"It's only 20 minutes," I think to myself. "How scary could it get for 20 minutes?"
I'm sitting in a pitch-black shipping container with my hands on a table in front of me and noise-cancelling headphones over my ears. The headphones are the only sensory input I have – for now, at least. And what they're telling me is pretty damn scary.
Séance is an immersive sound experience created by Brits Glen Neath and David Rosenberg, in collaboration with Melbourne team Realscape Productions. It relies on psychology and our inclination towards superstition to alter guests’ perception of reality, all while never leaving the shipping container.
But boy howdy, it sure feels like you are in a real séance. The host of the séance goes around to each guest in turn, asking if they are alone, asking if they are believers, and giving instructions. The soundscape is exquisitely precise – I could point with unerring accuracy to where in the room the host is at each moment, and I dread the time when he comes to ask me some hard questions.
And of course, as is usually the case with séances in art, things don't go strictly to plan, and spirits don't stay contained in the places you'd hope. That's when things get really scary – and 20 minutes will feel like a lot more.