DISTORTED CONSTELLATIONS | MAY 2019
May 4-19, 12-7pm (closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
Lighthouse, 28 Kensington Street, BN1 4AJ
Brighton Festival 2019
Enter an Afrofuturist, mythical landscape that explores what it’s like to see the world through someone else’s eyes.
Presented in partnership with Brighton Festival, Distorted Constellations is an exhibition that uses sound, projections and ritual to immerse the audience in the imagined landscape of the artist’s brain.
Date: May 4-19 (closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
Opening times: 12-7pm (due to events the installation will close at 4.30pm on Saturday 18 May)
Venue: Lighthouse, 28 Kensington Street, BN1 4AJ
The exhibition is free
The work is inspired by Ebizie’s rare neurological disorder Visual Snow, which causes visual distortions such as flickering dots, auras and glowing lines. The audience will experience a mythical version of the disorder, entering an alternate Afrofuturist (a black perspective on the politics and culture of science fiction and technology) reality, inspired by research into the neuroscience of perception and drawing on rituals of African origin.
In the exhibition, partitions, screens and threads will create a labyrinth through the space, with walls doubling up as screens where holograms and videos are projected. These architectural elements will guide the audience through the space, and create the experience of Visual Snow.
Distorted Constellations is an interdisciplinary exhibition that combines art and science, and aims to increase our understanding of rare neurological disorders and the subjective nature of sense perception.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of performances – details below.
Nwando Ebizie discusses the inspiration behind Distorted Constellations
Distorted Constellations consists of a reception area, and two rooms. The rooms are called Install and Sensory Antechamber.
Access to the Install is by stairs or a platform lift.
We are experiencing technical difficulties with our lift, please email email@example.com to arrange wheelchair access to the exhibition.
The lift can hold a maximum weight of 300kg. It is designed to carry two people and one wheelchair, however in cases where a power motorised wheelchair is very heavy it may only be possible to hold one wheelchair and one person. The platform lift is run by the user inside the lift pressing a button and keeping it pressed down until the desired floor is reached. Lighthouse staff will assist with use of the lift.
The Install is a large, dark room lit by projected lights and pictures. Some of the lights flash.
Music will be playing during the performance. There are no sudden loud noises.
Gauze and string are hung in the space. You can carefully touch the gauze and the string.
You are invited to watch the visuals and listen to the sound.
You may stand up, sit down or move around.
You may leave the space and return to it at any time.
On the ground floor you’ll find an experimental prototype of a sensory antechamber, designed to complement the main installation. Feel free to spend time there before and after visiting the installation. The sensory space has been designed with the needs of neurodivergent people, including autistic people, in mind.
It is a proposition for a new way of thinking about semi-public spaces, like arts venues, and what could be included as standard. It is a proposition for accessibility as creativity. The antechamber is an attempt to design a space for the contradictions of the intersections of spectrums which the artist, and others, experience. We invite people to feedback their own access needs and what they would like to see in such a space.
The Opening Ceremony, performance and talk
Date: Saturday 4th May
Time: 5pm – 7.30pm
Tickets: Sold out
Join us for a multisensory encounter presided over by Nwa-Kpa-Kpa-Ndo (one of Nwando Ebizie/ Lady Vendredi’s alter egos). An elemental journey through intimacy towards ecstatic release. Participate or spectate. Be scientist or artist. Allow your perceptions to alter.
The ceremony will be introduced by artist Nwando Ebizie, followed by a performance with ritual practitioner and Haitian dancer Karine Label.
You’ll then be invited to experience the installation, leading into an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) inspired storytelling performance by Nwando Ebizie:
- Cushions are brought into the space
- Three female performers walking around offering hair brushing, hand lotion, head massage etc. It’s ok to say no to any touch. – Touch will not be intimate.
- Pancakes are made. Food will be shared (vegan and gluten-free). There is no pressure to eat this food.
Haitian Ritual Dance Workshop
Date: Sunday 5th May
Time: 10am – 1pm
Maximum 20 participants.
Nwando has explored Haitian Vodou dance as part of her extended research for Distorted Constellations – using ritual training and certain techniques; actions, songs and ritual structures to see if they could alter the consciousness of the performer.
Join us for an energetic Caribbean dance workshop delving into the soothing and powerful movements of Haitian Vodou. In Haiti, dance symbolises the cohesion between the elements, between this world and what lies beyond. Experienced teacher Karine Label will lead us from flowing, undulating movements for purification, to fiery rhythmic movements for empowerment and revolution. The work will connect inner and outer worlds, invoke intimacy and ecstatic release, all with the aim of balancing the self and the group.
20 Minutes of Action, performance
Date: Saturday 11th May
Tickets: Sold out
Ebizie will perform a visceral rage-ritual and dance piece based on mythopoetic movement of African origin and imagined neural pathways. 20 Minutes of Action is inspired by retellings of European and African folk tales and rituals about women. The performance features an analogue electronic score and immersive projection, and takes place within the Distorted Constellations installation. It draws on the artist’s research into perceptual disorders and dance through Haitian Vodou, Vogue and Ballet.
The performance will be followed by a discussion with Nwando Ebizie.
Intimacy/Touch/Tingles + Closing Salon
Date: Saturday 18th May
Maximum 20 participants
Tickets: Sold out
A relaxing, immersive performance exploring Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response in an intimate setting. Storytelling, touch and movement provide a journey into the psyche to find out if you experience ASMR – a relaxing, tingling sensation across the scalp and spine in response to particular triggers.
Closing Salon (The World of Visual Snow talk + closing party)
Date: Saturday 18th May
In 2014, Nwando Ebizie became aware that she experienced a different reality to that of everybody around her. She realised that she was the only one who constantly saw the space around her full of swirling coloured, translucent dots (like a George Seurat painting), glowing lines, auras, light bursts and halos. She realised that she had Visual Snow – a seemingly rare neurological disorder that the science community is just beginning to understand.
Join Neuroscientist Dr Francesca Puledda for an exploration of the rare neurological syndrome, Visual Snow. The condition causes people to experience reality overlaid with ‘tv static’, halos, auras and non-visual symptoms including tinnitus. Francesca and Nwando particularly invite those with Visual Snow and other neurodiverse people to experience the installation and attend this talk.
The night will close with a DJ set by Nwando/Lady Vendred’s alter ego – Nwa-Kpa-Kpa-Ndo
Nwando Ebizie is a multidisciplinary artist whose work combines performance art personas, experimental theatre, neuroscience, music and African diasporic ritualistic dance. Carving out her own particular strand of Afrofuturism, she combines research into the neuroscience of perception (inspired by her own neurodiversity) and an obsession with science fiction with a ritualistic live art practice.
She has curated happenings for Wellcome Collection and released records supported by Gilles Peterson. She has performed in Tokyo (Bonobo), Rio de Janeiro (Tempo Festival), Berlin (Chalet), Latvia (Baltais Fligelis Concert Hall) and Zurich (Blok), as well as across the UK from Home MCR to Barbican to Southbank Centre. Her most recent project, her first solo exhibition, took the form of a ritual immersive tech landscape and was presented as part of Home MCR’s Push festival at Caustic Coastal.
Distorted Constellations is co-presented by Lighthouse and Brighton Festival, with support from Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. The project also received funding support from Arts Council England.
Distorted Constellations was originally commissioned by Eclipse and HOME as part of Slate: Black. Arts. World. Funded by Wellcome Trust and Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists.
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