Friday, September 17, 2021

‘Liminality’ is the theater of the mind that explores between

So suppose it is the theater of the mind. The 70-minute production is divided into various sections, some of which are immersive soundscapes and audio performances, and others that are more guided meditations. These are interrupted by three short films that viewers watch through VR headsets.

The sound of plush gongs and dreamy soundscapes announce an introspective performance tailored to each audience member’s imagination. A narrator talks to you through a guided scene where you are to discover a field, trees and your childhood self before swimming into the ethereal realm. WARNING: Your mileage may vary. Exercise gives you wisdom or a short nap depends on your own mental performance (my experience skews closer to a siesta). Either way, the segment, which books up “Liminality,” is the most pedantic and least interesting part of the show.

It’s more a flaw of the script than the technical elements of “Liminality,” which does not disappoint. The sounds are lush and ethereal; Even the thunder and rain of thunderstorms are presented with such a sonic amplitude during an audio segment called “The Doldrums” about a captain and crew stranded at sea Completely dry and shocked to find shelter at the conclusion of the scene. . The lights, from the changing colors of the room to the soft beams of Edison bulbs in the overhead lamps, to the ultraviolet glow giving my T-shirt lettering an iridescent nightclub glow, is phantasmagoric.

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But it’s the VR-based segments that are transporting the most. The first VR short film, “Life-Giver”, created by Peter Lindblad and Alexander Ronberg, follows a family on a journey to capture the last transport ship from a dying, post-apocalyptic Earth. The second, “Mind Palace”, written and directed by Karl Krauss and Dominic Stockhausen, is a sensual, impactful examination of the end of a relationship. “Conscious Existence” is the last VR film created by Mark Zimmerman in collaboration with MOFE. It is a wonderfully illustrated survival journey through the terrestrial landscape and the far reaches of space.

The vibrancy of the visuals, combined with the tactile vibrations of a VR device – the rendering of crashes and earthquakes – create an experience that combines the urgency of theater, the visual dialect of film, and the technical rush of gaming. It all adds up to a surprisingly immersive feat of world-building: You can survey a sky full of constellations above or look up to see the wreckage of a broken Earth extending toward a horizon. (Audience members who wear glasses, however, with people prone to dizziness, all this Matrix-esque exploration can be exhausting and disruptive.)

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'Liminality' is the theater of the mind that explores between
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