A six-metre platform sits atop a sea of some 40,000 illuminated steel spheres. It’s stunning to look at so you climb on to investigate and quickly discover that it’s alive. As you walk, it tilts, causing rippling waves of subtly shifting or cascading ball bearings to summon a complex oceanic soundscape.
The sounds can be tranquil or visceral - it’s all up to you. Oh, and to those (co-operative or vexatious) others who share the space.
As a percussionist and improviser, young Melbourne artist Matthias Schack-Arnott has collaborated with the top rank of contemporary composers (Steve Reich, Unsuk Chin, John Zorn and Liza Lim to name a few). But it’s his beautifully sculptural performance works and sound installations that have brought him to recent prominence, working with leading designers such as Keith Tucker and Tilman Robinson.
Groundswell is the third of Adelaide Festival’s interactive works of public art in Rundle Mall. Like Tatzu Nishi’s A Doll's House and Robin Frohardt’s The Plastic Bag Store, Groundswell can be happily enjoyed as straight-up, mind-boggling fun. But, by responding to every step you take, and making you mindful of your interactions with strangers, it’s also a meditation on our precarious individual and collective relationship with the earth: our literal ‘footprints’ can trigger unforeseen events, like hurricanes from butterflies’ wings.
It’s free and fascinating for young and old. Galumph or tread lightly, each moment is guaranteed to be different from the last.
"Visually and sonically exquisite."
- THE GUARDIAN