The climax of Dystopia987, the character 'Dambrin', christened after Didier 'GOL' Dambrin, coalesces and is released. Skepta performs, taking the role as the conjurer of the interaction and energy that Dambrin trains on.
The challenge of the space was to create a stage that felt authentic to the dystopian world we were building, whilst feeling technically capable of evolving and telling a story, physically, and through the performance. We wanted the stage to be constructed in a non-typical way with materials that don't break the rules of the world, with a design that allowed a physical closeness to Skepta in a strong gesture that evoked a feeling of a central, processing core.
The physical build of the stage was designed to exactly house layers of visual and lighting technology, the tight modular building method allowed us to create a very integrated form around the technology. Built around a vertical gesture housing dozens of moving fixtures, supported by an array of ground mounted lights, creating a column of moving light that was shrouded by a very new, transparent LED surface arrayed in 360 degrees.
The unique, long thin room meant we knew that the audience would have a controlled frontal perspectivce to the stage. That fixed perspective combined by with the visibility of the light core allowed us to create illusions of virtual objects being lit and interacting with the real light and real colour in the space. This dialogue between things rendered in a virtual plane, driving and being affected by things in the real world was part of the innovation brief from MIF.
The lightweight form allowed Skepta movement around the stage in 360 degrees, emerging and disappearing into the central core, and the transparency of all elements emphasised the central core by creating radiating shadows and patterns, as video and light rotated, and interacted with the hard structural forms.
The show itself was formed around an idea of a central core, and again the integration of form, technology and software was envisaged early on to work naturally and tightly together.
The visual system was built around an infinitely rotating cylinder of light that appeared to float in the centre of the stage, a digital zoetrope that span virtual geometries extremely fast, and on which we mapped and sliced flat textures. This gave us a strong, functional anchor for the visual direction. As the zoetrope span around in the virtual plane, it actuated the lights that occupied the same physical space. At other times the central lights would be the driver, appearing to illuminate objects from inside.
Client: Manchester International Festival 2019, SKEPTA
Creative Direction, Production, Design: TEM
Executive Producer: Valtteri Laihanen
Show Designer: Emile Frederick
Lighting Programming: Ben Donoghue
Disguise Programming: Iain Harvey
Disguise Integration: Daniel Bond
LED, Lighting and Show control: PRG
Stage Build: No Nonsense
Show Photography: Louis Reynolds, Priti Shikotra, Lioneyes, Anthony Devlin, Chris Payne
All Other Photography: TEM Studio
TEM is a design studio that takes moving image to new spaces to craft evocative experiences and tell meaningful stories.
Combining cutting edge visual technology with spatial design and a clear creative vision, we design interactions and experiences that exist at the convergence of virtual and physical space.
Our directors have worked with artists such as Beyoncé, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, James Blake, Coldplay, Yugo Nakamura, Primal Scream and Hans Zimmer, brands such as Rag & Bone, Selfridges, Alexander McQueen, Christopher Raeburn, MCM, Intel, and Apple.