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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Seance 2021

The spine-chilling shipping container experience is popping up on the Gold Coast — enter if you dare (and aren't claustrophobic).
By Concrete Playground
September 24, 2021
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By Concrete Playground
September 24, 2021
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After first spooking out southeast Queensland residents back in 2018, the unnerving Séance installation is returning to the region. This time around, it's bringing its big, white container to HOTA, Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast — from Wednesday–Sunday between Thursday, October 28–Sunday, November 14.

Unlike most shipping containers in the city, this one isn't being used to transport furniture. And, given that the word 'séance' is written on the side in black, it's definitely more than a little ominous. Participants will be able to take a seat inside, and then put on a headset. You'll next be told to put both hands on the table. The lights go out, leaving the place in absolute darkness — and, for 20 uneasy minutes, you'll be taken on an immersive journey led only by touch and sounds. Expect to feel confused, repulsed and struck with temporary claustrophobia. According to organisers, numerous participants have bailed halfway through sittings in the past.

You're probably thinking that there's something dark or supernatural about the whole thing — and going by the name, we don't blame you. But the installation's organiser says that 'séance' is simply a French word meaning 'session' or 'sitting'.

And so Séance is a sensory experience that looks at the psychology of both sensory deprivation and the dynamics of a group sitting together. It's a scary indicator of how easy it is for confusion, disorientation and information overload to affect our judgement. (We're serious when we say Séance is not recommended for the claustrophobic, the easily frightened or those afraid of the dark.)

Artists David Rosenberg and Glen Neath of Darkfield (who have collaborated in other sensory deprivation projects before) are the creative masterminds behind the project, which has been described as 'disorienting' and 'deeply unsettling'. And if need more of an idea of what you're in for, you might've listened to Darkfield's at-home experiences either last year or this year — such as Double, VisitorsEternal and Knot — and experienced a few bumps and jumps.

Séance in Sydney in 2017

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