimately unopinionated.

“We were playing with those elements and seeing where they took us, but very much wanting to create an experience for the audience as opposed to conveying any particular message,” she says.

Stripping away themes, contexts or any literary interpretation we are conditioned to make about art, i have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night brings an assault to the senses, confronting audiences––Rachel says this is what she loves about it.

“There’s so much stimulation with the lights and the sound and I’m really in the thick of it, particularly in that second half when I’m receding back into the set, into the installation, getting very loud and very bright.

“I feel like that visceral experience takes over my body, that evokes lots of imagery for me and lots of emotional kinaesthetic responses in my body,” she says.

“I feel like I’m being completely taken by this world that is a very loud and sensorial experience to be inside of.”

“I hope that somehow the audience have their own visceral, sensorial, transportive or transformative response,” Rachel says.

Taunting the audience with a moment of reprieve midway through the show, Rachel is illuminated, bathed in light as she moves freely for the first time in the show; suspended in lilac. But the tranquillity is brief, broken by blackness before the throbbing red light and cacophony returns and Rachel’s measured, imperceptible movements see her shrink and the audience lean in, as she’s engulfed by light and sound––returning to stardust.

Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. – Sarah Williams, The Old Astronomer (1868)