A virtual reality performance based on the search for balance between head and heart.

“I push myself through the peel, the mass. The void. Sometimes gently, sometimes with noise and acceleration, but always fluid. Floating, forever floating. A safe haven for the inner mantra to resonate.”

If we eliminate all ambient noise, what would our inner world sound like? Ascension is based on the concept of a 'floating tank': a saltwater pool in which you experience no sensory stimuli and your mind can come to rest. Gravity drops, you feel yourself rising from the bottom of the tank and you wander off into your own thoughts... This VR experience explores that same sensation and is the starting point of a search for balance between our rational and emotional selves, between head and heart. How do these two versions of ourself interact? How do we achieve that kind of harmony? In Ascension, we create a space to address these questions, a world where we may briefly let go of the desires of our physical body and the outside world. 

Ascension is a VR performance by Paul Boereboom and Leon Rogissart, both 2021 graduates of the Academy for Theatre and Dance in Amsterdam, which pushes the boundaries of opera and our perspective on reality. Combining both images and opera music (performed by soprano Marie van Luijk and countertenor Arturo den Hartog), the audience is released from concepts such as time and space. 

Ascension won the award for best VR at the KABOOM Animation festival in April 2021.

“The exceptional thing about this performance is that it is purely about a spatial experience that links the sound landscapes of two singing voices, soprano Marie Van Luijk and counter-tenor Arturo den Hartog, with a 360° virtual space that you can view from all sides from a swivel chair. You are constantly propelled slowly forward in this virtual reality, which allows you to fully immerse yourself in the visual beauty of the image.”