Bristol (UK)

Bristol Digital Arts Festival

Festival Writing: Mike Pony

November 20, 2016 - by Mike Pony

Festival Director Mike Pony reflects upon his journey through Submerge.

Submerge Festival 2016: Fathoms

The sound of water dripping. A man takes a deep breath and plunges his face into a small circular bowl of water. A huge circular laser lake emerges. A pond, a well, an ocean? We slowly zoom into that water. We dive.

A dark place, somewhere under the surface. Cold all around. Ice. Slowly moving blue searchlights looking for the body (bodies). Angry voices, marginalised voices.

Your own funeral, a church. The circle is now red and sits upon the altar. The sea bed. Clay, blood. The voices are louder, but also more distant and harder to understand.

Bodies in a morgue. Darkness. A solid block of ice, like a tomb or a coffin. Total darkness and swelling, otherworldly sound.

Light. Ascending. The bodies in the morgue are moving, perhaps coming back to life. The birth of the universe. Can we start again?

What is left? The morgue is now dark and empty. Overwhelming sound. A long dark tunnel (another circle). British flags. A man floats face down in a swimming pool. Perhaps the same man from the beginning. What happened here? Will everything just continue to go round, in a great big circle? Do we learn from our mistakes?

Image: Jade Montserrat by Andrzej Zajac

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“The light drummed against his brain, bathing the submerged levels below his consciousness, carrying him downwards into warm pellucid depths, where the nominal realities of time and space ceased to exist.” - J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World