www.theatrealive.com.au/News/Monday_Musings_with_Skye_Gellmann, 23rd September 2013
Skye Gellmann is an Australian artist who is known for his unique vision of circus. Pushing the boundaries of what defines the artform and engaging audiences through alternative senses, his latest work Blindscape has toured nationally and now hits Melbourne for a limited season during the 2013 Melbourne Fringe Festival.
We nabbed a few moments to chat about his award-nominated work, and the marrying of technology and this beloved form of entertainment…
1) Tell us a bit about Blindscape? How did the concept for the show originate?
Blindscape is a sensory circus experience that combines physical theatre with game design. I first started working on it six years ago with programmer Dylan Sale, who lives in Adelaide. We made a game prototype for a 3D audio exploration game for computer, and we called it Blindscape.
In 2011 I had the idea to combine the Blindscape game concept with circus. It felt like the right match, since I hadn’t used sound in my shows for so long – so it was like going ALL out! Also, I wanted to make the circus in the dark. I started working with physical artist Kieran Law, and we devised ways to create circus that was integrated with the virtual. Working with sound designer, Thom Browning, and again with Dylan Sale for the programming, we redeveloped Blindscape into an App, which was a virtual world for our audience to explore. Gareth Hart came on board as producer, and since then we have toured nationally to places such as Brisbane, Sydney, Launceston, and now for the second time, Melbourne.
I think the result is something which [is] truly fascinating. 30 people in a room hot-wired into an audio-virtual-reality, wandering around in the dark, with circus popping up all around them.
2) What are you hoping audiences will take away from the show?
I hope they take nothing. We have 30 iPod Touches, that’s expensive gear! Experience-wise, I hope they go on an adventure through the backs of the sculls and burrow out their own foreheads. It’s a mixed reality experience; we want things to shift people’s perspectives.
3) Melbourne’s very blessed to have NICA located here, what did you study when you attended the school and how did you find the training?
Although I can’t speak for others, I was treated very well at the school, sent overseas a few times and I learnt many skills, including Chinese Pole and Rolla Bolla.
On my first day we were brought together and told we were now ‘elite athletes’. Quickly it became clear that we were no longer multi-faceted people. Over three years we were reduced down into some fine stock, and they prayed we might become something later. Luckily there are plenty of other ways to gain skills in circus / physical theatre. If you really want it, you’ll go and get it. I encourage people seek higher training overseas, make friends, or learn off Youtube.
4) What advice would you give other young people looking for a career in this aspect of the industry?
Pay little attention to the industry, just create what you want.
5) Who inspires you, and why?
I mainly feel inspired when I watch Youtube at the moment. Also, friends. Also, overseas.