The goal was to create a theatrical piece that felt immersive and all-encompassing – a total takeover of the senses. The team knew the massive scale of the robots paired with the sophistication of the Day for Night crowd and an epic Sound System could render a sensory explosion for the audience.
The core concept of Telestron was that it was recreating one of the ancient world’s most sought-after immersive experiences – essentially all the attendees were taking part in a sacred ritual. This ritual was housed in a darkened chamber that was, in the ancient Greek festival at Eleusis, was called the Telesterion, which they adapted to Telestron. This ritual intended to “harness the spiritual forces of nature to create a transformative experience.”
The team then got specific about what forces of nature they wanted to portray – and chose the Diurnal Cycle as the informing palette. They loved the poetic symmetry of the cycle being a Day for Night progression, and also how it influences the seasons and the positioning of the sun, which was assigned as the primary light source. They then designed each season of the cycle, which focuses on the time of year, the position of the sun, and how that affects the symbolism and character of the light. All of which were controlled by the ‘lantern bearers’ which were the robotic conductors, and were imbued specific personalities and behaviors to accurately represent the character of the light.
Once they went through the four seasons as their own acts, they then made a chaotic and emotionally charged fifth act to render an artistic interpretation of the current state of the natural cycle – one with the warming planet has become much more turbulent and chaotic; and as a result felt an obligation to communicate that visually and sonically.
It was all quite abstract, but gave the team so much structure to work with – sometimes with these massive and complex projects there’s a major need for a conceptual framework to work within. Establishing the concept early and sticking with it really helped guide the process and kept the team focused on the high-level vision of the installation throughout the production cycle.