Fringe Visual Arts and Design Review: Precession

What: Precession

Who: Sacred Resonance (Darren Curtis and Bradley Pitt)

When: 16-18 March 2018

Where: Adelaide Planetarium

How much: $15-$28 or $74 for family (tickets here)


Precession, in astronomy, refers to a slow, gradual change in the rotation or orbit of a celestial body. Such changes in the Earth’s axis of rotation create the astronomical phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes, which results in slow changes of the position of the stars in relation to Earth’s poles and their positions at the change of the seasons.

Such celestial movements, which take place over huge timescales, have inspired the duo behind Sacred Resonance to create Precession. In this 45-minute show, you will sit back on a comfortable reclining chair and gaze upon images of planets and galaxies projected onto the Adelaide Planetarium’s dome-shaped screen. The accompanying soundtrack is a mixture of classical music, notably Gustav Holst’s The Planets suite, and what we are informed are vibrations and data picked up by space probes and converted or ‘sonified’ into audible wavelengths – a high-tech, updated version of the music of the spheres. A bell-like singing bowl occasionally joins in.

Precession is a pleasant enough experience, if only for the novelty of sitting in the Planetarium’s excellent little auditorium. The projected images were fairly low in resolution and their quality tended to break the spell of the performance. The few sequences that showed abstract images, rather than planets or skyscapes, were much more immersive: I found myself mesmerised during these minutes. I think that the show would have worked better using either abstract animations or high-definition footage. The audio component was also interesting, reminiscent at times of large animals roaring, rainforest bird calls, or a thunderstorm. I didn’t feel more connected to the universe, but maybe I have too much of a literal or sceptical mindset for that.

All in all, Precession has room for improvement but is worth checking out. Sacred Resonance also have a couple of visual art shows running this Fringe season, and hopefully they’ll be back next year too.


3.5 out of 5 stars

Matilda Handsley-Davis

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