What does nature look like when it feels?

Vivid-Sydney-AMA-Babekühl-and-PhondupeNew media arts collective Babekühl and Sydney music producer Phondupe team up to take you on a mind-bending immersive experience as part of Vivid Sydney this year.

AMA is a psychedelic meditation on the natural environment, dubbed as “visual medicine” – expect to be submerged in sight and sound.

Participants will step into a psychedelic 360° degree dreamscape captured by infrared technology and explore the deep and darkest secrets of the natural world, accompanied by a moving soundtrack of ambient electronica.

Housed in this year’s Vivid House at The Cutaway, Barangaroo, AMA spans four enormous screens in a space that covers over 550 square metres.

The surrealist abstract video work explores the liminal space where ocean meets land, mirroring the convergence of human consciousness and environmental awareness. It asks the question: what does nature look like when it feels?

Ama was born in the thick of the pandemic lockdowns. Both Babekhul and Phondupe felt the need to explore the world beyond their bedroom walls, and their connection with the ocean.

“At Babekühl, we are forever driven by a desire to visually manifest the unconscious mind – allowing our dreams, imaginations and fragmented memories to intertwine freely,” said Billy Ryan from creative studio, Babekühl.

“In this mental space, familiar landscapes become uncanny and extra-ordinary. AMA is something cathartic, powerful and refreshing- It washes over you like diving under a wave in the ocean.”

Phondupe spent days creating a soundscape that transported him back to his travels to Naoshima Island, Japan. Digging through field recordings he had collected from a pre-pandemic adventure, he uncovered a sample of “angelic vocals recorded by the ocean” which formed the basis of the track.

The name AMA translates to “Woman of the sea” in Japanese and refers to the traditional female free divers in Japan who would descend to the depths of the ocean in search of shellfish and pearls. Much like their deep and unique connection with the ocean, this film is a testament to the unity between humanity and nature.

Babekühl explores their childhood memories through the lens of an infrared camera, retracing the steps in the Australian landscapes that surround their childhood home.

Together Phondupe and Babekühl combined both their own personal journeys of healing to create AMA – a transformative experience much like a visual medicine that connects you to the natural world.

“In major cities, there exists a disconnect between humans and nature. We speak of needing to “spend time in nature”, not recognising that we are nature,” says Phondupe.

“Our relationship with it is symbiotic – yet increasingly disparate. But what if our experiences were shared? As the natural environment bleeds, so do we. So how do we heal together?”

At Babekühl, technology and alternative realities are at the core of our practice. We feel compelled to use new and old technology applying it in layered, collaborative and experimental ways. Our work is an ongoing exploration of the world around us and our place within it and seeks to inspire imagination and curiosity in viewers.

Sydney night owl Rich Lucano is producer/composer Phondupe with a penchant for ambient music. His shadowy blend of warped, introspective electronica explores the tug-of-war of the mind.

Described by CLASH UK as an “astonishing” artist – his earthy, left-of-centre sounds fill the void between the dancefloor and the bedroom, and have found their way onto stages alongside Jon Hopkins, Kiasmos and Machinedrum.

Don’t miss your chance to see this unique, healing and captivating experience, running daily at Vivid Sydney.

Vivid House – The Cutaway, Barangaroo (Sydney)
Installation continues to 17 June 2023
Free entry

For more information, visit: www.vividsydney.com for details.

Image: Installation view of AMA at Vivid House – courtesy of Babekühl and Phondupe