The Invisible Wind Factory: Omphalos – ‘Energy Eternal’ review and pictures

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Invisible Wind Factory - John Johnson-18

Omphalos at The Invisible Wind Factory

As the team behind the Kazimier launch the Invisible Wind Factory, Getintothis’ Paul Higham feels the Eternal Energy in a creative rebirth and a vibrantly imaginative new beginning.  

This was a night best summed up by the parting missive from The Invisible Wind Factory‘s scientific guru Dick Warner. For while we may not have fully understood all that we saw in a theatrically conceived piece of performance art, this is merely the beginning of the creative collective behind the Invisible Wind Factory.

A new beginning, a rebirth, a rejuvenation. A summoning of fresh energy and revitalising spirit in a new location; a location of such scale that minimises physical constraints. The only limit is in their imagination and ambition. And tonight these were thoughtfully and impeccably combined in a performance that brimmed with ideas, virtuosity and, yes, energy.

The Kazimier – a photographic retrospective

Billed as Energy Eternal there was a tangible excitement in the air that the slate grey skies refused to dampen. Greeted by the affable Dick Warner we were first given a guided tour of what felt like part scientific theme park, part museum. Exhibits were displayed that traced the history of the Invisible Wind Factory‘s search for the source of a mysterious energy source. Some were interactive, all were accompanied by descriptive captions that charted the story.

To extract maximum benefit from the night you had to suspend disbelief and buy into the concept. The discovery of the Invisible Wind, a mysterious energy with the power to move objects; the search for its source; the corruptive power of ambition and competition and the ultimate failure brought on by the ensuing conflict.

It felt like an allegory for life itself and the rise and subsequent fall of man; where increasingly self-serving endeavours yield only ever more fruitless results. Yet in the ultimate lightning shock of self-awareness, the sudden understanding that Invisible Wind inhabits us all and creates an energy field that links each to everyone, there was an undeniable message of hope and optimism.

Which led into the performance element itself that followed on from the guided tour. Ushered into an octagonal performance space, reminiscent (dare we say it) of the Kazimier itself. We were greeted by four robed figures standing stock still, precariously elevated on plinths, and providing strong allusions to Pagan ceremonies and ritual.

With everyone seated in anticipation and the stage plunged into near pitch black darkness, a performance strong on ritual began. Doom-laden music accompanied a procession of robed lantern holders, who evoked the droning of the Invisible Wind by using tuning forks to captivating effect. Elemental aspects were added too, the use of a ring of fire enhanced the sense of ritual while also evoking a sense of primal energy.

Visually arresting throughout, the lighting seemed to fade in and out with gestures and rhythms. At one point the ring of fire that surrounded the stage seemed to ignite and die down in time with the beats of the drums. However elemental the energy source, it reminded that we have the capacity to harness it to use it for our own purposes.

The enduring impression created by the performance was in the use of voice to provide rhythmic and pulsing effects, switching variously between staccato percussive beats, mantra chants and near-operatic singing. It created a trance like effect that used repetition to momentous effect.

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of The Invisible Wind Factory

As a piece of performance art it was rich in symbolism that added to the story that had so captured our imagination earlier. Each figure, in turn and at separate points in the performance, offered up the cord that had held fast their robe before, as darkness lifted, revealing outfits of individuality and increasing flamboyance. In incorporating a shaft in the centre of the stage into which figures rose and descended, disappearing out of sight in plumes of smoke, it represented the union of the competing factions that, fractured by ambition, had pursued different directions in search of the Invisible Wind. In celebrating diversity and togetherness it shines a light on the path to a more harmonious future.

Musically the night offered a subtle contrast between the futuristic sounds of science fiction fantasy and the relics of a piously superstitious age. It fused the old with the new. The past informing the present and helping to shape the future.

In constructing the Invisible Wind Factory the Kazimier team have pulled off a near impossible feat. Stepping inside for the first time it felt like you had been there before. Like you’d somehow returned home. Despite the main room in its shape, height, space and light offering, unlike the performance space, little in the way of physical resemblance, it evoked an aura, a feeling. A feeling that for many now exists only in our memories, our imagination.

Imagination. These guys have it in spades. And in building on the memory of the Kazimier while harnessing a renewed sense of energy and ambition they have the capability to create something very special indeed.

Omphalos: Energy Eternal takes place at Invisible Wind Factory and continues until May 22. Tickets are available here.

Pictures by GetintothisJohn Johnson. Production Images by Ben Morgan.

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