“Hey, hey, have you ever tried… reaching out to the other side?”
Gone, Gone Beyond is an immersive a/v spatial cinema work by People Like Us (Vicki Bennett), which breaks the rectangle, smashing the thin screen into tiny fragments, looking beyond the frame, climbing through to see what’s behind.
The initial work was commissioned by Naut Humon, the founder of immersive theatre project RML CineChamber, Gone, Gone Beyond is a 10 screen / 6 or 8 speaker piece, with seamless wrap around projection and surround sound where the audience sit inside. It comprises of movie and musical compositions, animated and sample-based/musique concrète collage juxtaposed with content filmed/recorded by the artist, all sewn together in a giant patchwork. Pull on a thread and watch whole new narratives expand and unravel all at once on a 360º palette. The project has been a work in progress since 2017, and showed for the first time in Autumn 2021 in feature length format.
The work’s title and underlying concepts come from the Heart Sutra, a key Buddhist text, describing how all phenomena are empty in form yet ultimately interconnected. The last lines of the Heart Sutra say ‘gate gate pāragate pārasamgate bodhi svāhā’, which means “gone, gone beyond, gone beyond that a bit more, and then beyond that a bit further”. This reflects perfectly the action of going beyond the frame to where there are no edges to the narrative – just emptiness.
In this 360º format, time and space becomes elasticated, with the use of collaged video furthering the reflection on how information comes to us as fragments and that nothing is fixed. A new narrative-thread is woven in the mind of each viewer every time the work is seen, limited only to that exact time and space – just as the Heart Sutra reminds us that the only constant is change, and everything is related with no fixed source.
The initial in-process tester movie screened in San Francisco in October 2017 at RML’s own Recombinant Festival at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. Since then the work has been in development, with a private screening event in April 2019 Goldsmiths SIML for potential partners. The work will screen at nyMusikk, Oslo; SPILL Festival, Ipswich; Attenborough Centre (ACCA), Brighton; and London Barbican, in Autumn 2021. Version 2 of GGB screened in San Francisco’s Gray Area in May 2022 to great critical acclaim.