Darkness, isolation and paranoia at Battersea Arts Centre’s Ring

You’re lost, in total darkness. The only things anchoring you to your surroundings are the sounds of other people, who can somehow identify you. You’re moving, but you’re sitting still – in a room full of people, but totally alone.

Ring chairs
No one wanted to play musical chairs

While this sounds like a terrifyingly cold-sweat inducing nightmare, it’s exactly the premise of new sound design and theatre piece Ring by director David Rosenberg, co-founder of now defunct London art space Shunt, and writer Glen Neath, to be hosted by Battersea Arts Centre this month.

Sound designers Ben and Max Ringham have recorded the sounds for the piece using binaural sound technology which creates a 3D listening sensation, aiming to cerate a disquieting sense of intimacy and paranoia.

Ring

Source: Suzanne Dietz

Earlier this year the centre unveiled new branding, created by designer Jake Tilson, and a new website by Them Design, as part of the centre’s £13.3million redesign, set for completion in 2015, led by architect Haworth Tompkins.

Battersea Arts Centre logo
Battersea Arts Centre logo

The project has seen the practice develop a technique that it calls ‘playgrounding’ – gradually testing ideas in different architectural spaces, of which the council chamber space that will house Ring is one.

Ring

Source: Suzanne Dietz

Shore thing

According to the venue, Ring represents an ‘antidote to choice’ and ‘a thrilling attack on [the audience’s] own identity’. Visitors enter the space, wearing headphones that amplify every sonic detail of the room. Through the pitch darkness, it’ll be almost impossible to decipher where you are and where you came from.

Ring

Source: Suzanne Dietz

Ring

Miranda Marcus, Battersea Arts Centre deputy communications manager, says, ‘It’s a very grand room with high ceilings, and I think that even in the pitch black you’ll be able to feel that.’

She adds, ‘Although you’re sitting quite close to other people the sounds create a 3D effect so that you can pinpoint where the sound is coming form, but you feel entirely alone. You’re in a room full of people but you’re isolated – you can’t interact with them in any way.’

Video:

Fuel presents Ring by David Rosenberg and Glen Neath

Ring runs from 11 – 28 March at Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, London SW11. For more information and tickets visit www.bac.org.uk

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