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This Shipping Container Holds Melbourne's Most Unsettling Immersive Art Installation

The temporary Federation Square installation involves sensory deprivation and information bombardment.
By Jonathan Ford
November 01, 2017
By Jonathan Ford
November 01, 2017

There's a big, white container sitting in Federation Square. It looks innocent enough at first, but, like most shipping containers in the city, it's not being used to transport furniture. And the fact that the word 'séance' is written on the side in black makes it seem kind of ominous.

But Séance is actually a new installation where participants take a seat inside the tiny space, put on a headset and place their hands flat on the table in front of them. The lights go out and the container enters complete darkness. For the next 15 minutes, participants are fed 'suggestible information' through their headsets.

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 assures us that 'séance' is simply a French word meaning 'session' or 'sitting'.

And so Séance is a sensory experience that looks at the psychology of a group sitting together. Despite not being a horror or supernatural-themed piece, it's a scary indicator of how easy it is for confusion, information overload and the people siting right next to us to affect our judgment.

Artists David Rosenberg and Glen Neath (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'. It's not recommended for the claustrophobic or the easily frightened.

After its Melbourne residence, the installation will head to Sydney (November 22 to December 10) and Brisbane (dates to be confirmed) so they, too, can experience this madness.

Séance is open daily, three times an hour between 12pm and 10pm until November 12. Tickets cost $20 each and you can purchase them through the website.

Published on November 01, 2017 by Jonathan Ford
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