by Tash Cowley &
Robert Lepage, by Ella Mazur
“Every project comes with its own continent; oftentimes, I will need to know not only about costumes and sets and period music, but about humanity and psychology.”
Lepage takes a stroll through his explosive and infinitely fascinating career, discussing his upcoming Lighthouse Immersive collaboration, social responsibility in his work, and keeping his eyes on the creative horizon.
We were all very seduced by their approach to the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, and how open they were to alternative methods of presentation. The whole world of immersion is fascinating; it’s not just putting something on your head and saying, “Oh, I’m immersed.” It’s about where you go, what it smells like, the people there who you share it with, and I think that’s what the team at Lighthouse Immersive has understood. It’s not just some gadget that you download; it’s a collective, communal event.
Lighthouse Immersive are extraordinary collaborators because they’re incredibly open. The ways in which you bring grand culture to the masses is so important, and they understand that. That’s why it’s such a strong collaboration, because they can introduce and include audiences who may experience difficulties hearing music, for example, or difficulty reading poetry, or understanding art that’s too abstract. These are things that people can sometimes be afraid of—dirty words, even! And that’s the wonderful thing about Lighthouse Immersive; the possibilities available are as wide as the space in which we present these different events.
We have also been quite obsessed with introducing new technologies. For a long time, our work has been consumed by wanting to invite all the new tools in, to see how it triggers new ideas. We’re always telling the same stories, over and over again, so it’s about asking questions like, “What new things can we use to deepen these stories, or showcase them in a new light?” You need spaces for
that to happen, you need people to think in that way, and from the get-go we knew that we were dealing with people who were inviting these new mediums into a place that’s human and sensuous. When you think of VR and immersion, it can become “gadgety.” It’s always a debate between technicians. But Lighthouse Immersive has found a way of understanding how to make it popular, how to bring it to the masses, and we’re very excited. We’ve been discussing so many crazy, innovative ideas, and we’ll see how they come to fruition. I’m very interested in virtual reality, but I think that I’d be even more interested in developing an augmented reality project with them. That’s yet another new vocabulary.
How did this collaboration with Lighthouse Immersive evolve, and what might the future hold between Ex Machina and Lighthouse Immersive in the VR space?
The Library at Night
Read the full article in the print edition of Issue No.7!
Issue No.7 features in-depth interview with artists and arts organizations across 10 cities.