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Exploring Distorted Constellations at Brighton Festival

8 May, 2019

Kings Brighton academic student Yoshi Ortiz Leal reviews 'Distorted Constellations', an exhibition of sound, projections and holograms, currently on display as part of Brighton Festival 2019. Photos by Gabriela Braga Rabelo dos Santos.

Brighton Festival is a celebration of art, music, theatre, dance, circus, film, literature and more, that takes place during the month of May. The list of events is long and can be found online on the website for the festival, and I encourage attempting to attend several of them, at least the free ones.

There is a free exhibition in particular which I recommend visiting this month: Distorted Constellations by Nwando Ebizie, at Lighthouse from 4th to 19th May.

It is a show presenting a reality different to what is common, especially as it is the one of the artist who was diagnosed with Visual Snow, a rare neurological disorder that causes visual distortions such as flickering dots, auras and glowing lines. This is all information handed out at the entrance in a pamphlet, including a description of the event and its purpose, as well as the artist's personal story and an illustration of how she herself came to an understanding of her condition.

The main installation can be found downstairs of the reception area, and consists of a labyrinth formed out of screens and threads through which holograms and videos are projected. What is fascinating about it is the shift of what you see depending on where you stand. From outside it’s interesting how the light bends when in contact with the spectators, whilst inside you find yourself immersed in between the lights, at times resembling rain and at others static. It is rather fascinating to follow the projections and the lights, all while moving around and noticing the small changes your position brings to your perspective.

Then there's the music. I've always found I'm unable to judge music as I'm not an expert, so the most I can do is judge whether or not it is enjoyable, and the imagery it inspires me to see across my mind. Inside, the sounds make you feel this a sort of glitch, a strange struggle against something — whether someone's own reality, or the fight against the reality presented by society which is sometimes unable to see that there are people who see the world differently.

Once you leave the room — the event allowing you to come and go as you wish — there is another room on the ground floor near the reception area. The Sensory Antechamber is a place you can visit before or after the main event downstairs, where you can lose yourself to drawing across a piece of brown paper with black chalk, listening to a variety of sounds through a pair of headphones, while you lie down on the cushions laid out on the floor.

You can crawl, metaphorically, into the inflatable egg in the room, inside which the entire world suddenly disappears. All your worries and fear just vanish, almost as if you were inside your mother's belly, which I believe to be the main theme of it. A child still in the mother's womb, or rather a chick inside an egg, protected from the dangers and the horrors of the outside world, a chick in a silence so embracing one gets lost in the tranquility — only to realise time has passed and others are waiting to take your place!

If you find the time, do pass by and explore this creation, see the world through her eyes and lose yourself to the sensations. It won't take long to take a quick look at the projections, although I would say it is preferable to take your time and watch the lights and the movements and listen to the music.