How did you get involved with working on festival set builds?
Just by asking! If you don’t ask, you don’t get. I initially did visuals for projection mapping or exhibit my light sculptures at events or festivals. Olive Berggren who I had worked with at Virgo festival, approached me to design The Hidden Palace. I was overwhelmed and almost didn’t go to the festival itself. If I fucked up, I’d fuck up BIG. But you have just got to be brave and do it.
How much does the location of a festival affect your designs?
I’m used to working internally, in enclosed site specific, four walled spaces or I’m designing for a screen. Taking familiarity into the unfamiliar, challenging conventional ways of live performances really excites me. It allow you to conjure so much more unrestricted possibilities, especially when you’re setting is in the woods. But even then, there were challenges in nature, the issue of branches (of trees) being in the way- we really didn’t want to disturb nature and hack of limbs of trees.
Also, without it being in a site specific space, initial design plans might not always work out. That was apparent for The Hidden Palace, we actually constructed the stage in a day and a half because of a delay with the trussing. I’m used to preparing content prior a show but with set builds, there are many factors that can change when you’re on site and it might not go as planned. You got to be on the ball, have a contingency plan. It’s always about problem solving. I like finding loop holes.
Are there any particular emotions, colour schemes or moods you have in mind during the design process?
Bipolarity. Dead and alive. Anxious!
Last year you helped build the Hidden Palace stage as well as designing the iconic eye logo. Please tell us about your creative process behind these two projects.
We were after a voodoo vibe. I’m interested in the occult, in particular the different rituals within cult religions. I find it all quite romantic in a melancholic sense. Haha. Shrines, places of worship are regarded as a holy shelter, a sanctuary of a scared entity - the music, in this case. Stages are shrines, a place for devotion and celebration of the music religion. Festivals create a communal realm for individuals to a share sense of belonging and connection.
"Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye." was a phrase that went through my mind, it originated from the 90's oath to solemnly keep a promise, or a secret, hidden…The occult eye symbol is actually a tattoo on myself. The symbol is at times portrayed with a ray of light. It was a mystical moment when it illuminated in reality.
There’s a cross over relationship in my work where I utilise skills from my different specialisms, experience and senses to attain new ones. I go through a cognitive process when designing. I adapt what I already know and apply it to what I don’t, to generate new knowledge.