Concept: Mattia Carretti
Choreography: Elena Annovi
Reviewer: Peter Jacobs
Dökk is the Icelandic word for darkness. Dökkis a digital and physical journey through the subconscious mind, exploring the balance between darkness and light, playing with perceptions of space and time and is presented as part of The Lowry’s welcomely-diverse Week 53 Festival.
The show contains three key elements: kinetically-responsive front and back digital projection, an original music score and soundscape by Fuse – sound design by Riccardo Bazzoni, and a physical performance within the projection by Elena Annovi.
Those key elements of the show are hard to fault. The digital projection, which integrates data coming directly from Annovi and social media, is technically flawless and beautifully clear. The sense is of an unseen digital world made visible. As if nothing can be seen but the energy that links everything together, that flows and erupts in direct response to the human present within it. It evokes the kind of science fiction where the human brain takes up 100% of its power and can visualise universes that exist unseen to the normal eye.
The aggressively-ambient drone soundtrack that accompanies the show provides the narrative voice that wordlessly paints emotions and experiences that cannot be otherwise expressed. The sound is excellent and punchily matches the visuals.
The central performance – which looks tremendous within the two projection screens enhanced with additional stage lighting that adds drenches of colour – is effectively done. Annovi cuts a striking, cinematic figure. Initially earthbound, the discreet addition of aerial wires enables her to progress to otherwise impossible moves of the sort made famous in The Matrix, before, for the second half, she is gently hoisted up and is literally suspended within the epicenter of the vortex that swirls and pulses around her.
Everything about Dökk is beautifully done: it is a visually impressive and occasionally unexpectedly beautiful show, and does live what would look impressive on the cinema screen. Unfortunately, however, after about halfway through the hour-long show, you start to realise that you have seen everything you are going to see. There are beautiful swirling patterns and more steadily-building moments of crescendo, but there is also a growing sense that there are no further surprises. The wow moments are in the past and boredom starts to creep in: or some kind of cranial overload.
The digital journey doesn’t really take you anywhere. There is insufficient narrative to make clear what is happening within the subconscious mind, and Annovi’s range of movement is limited within the space by her aerial harness, although she absolutely makes the most of her physical range within those limitations. There aren’t sufficient points of reference within the visuals, performance or sound to make narrative or emotional connection points with the viewer. After a while your imagination starts to give up trying to interpret and loses it grip.
Dökk is a beautiful show at the top end of digital stage production but somehow the scenery, no matter how beautiful, doesn’t provide enough interest to match its length.
Reviewed on 27 May 2018 | Image: Contributed