'Door into the Dark,' an "interactive, aural documentary experience” at TFF's Storyscapes, offers participants the chance to explore what it means to be lost.
Here is the door.
Shoeless and blind, you enter.
There is a rope. Follow it.
There are voices in your ear which comfort you. They have been lost before. Hand over hand, you wind your way through a 6,000 square foot labyrinth with no sensation but those voices, cool air on your skin, the ground beneath your feet, and the rope you are clutching in your hands to guide you. And then the rope ends.
What happens next is an exercise in trust, and in participants' abilities to give up control; to surrender what is concrete and exist within the unknown.
You enter the void, and it’s yours for the taking—but it must get smaller before it can shift. Once you have forgone forethought and anticipation, you find yourself open; ready to receive impulses, and to act on them. You find your blindness is no handicap in the dark. Smooth and subtle changes occur in your surroundings as you make your way through the labyrinth. When you grow too lost to find your way out, gentle hands steer you back toward the path. What was once a black abyss becomes a forest, a sunlit mountain, and then a soft place to rest.
“Fundamentally, this is about your experience engaging with the unknown and unexpected,” Door into the Dark co-creator May Abdalla told The Creators Project after we found our way out of said dark. “The inspiration is also this book by Rebecca Solnit, called A Field Guide to Getting Lost. There’s a beautiful line that just says, ‘Being lost is a psychic state achievable through geography.’ So there’s that sense of like, if your body does something, then your mind can follow.”
The sensory documentary experience, Door into the Dark, which was created by Abdalla and Amy Rose (both of experimental production team Anagram), made its debut at Sheffield Doc Fest in 2013. “There’s a lot of excitement about more things we can do with our imagination, or see in super HD, but the body is kind of left sitting down, static, asleep—like The Matrix," Abdalla continues. "Like, plugged into the bath. It’s like, step out! We’ve got this thing. Isn’t this the greatest technology? Fundamentally, your body is the technology that makes this work. That’s why it feels, for me, truly interactive, because you’re not waiting to click the mouse; you’re just moving, and that’s totally organic as an interface. It’s your body.”
Door into the Dark opened at Tribeca Film Festival 2015 StoryScapes on April 16th, and will be free and open to the public with advanced reservation until Sunday, April 19th. Register here for free entrance to the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Storyscapes Exhibit and Lounge.