An incredibly trippy experience is coming to Auckland’s Stardome Planetarium

A psychedelic musical odyssey, designed for a trippy fulldome experience, is coming to Auckland’s Stardome Observatory and Planetarium.

Aotearoa art aficionados should already know the work of Jess Johnson and Simon Ward, finalists for the New Zealand art world’s prestigious Walter’s Prize with their installation and video work Whol Why Wurld. Johnson is also known for her trippy illustrations (including the poster for a recent screening of David Farrier’s Mister Organ in Roswell), while Ward works as an animator (including Aroha Bridge) and has directed buzzy music videos for the likes of  Amamelia, Princess Chelsea and Disasteradio.

Together the pair have created videos, virtual reality and large-scale immersive installations, seen in New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Edinburgh, Montreal, Sydney, and at various places around Aotearoa—with new work XYZZY coming to Auckland’s newly refurbished Stardome Observatory and Planetarium next month.

XYZZY has screenings on Saturday 2 December, Wednesday 6 December and Sunday 10 December at 7pm;  Friday 8 December at 9.30pm and Sunday 17 December at 6.30pm + 8.30pm (followed by artist Q&A’s). Tickets are available here.

The 41-minute long immersive film comes with a soundtrack to match its mind-bending visuals—90s-inspired electronic synthesiser tracks from musicians Andrew Clarke, Luke Rowell, Stef Animal and Lachlan Anderson.

As the press release for this exciting season of screenings explains: “Designed specifically for planetriums XYZZY is an immersive, fulldome cinematic experience that offers up a rare chance to engage with music-driven, non-verbal, and experiential art that will tilt your world upside down. Following seasons in Melbourne and Dunedin, this season is XYZZY’s North Island premiere.”

“XYZZY allows audiences to enter the complex fictional world the artists have been evolving over a decade-long collaborative practice. Video director Simon Ward created XYZZY by translating Jess’s hand-drawn compositions from her body of work over the last decade.”

“This 41-minute long immersive film is not planetary based but is most definitely out of this world. Artist Jess Johnson says ‘Creating an art-based planetarium experience will introduce our work to new audiences who may not habitually visit contemporary art galleries where our work typically exhibits. We’ve always liked reaching beyond the art-world, and making work accessible to diverse audiences interested in animation, technology, gaming, sci-fi, psychedelia, music and experimental film.'”