Technological theatre lights up the forest

16 Aug

Technological theatre lights up the forest

IMB Institute of Light - Tiny worlds hit the big time at Brisbane Festival in the latest spectacle of technological theatre from Counterpilot.

Take a journey of wonder into the heart of the rainforest and dare to discover the mysteries of the microscopic world in IMB Institute of Light at Brisbane Festival from 3 - 25 September.

IMB Institute of Light is a large-scale sound and lighting installation that illuminates the often-mysterious work of researchers at UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), who are celebrating more than 20 years of daring to unravel mysteries of the natural world.

Nathan Sibthorpe is a full-time theatre artist, performance-maker and the Director of Counterpilot Transmedia Performance Collective. Counterpilot specialises in creating high-tech, interactive theatre experiments combining a range of media and disciplines to tell a story.

Counterpilot in particular is design-driven, and we use a lot of technology as a way of activating our audiences.

Nathan Sibthorpe
Director of Counterpilot Transmedia Performance Collective

Previously creating works for Brisbane Festival using technology such as a polygraph machine and 3D printing, Nathan and Counterpilot are utilising LED pixel mapping and nearly 10,000 LED lights for IMB Institute of Light to help people discover and engage with IMB’s ground-breaking efforts to find clues to defeat devastating disease.

“IMB has been going for 20 years and they’ve made these amazing discoveries that a lot of people don’t know about, but it’s the things that are harder to summarise in a headline that we found exciting,” Nathan says.

“We latched on to this idea that the most influential scientific discoveries are the ones that aren’t trying to solve a really specific answer to a question. So, it’s not trying to cure a specific disease or say: ‘here’s a problem that we want to solve’.

“It’s actually just trying to dig deep into the mysteries of natural life and figure out how things work, because the more we understand how things work on a molecular level, the better equipped we are to solve problems. We related to that because so much of what Counterpilot does is fuelled by curiosity.”

IMB Institute of Light takes over a section of South Bank’s Rainforest Walk, within the BOQ Festival Garden, where Counterpilot have hidden a selection of IMB’s significant and mind-blowing science insights for audiences to discover using a trading card game-based system.

"In this public site you have to collect trading cards, which have ambiguous petri-dish samples on them – designs that are obscured versions of research discoveries – and you have to activate those trading cards in order to light up the forest."

“Our idea is trying to create this experience where you can awaken this natural space and find something really magical within it, but to do so you have to earn it. You have to work, you have to find the right things and put certain things together.

“We’re using this real space; it’s real people and we’re talking about real science, but we’re going to heighten it all and make it this strange, slippery, imaginative world where the rainforest is its own little research facility called the Institute of Light.

“For Counterpilot, it’s not about the technology as an end result; the technology is a means to an end and the end is always about the space between people and the way we participate in experiences, the way we’re put into a position where we are the main characters in these performance experiences."

Design is story for us.

IMB Institute of Light is at BOQ Festival Garden, South Bank from 3 – 25 September as part of Brisbane Festival. Entry is free.

IMB Institute of Light
Past Event
3 - 25 Sept

IMB Institute of Light

Australian Retirement Trust Festival Garden

Brisbane Festival expresses deep respect to and acknowledges the First People of this Country.