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Imaginary Opera

Ian Bourn
1992 & 1994

A HOUSEWATCH project

Imaginary Opera

Ian Bourn, Lulu Quinn, George Saxon, Tony Sinden, Stan Steele and Alison Winckle.

Imaginary Opera was a 25 minute piece that used architectural space, bicycles, performers, up to forty film loop projections and a live orchestra. It was initially commissioned by the Contemporary Music Forum of Kyoto.

Responding to the music of composer Steve Martland and using the street-facing windows and interior space of the Kyoto Prefectural Museum, the HOUSEWATCH artists collaborated to devise a complex ever-changing sequence of images.

From outside the building, the windows appeared to be crossed by dark shadows of cyclists apparently riding inside. After a period outside, the audience were allowed to enter the building where they witnessed the apparatus creating the illusion and also the live orchestra performing the soundtrack. To the projected 'shadows' were added real shadows as performers and audience moved between the projector beams. The theme of cycle wheels turning found its echo in the rotating film spools.

Imaginary Opera was recreated in London two years later using the Royal Festival Hall.

(HOUSEWATCH, formed in 1985, are a group of artists who work using light, film, sound and performance to transform ordinary urban locations and situations into new and exciting venues for events)

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