Journey to the Interior: A multi-sensory, participatory performance involving a feast, inspired by George Bellas Greenough, a geologist and a founder of the Geological Society, London as well as Jules Verne’s story the Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It took place on 21st May, 2017, in Kensal Green Cemetery and Dissenters Chapel.
It was conceived and realised by Tereza Stehlikova with the help of a dedicated team of creative people (see below for a full list), who met over the course of many months, developing the concept through a series of sensory workshops.
Below is a documentation of the event in images and words.
The first part of the performance was delivered by our two interventionists, Larissa Lily and Lucy Lyons (Holidays at Home), who took our brave explorers on a guided tour of a part of the Kensal Green Cemetery, revealing real and fictitious worlds involving the geologist George Bellas Greenough, Jules Verne’s world and various strange beasts encountered along the way.
The second stage of the expedition took our explorers on a free fall journey, lasting 18 minutes, through the layers of the Earth, starting with Earth’s crust, passing through the mantle, becoming submariners in a sunless sea of liquid metal, falling through swirling currents and slow motion storms, finally arriving at the crystal core, where they became quite weightless.
The explorers were led all the way by our guides, who used sensory triggers to narrate and embody the journey. The free fall was accompanied by a musical composition created specially by Yumi Mashiki.
Along the way, each participant received their own personal planet, as their fingertips, transformed into a group of curious explorers, penetrated through the layers and textures, finding the crystal core at its centre.
During their free fall, our explorers felt gentle strokes of feathers, scattering sulphur smelling salt under their noses, felt heat as well as pressure and air rushing by.
Once the explorers arrived at the core, they found themselves in a subterranean cavern inhabited by moving images, fluorescent minerals, geodes, fossils and strange beasts, where they were free to roam and discover.
The explorers wore hard hats, and used torches and magnifying glasses to enter this interior world, existing on quite a different scale, to the sound drifting across (created by Josh Ward).
This encounter was followed by a volcanic eruption of black honeycomb, brought to life by Ellie Doney.
Finally out in the open, our explorers had a wine tasting session with Dany Teixeira from the Winemakers Club.
The last stage of the journey involved the ingestion of the very landscape that they journeyed through, following the path of a specially designed menu, created by Ben Spalding.
The first dish was called A Journey Through the Lithosphere and appeared in the catacombs where it had to be discovered amongst rocks.
It was followed by a Subterranean sea: Navigating Currents of Hot and Cold, a soup half of which was hot and the other cold.
The next dish, called Geological Field Trip: Rock Examination had to be licked of large cubes of granite found in the dark interior.
The Manifestations of Organic Life was served on plates made specially by Jack Alexandroff and included charcoal sauce.
Approaching the Centre of the Earth arrived on the main dining table.
Guests used specially made spoons, created by Tereza Stehlikova and Billur Turan at the Institute of Making (with big thanks to Ellie Doney for enabling us to do so!).
Finally, the last dish, called Transmutation:-20C TO – 0.C slowly transformed over the duration of the evening inside special chemistry vessels.
The table layout, resembling crystal shapes, as well as the supporting stands for vessels, were created by Billur Turan.
Salt and planets…
The wonderful food was prepared by Ben Spalding, with help of Josh Donachie and Terri Mercieca.
While this part of the journey might be over, the next stage is under way: a film is being made based on the performance, with the intention of being completed and ready for screening in September.
Keep an eye on this space!
Below is a list of all members of the team.
Artistic Director – Tereza Stehlikova
Other essential members of the sensory team:
Amy Neilson Smith
Big thank you to everyone involved, Billur Turan especially for all creative input and all the hard and committed work!
The images above are mostly taken by Jeyda Yagiz, with few by Sara Kraus.
Images of the team: