Door into the Dark – An immersive documentary experience about the psychology of navigation

‘This is a labyrinth. All you have to do is follow the rope’

Enter the Door Into The Dark, an immersive experience about what it means to be lost.

Winner of the Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes Award 2015.

Selected for Columbia University’s Digital Dozen breakthroughs in digital storytelling.

‘The experience was transformative. I felt so zen afterwards – like I’d been on ecstasy or just finished three hours of yoga. I am still feeling after effects.’
Michelle Van Beukson, National Film Board of Canada

‘A unique and unforgettable experience that combines non-fiction narrative and audience interaction in a ground breaking and deeply personal way.’
Laura Poitras, Academy Award winning Director of Citizen Four

Blindfolded, barefoot and alone, feel your way into the dark along a snaking length of thick rope. It leads you into a vivid aural world of real people who have been lost in ways that have left them irreversibly changed. The encounter takes you deep into their world of sensation, risk and illusion and to find your way back to the light, you must surrender to the unknown.

RECENT DATES:

Door Into The Dark was installed at the MU Gallery in Eindhoven, The Netherlands as part of the STRP biennale from 16th March – 17th April 2017.

After emerging from the dark, participants were offered the opportunity to sketch their memories of the experience on a postcard. Here are some of the responses.

HOW IT WORKS

Door Into The Dark is a bespoke and intimate experience for one, lasting approximately 45 minutes. As you inch your way through a dark and unknown space, stories, soundscapes and instructions are triggered at specific moments.

The audio is populated by the presence of four people: the narrator, who accompanies the participant throughout the work and talks directly to them, and three real characters. These are John Hull, author of Touching the Rock, who describes the impact of losing his sight on his relationship with sound and touch, David Riley, a mountaineer who had an intimate brush with death, and Bryan Morrison, who took to walking the streets at night to lose himself and ended up in psychiatric care.

As you navigate the set – encountering forests, grass, a suspended bridge, walls that envelop and carry you, and much more besides – you listen to these individuals narrate their experiences. Each physical moment finds its match in the story; you embody what you hear. Unique in form and groundbreaking in its use of locative technology, Door Into The Dark brings together captivating documentary stories and visceral physical experience to explore what it means to be lost in an age of infinite information.

JURY STATEMENT, PRESS AND TESTIMONIALS

In an overwhelming media environment in which we struggle for control, we recognize a work that viscerally reconnects us with the value of letting go. It offers a meticulously crafted storyworld that allows us to cerebrally, emotionally, and quite literally leave our baggage behind and step into the void. In that void we become disoriented, take risks, make choices and find ourselves again, changed. Ambitious, simple, and profound, this work marks a fresh and promising direction for the field of immersive theater. It evoked a euphoria that stayed with us long after we left it.’  Tribeca Film Festival Jury Statement

‘A transformative experience, I will never forget it.’  Sarah Wolozin Director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Doclab

‘Truly immersive storytelling. I felt rejuvenated and fully alive’ Paula Bernstein, Indiewire

‘My favourite interactive installation to date… achieves a level of emotional empathy to the subjects’ stories rarely experienced in interactive work’ Loc Dao , Head of National Film Board of Canada Interactive

“An epic journey. Door into the Dark was like encountering a foreign country, using a language I’ve lived with for years but will never quite understand.” THE VERGE

“Sends the imagination into full throttle.” DE VOLKSKRANT

“Sets a high bar for future generations of interactive art.” FILMMAKER MAGAZINE

Door Into The Dark at STRP in Eindhoven

The dark door will open on March 16th 2017 in Eindhoven, Netherlands…

Tribeca Storyscapes award

The jury of Shari Frilot (Sundance), Charlie Phillips (The Guardian)…

"Kind of experience where the world feels different afterwards. #sheffdocfest"

What was said on twitter about Door Into The Dark at Sheffield…

"Now this is how to do immersive storytelling."

INDIEWIRE article on Sheffield DocFest Door Into The Dark …

"Blindfolded, shoeless, alone and in the middle of a dark warehouse..."

CREATIVE REVIEW came to the iDocs work-in-progress and we got…

"The term immersive tends to get thrown around..."

A blog based in New York City has picked up Door Into The Dark...…

Door Into The Dark at Sheffield DocFest

Heather Croall of DocFest came to Bristol in March. 3 months…

World’s First iBeacon Documentary: Wayfinding for the Digital Age"

Work-in-progress showing of Door Into The Dark at iDocs picked…

Work-in-progress of Door Into The Dark at iDocs, March 2014

Door Into The Dark commissioned to show as a work-in-progress…

A project by

Directors
Amy Rose & May Abdalla at Anagram

Set Architect
Tabitha Pope

Set Designer
Felicity Hickson

Sound Design
Jonas Andreas Jensen

Set Build Team
Aaron Robinson, Dan Halahan, Steve Bollom, James Atkins, Ben Pearson

Tech
Richard Hull & Tom Melamed at Calvium

Wearable technology designer
Hannah McMahon Major

Music
Ed Dowie, Poppy Ackroyd, Max Baillie

Stage managers
Hannah McMahon Major, Alice Russell

Voiceover
Caroline Williams

Contributors
Bryan Morrison, David Riley, John Hull

Research contributors
Richard Holland

Initial Mentor Support
Ju Row Farr & Blast Theory

Supported by Verity McIntosh, Clare Reddington and the excellent
Pervasive Media Studio

Made with the generous support of
Arts Council England

Door Into The Dark at STRP in Eindhoven

The dark door will open on March 16th 2017 in Eindhoven, Netherlands…

Tribeca Storyscapes award

The jury of Shari Frilot (Sundance), Charlie Phillips (The Guardian)…

"Kind of experience where the world feels different afterwards. #sheffdocfest"

What was said on twitter about Door Into The Dark at Sheffield…

"Now this is how to do immersive storytelling."

INDIEWIRE article on Sheffield DocFest Door Into The Dark …

"Blindfolded, shoeless, alone and in the middle of a dark warehouse..."

CREATIVE REVIEW came to the iDocs work-in-progress and we got…

"The term immersive tends to get thrown around..."

A blog based in New York City has picked up Door Into The Dark...…

Door Into The Dark at Sheffield DocFest

Heather Croall of DocFest came to Bristol in March. 3 months…

World’s First iBeacon Documentary: Wayfinding for the Digital Age"

Work-in-progress showing of Door Into The Dark at iDocs picked…

Work-in-progress of Door Into The Dark at iDocs, March 2014

Door Into The Dark commissioned to show as a work-in-progress…

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