In the Garden of Unearthly Delights, just beyond the footbridge, is a shipping container, home to Vioollusion. We walk inside down to the long benches that run along its sides. At the end we entered in, the doors close on the hustle and bustle of the garden. At the other, now mostly obscured by darkness, a white screen.
Through the darkness light shines on a man, as he cradles his violin under his chin. The classical compositions are amplified as the notes from the strings bounce off the metal walls of the space, so that the music envelops the small crowd tightly packed on to the seats.
On the screen, a short movie plays out in scratchy black and white. We watch through the eyes of another as he goes about his day walking around his apartment. The bathroom, the desk and the note, the window to the outside world.
As story about a man who lives inside a violin, its presentation isn’t entirely successful. At the end of the twelve-minute show, we are told to look at the small studio as we file back out into the evening air. The video was being created live in the room with us. Given this information at the end, however, does the work no favours: for many in the audience, this simultaneous video production goes unnoticed, and so a significant level of the appreciation of the artistry in its real-time creation is lost.
When the music and the video best work together, such as when the bow over the strings creates music that swirls and grows on top of itself, and on the video we watch a piece of paper spin, a pencil slowly creating an outward spiral, there are moments of beauty. Yet there isn’t enough investment in creating a story that is by itself intriguing – the violin, particularly as it echoes in that space, is beautiful, and needs a story to compliment alongside it, or work along with it. More needs to be shared in the time and space within the shipping container, than just a relationship between the violin and a man who lives inside of one.
Vioollusion, created by Vincent De Rooij and Jacob Plooij. At The Garden of Unearthly Delights for the Adelaide Fringe until March 17. More information. Tickets at the door.