Alisha Rich thinks the moon can be very disruptive.
“Most people will sleep a third less on a full moon over the period of the night, just because of the intensity of the moonlight,” she says “And moonlight makes plants grow, for certain species it gives them the indicator of when they should be procreating.”
during Press Play a two-night event during Vivid, Rich is exploring lunar phenomena that affect us all, whether we consciously realize it or not. As Art Director of the event, she’s helping to turn two levels of George Street’s ivy into a lunar dreamscape of sound, light and performance. The idea is to take Rich’s moonlight revelations and dig deeper.
“We thought, let’s unpack that as artists, and let’s think about how we can tell that narrative through lighting design, and through sound design, and through that space,” she says. “Let’s just take a minute to think about this beautiful, behind the scenes thing that’s just going on day after day that we’re not really ever consciously aware of.”
The event – which runs over June 7 and 8 – has plenty to take in. On level one, sound artist Rowan Dix (Joyride) is evoking nocturnal hypnosis with a dreamy piano soundscape. “He’s stretched out some of his piano sounds 25.3 times, and he’s timed them all to the lunar cycle and to the tides,” Rich says. At the conclusion of Dix’s somnolent sounds, lighting designer Michael Hicks will transform the room yet again with a kinetic, free-flowing light installation, timed to the rhythms of the natural world.
On level two, costume designer Kirsty Barros is taking inspiration from light-reflecting fabrics and, to add to the surreal quality of the event, a sea slug. “We’ve been inspired by this sea slug called a lettuce slug, this gorgeous, ruffly little character,” Rich says. “We have two beautiful men wearing these weightless costumes which are hundreds and hundreds of ruffles piped with reflector piping.” The costumes indian at the broader theme of level two, which focuses on the influence of moonlight on the natural world.
“Level two is kind of the botanical labyrinth of Iceland,” Rich says. “From one side of that level to the other we’re making this frozen waterfall that will be projection mapped. You go out on the terrace and we’ve got a five-metre-diameter moon, and we’re projecting onto that the northern lights.”
The event is funded by Investment NSW as part of a bid to revitalise Sydney’s CBD. For Rich, the hope is that Press Play will be the start of a greater focus on ivy’s potential for more of these sorts of mixed media installations. “I fell in love with the ability for the venue to transform and take people away,” Rich says. “It’s just a real vessel for creativity. Using it for not only Merivale’s big club nights, but more experiential performance art on the other nights of the week is a bit of a dream of mine.”
Press Play runs from June 7 to June 8, with sessions starting at 6pm. Register for free tickets.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Merivale.