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The Fauna of Mirrors,

4k video,

seamless loop (02:38),


Philip Speakman


performance for virtual production studio
(7x3m screen running real time Unreal Engine environment, motion tracking, live performance, sound, camera rig, torch prop)

As part of ‘Mudsimmer’ on 04/05/24 at Gossamer Fog’s Alt_R

Katabasing considers how new technologies inevitably give rise to new occult narratives and beliefs, and the aesthetic sensations which drive these beliefs online. 


Made for Gossamer Fog’s Alt_R virtual production studio, and continuing in their Ringlorn season of events, the work uses Alt_R to tell the story a documentary production’s investigation into a viral trend emanating from the weird seam of the internet, using the 7x3m screen, motion tracking, Unreal Engine 5, live performance and sound design to tell the story through live physical interactions with virtual space. 


As the performance unwinds, the work draws theories of play, reenactment and LARPing, as well as real esoteric online subcultures and ritual magic, internet folklore and Netflix true crime shows, to explores the affects and techniques these intertwined disciplines, content and cultures deploy to inform and infect our sense of reality. The work speculates on the repercussions of these references when stretched to weird extremes, and sets this manipulation of our feeling-for-the-real against the powers of the legendary Greek poet Orpheus, who was said to be able to move animals and the natural world through the power of his words and song, and used these powers to gain access and travel into the underworld, an act known in the ancient work as Katabasis. 


Unreal Engine and technical production by Sam Capps

Sound design and score by Oh2pz

Interviewee voice acting by Tash Rowan

With thanks to Gossamer Fog, Sam Capps, Diane Edwards and Billy Sassi.

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