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Invisible Music: an immersive digital meditation on disability

Invisible MusicPlatform 4’s acclaimed and unforgettable live event, Invisible Music, has been transformed into a new digital piece of work, blending film and soundscape to create an immersive and intimate meditation on hearing loss. Revitalising their gig-theatre roots in an all-encompassing aural headphone experience, this digital world premiere hopes to raise awareness for the 12 million individuals in the UK with hearing difficulties by exploring the sensation of having the frequency of your life’s soundtrack altered. Invisible Music will be available to stream online from Wednesday 15th July at 8pm.

This insightful collection of moving stories forms a loose narrative guided through enchanting musical moments and verbatim audio, drawn from the personal experiences of Platform 4’s Artistic Director, Catherine Church, her mother and others at her local lip-reading group. With striking projections by digital artist Barret Hodgson (Fatboy Slim; Motionhouse; Tom Dale Company) and the acoustic delights of Musical Director Pete Flood (Bellowhead; Marc Almond; Lol Coxhill) and Sound Designer Jules Bushell (Walk the Plank; Kneehigh; BBC), the film seeks to describe the array of emotions that come with hearing loss, from anger to loneliness, as well as the unexpected comforts in what we often take for granted – feelings which many will resonate with from their own experiences in lockdown.

Mixing a variety of musical instruments and sampled voices the company has created 15 short musically diverse moments, each examining a unique and often unexplored perspective. With a routine trip to Sainsbury’s becoming an exercise in the surreal, and everyday experiences proving abnormal and out of your control, participants can journey across the mesmerising soundscape and experience life behind the impairment.

Church comments, This is my most personal piece to date, inspired by my mother and her own experiences of gradually losing her hearing. Attending her lip-reading classes was quite a revelation, I hadn’t realised how much she was lip-reading. I was also struck by how many of these seemingly ‘proper’ people were having quite a hallucinogenic experience of the world day today! Living through the last few weeks of coronavirus has made me think about how the
gradual isolation that hearing loss brings is similar to the gradual losses we have all noticed in our lives in quarantine.

Keeping accessibility at the forefront, this digital experience will be captioned, enabling the message at the heart of the piece to be shared by a broader audience. The project has been supported by emergency funding from Arts Council England.

Numerous arts venues have come together in support of Invisible Music and will also broadcast the video on their own channels. These include Theatre Royal Winchester; Jacksons Lane; Southbank Centre; Lighthouse Poole; Colchester Arts Centre; Pound Arts Centre; Turner Sims Southampton; The Hot Tin, Faversham; West End Centre; The Stables, Milton Keynes; The Point Theatre; The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre; City Eye, Southampton; Cambridge Junction; EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge; Lakeside Arts, University of Nottingham; Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury; Exeter Phoenix; The North Wall; Marine Theatre; Quay Arts; and Norwich Arts Centre.

Running time 45 minutes
Website www.platform4.org
Twitter @4Platform
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