With Bridge Over Mud, the Oslo-based art collective transforms the theater into a complex, multi-channel electro-acoustic space and visual instrument, played and manipulated by a team of artists, software developers, and musicians. Part music concert, part installation, and part performance, Bridge Over Mud features a vast delivery system that includes 195 feet of elevated tracks, 11 motorized vehicles, 60 speakers, and 30 micro-controlled motors. Throughout the hour-long work, the company uses these tracks to literally transport video, sculptures, shadows, screens, and sounds to create a dazzling open-ended story space of immense proportion.
Bridge Over Mud evokes the prehistory and beginnings of cinema with strong metaphorical connections to locomotion and trains. Train travel provided the prototypical experience of looking at a framed moving image, as well as the mechanical double of the cinematic apparatus. Both were means of transporting a passenger to totally different places, and both were highly charged vehicles of narrative events, stories, and chance encounters. While Bridge Over Mud is NOT about cinema, nor is it about trains, the work’s featured miniature vehicles do function in the capacity of both camera and projector. They travel amongst an array of lenses to create much of the work’s sumptuous light-refracted images. Verdensteatret has often built its pieces from “raw” materials collected during journeys and encounters with foreign landscapes and cultural “others.” For example, the company created Tsalal (2001-2002) from a trip to Odessa and Istanbul, Concert for Greenland (2003) engaged the harsh and majestic landscapes of Greenland and other north-Atlantic islands, and Louder (2007) was created after a journey to Vietnam and the Mekong-river.
Bridge Over Mud continues the company’s preoccupation with travel with its tropes of discovery, chance, disorientation, and altered states of consciousness.