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Matthew Bird: An immersive encounter with the afterlife


Fri 8 Dec - Fri 22 Dec 2017



MTalks | The Afterlives of cities
Saturday 16 December, 3-4pm: Discussion with experimental architect Matthew Bird; astrophysicist and ARC Future Fellow, Daniel Price; architect and urbanist Charity Edwards; and architect and VR designer Tom Morgan.

MMeets | Matthew Bird: An immersive encounter with the afterlife
Friday 8 December, 6-7pm: Performance, followed by music from DJ Tomb Raver (7-9pm)
Saturday 16 December, 6-7.30pm: Performance and Q&A with Matthew Bird, Daniel Von Jenatsch, Phillip Adams and Pia Interlandi
Thursday 21 December, 6-7pm: Performance, followed by music by DJ Shoplifting

In this MProjects specially designed for MPavilion 2017, artist and experimental architect Matthew Bird will transform MPavilion into an interactive installation, inviting audiences to experience an immersive and performative encounter with the afterlife.

Multidimensional in nature, this is an installation that seeks to challenge aesthetic, cultural and behavioural concerns, rendering Bird's creative curiosities of esoteric and metaphysical space.

The installation will be composed of a celestial field of reimagined bells that will produce chance and compositional harmonies, will invite playful audience manipulation, and will culminate in a series of commissioned performances in collaboration with composer Daniel Von Jenatsch, choreographic artist Phillip Adams and fashion designer Pia Interlandi. This visual and sonic installation will transform MPavilion into a spirited and experimental instrument with the aim of creating a responsive, transcendent and nondenominational performance dialogue with the hereafter.

Programmed around this immersive installation are a series of twilight performance encounters, a public talk and the launch of Monash University's newly formed urban research lab 'The Afterlives of Cities', with Matthew Bird; astrophysicist Daniel Price; architect and urbanist Charity Edwards; and architect and VR expert Tom Morgan. Over the course of its (after)life at MPavilion, seven local, emerging and established performers will activate the installation: Emma Riches, Tom Woodman, Rachael Wisby, Luke Fryer, Ben Hurley, Pia Lauritz and Timothy Walsh.

Matthew Bird will realise this project with the assistance of students from Monash Art Design & Architecture.

Visit MPavilion anytime during our opening hours to experience the installation in person, or come along to our mini-program of events for a closer look at the process and thinking behind this interactive experiment:

The Age Digital Edition: Dancing into the afterlife

An astrophysicist and an architect walk into a pavilion - and the rest is gold, writes An astrophysicist and an architect walk into a pavilion - and the rest is gold, writes Hannah Francis.

Many stars have a life partner. They're born together, spend their lives dancing around each other, and then die together. Sometimes, two dying stars collide and create a black hole. When they explode they create, among other things, gold.

'' We are the afterlives of stars,'' says astrophysicist Daniel Price. '' Everything you're made from came from a star that died and re-ejected everything into the universe. So that afterlife is very important for us being here - because without it, we wouldn't have all those elements that make up the earth, and make up us [humans].''

With the help of Price, an unlikely group of collaborators is exploring notions of the afterlife through an immersive installation and performance at MPavilion, Melbourne's annual public pop-up venue and architectural commission.

'' We're rethinking the death spiral with bodies,'' says artist and architect Matthew Bird. 'The entire floor [of the pavilion] will be turned into this giant black hole, or etching, of spiralling bodies.''

The pavilion itself will be transformed into a great, thunking instrument made up of jerry cans and dumb-bells suspended from the ceiling.

Choreographer Phillip Adams has enlisted seven dancers, armed with pieces of charcoal, who will attach to the instrument via their costumes, made by Pia Interlandi.

'' We really have nothing but everything in common,'' says Adams. '' This is one of the most experimental works that I've ever participated in.

'' I really can't predict what's going to happen,'' he says of this work, though describes the movement as '' primal' ' and sees parallels with dance and the curious relationship between paired stars.

'' It's sort of an unpredictable ritual,'' says Interlandi, who in her artistic practice creates garments for the terminally ill to wear into their physical afterlife. Daniel Von Jenatsch has created a soundtrack using audio samples of a black hole's genesis - something that scientists only captured for the first time recently.

'' Eventually they [the pair of stars] have both exploded so they both died, and what's left is this dense remnant thing which is like a giant atom in the sky [called a neutron star],'' says Price. '' They're so dense that they slowly spiral together and they actually distort space enough that we can hear the distortion.''

Humans have looked to the stars for spiritual guidance for millenniums. New frontiers in science and technology may be beginning to reveal some of their mysteries but, as the universe expands, humans' desire to conquer the unknown may be forever unquenchable.

'' The miraculousness of science is that there may be answers and there may be formulas but it's still no less of an absolute head---- that it's happened that way over billions of years,'' says Interlandi. She turns to Price: '' Is there a definitive end point with the universe where everything stops?''

'' It's a fade to black,'' says Price. '' Eventually there's nothing in the sky any more. Everything will have travelled away from us and died and there'll be nothing out there that we can see.''

As humans living on earth in the 21st century, Price says we're about halfway along that timeline. Or as Adams describes it: '' This is intermission.''

An Immersive Encounter with the Afterlife is at MPavilion, St Kilda Road, December 8 to 22, with performances at 6pm on December 8, 16 (including post-performance Q&A) and 21. mpavilion.org


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