Presented in The Lowry’s huge, 1,700 seat Lyric Theatre, IRIS is an installation created using cutting-edge robotic and laser technology. Drawing upon perceptual research, with robotically-controlled lasers choreographed to create moving shapes out of the darkness, this performing light sculpture results in “the whole auditorium becoming a canvas”, according to Ersis Han Ersin of Marshmallow Laser Feast, the studio behind the piece. This way of staging IRIS is a focussed attempt to reach new audiences: presented outside of a gallery, and running before select shows in the Lyric Theatre, the installation will surprise theatre-goers with some cutting-edge digital art.
IRIS comes from one of Europe’s most innovative (and intriguingly-named) digital art collectives. Though it might sound like the ideal children’s birthday party, London-based creative studio Marshmallow Laser Feast actually works at the intersection between art, technology and science. Described as a “kinetic sculpture” by Han Ersin, IRIS plays with the ways in which the human eye and mind constructs our sense of space, by creating illusions of architectural scale.
It’s a continuance of MLF’s interest in perception; past projects include a 360° virtual reality experience that enabled audiences to ‘see’ through the eyes of a dragonfly, frog or owl as it travelled through a forest, complete with binaural soundscape. Commissioned by Abandon Normal Devices, In the Eyes of the Animal won a Wired Innovation Award. IRIS takes a different approach, tricking its audience into sensations of sculptural form – but it’s also all about transforming the way in which we think about theatres.
For those who don’t have tickets to performances during the run, there will be free public viewings (11am-4pm 27 & 28 May; 10.30-11.30pm 10, 17 & 24 June; 10.30am-11.30pm 8 July) – simply report to the info desk at The Lowry on arrival.