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What is it?

Sarah with face upturned in darkness, galaxy-painted, Noah's arms reachingEnter the Void is an immersive performance installation. In other words: we aim to take the audience on a voyage from Earth to deep space and back again, using dance, poetry, theatre, and a lot of careful lighting, set, and sound choices. Visitors are ushered through a portal to the deep space area in a black box theatre, where the dance performance occurs. The poetry is available to help guide your experience, and is printed, not performed. You can enjoy an ambient soundscape or opt for ear plugs for a more floaty, sensory-deprivation-style experience. After about half an hour, we bring you back through the portal and check you back into reality.

How did it come to be?

This project is just as much my heart-child as my brainchild - it's been a labor of love. I've learned a lot of new skills over its development; I didn't realize at first just how deep it would go. It was my first time collecting and editing open submissions for poetry; I had to learn a new array of formatting and publishing skills and software; I decided on a whim to learn Javascript because the Oracle was too cool an idea not to build; I composed the soundscape (using stochastic generation, a la John Cage); I set the movement scores; I designed the dancers' look and painted it (with Noah Hirka's help); I sewed the costumes; I handpainted every zine cover (in large sheets), hand-folded every zine, hand-cut and stickered every admissions ticket.

Noah, galaxy-painted in darkness, one arm upraised

It has been worth it to see the vision come to life. I love the unknown parts of the universe - the deep dark vast and unknown places, whether they are at the bottom of the sea (someday I'll do that project) or the void between the stars. Space is particularly alluring as a queer and disabled person. I'm interested in how far outside the human experience it is to exist there, and how untouched it is by human hands. What would my body experience be like on a cosmic scale? Without gravity? With its own gravity? What would it be like to exist beyond the strictures of society? I think that is part of the place where queerness comes into it; the overwhelming majority of contributing artists to this project are queer and/or trans. It's something strange and beautiful and uncontrolled, beyond the scope of societal relevance - as we maybe wish to be. And if it's glittery, too.... let's go! Plus it is vast and explosively powerful. But at the same time, it's empty (probably), and dark, and quiet. It's power, and it's mystery, and it's escape. And it is so beautiful.

I am eternally grateful to my friends, partner, and Patrons for their support. I had doubts so many times, and there were (as with all performances, especially interdisciplinary ones) many small and large crises along the way. I had never before tried to weave so many of my genres - plus a few new elements, like the Javascript - into one whole before. It has been easy to hold in my own mind, but hard to extract and convey to others. I hope you'll see it, and understand.

What sources does it draw from?

In addition to assistance from a lot of wonderful humans - see the contributor bios page, plus I had help from Matt Brittenham-Jones (our photographer) and consultation from Sara Glasgow (my makeup art mentor) - the Void project has benefited from a lot of Creative Commons-licensed media (links below) and open-source software. At one point or another, I've used Atom, Audacity, Calibre, GIMP, and OpenOffice in design and creation. The project has been financially supported by Patreon backers, who have also been my best cheerleaders! Standard print zines got printed by local printshop Vantage Press, and Braille zines were made by the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Thank you Lori!

two dancers seated on dark shapes under stark spotlight, arms and legs raised at awkward angles

For the soundscape, I used some GarageBand instruments, and a bunch of audio samples from the amazing community resource They are: