Review – A weekend in Amsterdam with Unfold.art

When one gets a random mid-winter message from the Editor of Decoded, asking would I like to head to Amsterdam and check out the Dutch purveyor’s Unfold.art new audio and light show called SORA?, well, one kinda sits up, thinks for a few seconds, and resoundingly says yes! The mission of Unfold.art can be succinctly summarized: “to show something to people that they’ve never seen before”. Packing my bags and gazing over the press release, I read “The medium for doing so is bringing large-scale kinetic light installations to black box spaces around the world and combining them with music to create stimulating audiovisual wonderlands”  “SORA is one of the biggest installations we have ever made in terms of scale. We got inspired by the volume of the Gashouder to create this new piece. We wanted to create a huge kinetic light installation in the center of the space where the lights and the movements are choreographed on an original soundscape”, says Noemi Schipfer, “SORA will be floating above the audience, close to the people to contrast the really high ceiling of the Gashouder. The idea is to play between two radical feelings of the space and develop a visual story out of it.” –  NONOTAK  I’m more than sold and already on the phone to hopefully catch up with a few friends whilst on the trip

Friday evening

I am in the beautiful city of Amsterdam (one of my favourite places to be) Walking into the already impressive cylinder of the Gashouder which is normally like an overwhelming charming but empty concrete igloo and being met by this (at first glance) minimal but all-encompassing production, but minimal it definitely isn’t. It’s a bit like being at a silent sit-down protest that you actually desperately want to be at whilst being Mesmerised like some sort of luminescent cult of lights, led by the very charismatic Dutch duo Naut Donders & Jeroen Fontein.

It’s profuse, beautiful, crossed between the best art installation you have ever seen and married with the amazing and enthralling live soundtrack of Japan’s NONOTAK who are incredible. Their music is ominous and exciting. 20 mins of ambiance suddenly turns into the heaviest breaks, reminding you of a cleaner and showered Aphex Twin. But as quickly as it started it abruptly finishes leaving you desperately wanting more. This is lucky as we have the full-on party with  Adriatique & Henrik Schwarz tomorrow.        

   

Saturday Evening                  

Walking up to the Gashouder this evening was a completely different story, there was excitement and awe all around, people literally buzzing with adrenaline, as I was ushered past the busy queue and into the venue I am hit again by the overwhelming light production but this time with thousands of wonderful dancing bodies, all anticipating the night ahead.

The music compared to the night before had gone up a gear in energy, not better not worse just there is no doubt that we are in party mode.  Adriatique & Henrick Schwarz are as great as they ever are but this is not about the DJs this is about what Naut & Jeroen have created it’s what they have birthed with Audio Obscura, they have mastered a spectacle with art and music which definitely has to be seen.

The line between art and music has always been blurry, but Untold-art has firmly erased that feeling and overwhelmingly created an assault on the senses that will flow more into the world of both, creating a unique bond that I can only want to see (and hear) more. I’ve been told Unfold.art will stage an exciting new concept every year and bring it to key cities across the globe. I can’t wait for my fellow Londoners to experience the same

Luke Brancaccio



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