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Unsettling Installation 'Seance' Is Coming to The Goods Line and Bringing a New Immersive Experience with It

The spine-chilling experience is heading back to the Harbour City with a new interactive counterpart — enter if you dare (and aren't claustrophobic).
By Concrete Playground
March 09, 2023
By Concrete Playground
March 09, 2023

After first spooking out Sydneysiders back in 2017, the unsettling Séance installation is returning to the city. This time around, the set of shipping containers hosting the immersive experience will be set up on The Goods Line outside of the Powerhouse Museum Ultimo — and it'll be joined by a new Sydney-first experience called Flight.

Once inside Séance or Flight, expected to be unnerved. If you're not familiar with the installations and didn't have the chance to visit last time, a word of warning: it's aiming to mess with your senses.

Between Thursday, April 13–Sunday, May 28, participants at Séance will be able to take a seat inside the space 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'.

Flight, Mihaela Bodlovic

It's a sensory experience that looks at the psychology of both sensory deprivation and the dynamics of a group sitting together. It's also a scary indicator of how easy it is for confusion, disorientation and information overload to affect our judgement.

Then, with Flight, the power is placed in your hands. Taking place in a recreation of an aeroplane cabin, the experience takes you through an equally unsettling experience where you're forced to make choices. At each step of the way there are two possible outcomes, some worse than others.

The installation plays on the theory of the multiverse where, if you head down a more unsettling pathway, you can at least find solace in the idea that another version of yourself has made the correct decision.

"We invest a lot of time in looking for the right space to house our productions, and so to be presenting these at Powerhouse Ultimo, one of the country's most innovative cultural institutions, feels really special to us," says Realscape Productions' Amy Johnson.

"We're truly delighted to be bringing our original production of Séance back to Sydney for those who missed out or are eager to experience it again, and of course, we can't wait to see the reactions of audiences as they experience Flight for the first time."

This new iteration of Séance at the Powerhouse Museum Ultimo will mark its first appearance in Sydney in six years after the experience originally appeared in The Rocks back in 2017. It was scheduled to make its return to Sydney in 2021 with an installation in Circular Quay, but was unfortunately cancelled.

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'. You might've also listened to Darkfield's at-home experiences in 2020, such as Double, Visitors and Eternal, and experienced a few bumps and jumps.


Séance and Flight will appear at Powerhouse Ultimo, 500 Harris St, Ultimo NSW between Thursday, April 13–Sunday, May 28. For more information and to buy tickets, head to Darkfield's website.

Published on March 09, 2023 by Concrete Playground
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