The Space Between makes you part of the art

The Sechelt Arts Festival is committed to backing locally created, leading-edge projects, and the event called The Space Between is right out there.

“Projected imagery and immersive special effects collide,” the festival brochure says in describing The Space Between – an all-ages show that will transform the gallery space at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt into a unique visual and audio spectacle on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 14 and 15.

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Projected and shifting images, interactivity and looping video are some of the elements of modern immersive art installations, which are growing in popularity and diversity worldwide. They can be tricky to describe. But this show’s title provides a clue: “People visit within the art-work, they are in ‘a space between,’ a space where they are not just an observer of the art, but also a participant,” said Mieke Jay, co-producer of the event along with Steve Weave, under the auspices of their company, Coast Streaming.

“People will come in the front door and immediately be met by [a projection of] an upside-down willow forest,” Jay said. “You’re in this treed environment for the first six feet, then you’ll go around a bend and come into an area where miniature hot-air balloons are projected on the focal point of that part of the room. And then to your right, we’re going to have a social-media-ready photo area focused on a [projected image of a] big, white piece of furniture. People are going to be able to get within that and a rotating projection with different backgrounds.”

And that only describes the first two of the exhibit’s five zones. Jay and Weave are mounting 30 metres of opaque, white fabric to create temporary walls and new spaces within the centre’s Doris Crowston Gallery, customarily home to art that is stationary. This is not.

“You usually come into a gallery, see the hanging paintings, great. But that’s it. This is going to be a different space,” said Weave. “We’ll have the projections changing, we’ll have surround-sound audio. There’s going to be space to play and try things.”

Jay added that the installation will use five projectors, some interacting with each other. “We’ll also have one with a camera that will pick up the audience themselves so they can interact with and actually change the imagery just by moving.”

Jay and Weave hope this exhibit is just a taste of what’s to come on the Coast, inspired as they are by the Meow Wolf immersion in New Mexico (with Las Vegas and Denver locations to come), and with the huge and stunning Van Gogh immersion at L’Atelier des Lumieres in Paris. 

“Our long-term dream would be to see an immersive centre here, where we could have the work of an ever-changing list of local artists,” Jay said. “This is just a two-day pop-up, like a seed.”

The Space Between runs both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

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