Darren Johnton's Zero Point and new VR installation at the Barbican

Barbican Theatre, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS

Thursday 25 – Saturday 27 May 2017, Barbican Theatre
Press performance: Thursday 25 May 2017, 7.45pm

The Barbican presents the European premiere of Zero Point by multi award-winning British choreographer and visual artist, Darren Johnston. This Barbican co-commission fuses digital imagery produced by motion-sensing technology with meditative choreography, and a score by Canadian composer Tim Hecker.

Hypnotic light and video projections fill the space onstage to form virtual architecture, connecting the seamless fluidity and precise grace of an ensemble of Japanese dancers. Enhanced by the frequencies of an ambient soundscape, the experience is illusory and immersive.

Darren Johnston embarked on a residency in Kochi, Japan, to research concepts of zero point, delving into sacred ceremonial spaces, ancient rituals and Eastern thinking on rebirth. With a movement vocabulary drawing influences from Butoh, Qigong, contemporary dance and neo-classical ballet, he has distilled his ideas into this innovative new show. Canadian composer Tim Hecker , a pioneer of experimental electronic music, provides an additional energy to power the piece.

Zero Point was created through the Barbican’s Research & Development programme. In June 2014, Darren Johnston was given time in our Theatre to formulate ideas and work with dancers, with access to our facilities and equipment to develop the work musically and technically. Concluding the R&D, a sharing was opened up to members of the public for an early glimpse of the work, and a chance to give feedback. Zero Point received its world premiere at the Museum of Art, Kochi.

Zero Point is performed by an ensemble of Japanese dancers, including NNT principal ballet dancer Hana Sakai, Yasukate Shimaji (Forsythe Company), Kenta Kojiri (NDT 1), Mio Kondo, Nobuyoshi Asai (Sankai Juku), Kana Ote, Aki Tsujita, Ayaka Nakama, Yuko Horisawa.

As part of the development of Zero Point, Darren Johnston collaborated with The Games and Visual Effects Research Lab (G+VERL) at the University of Hertfordshire to create 360 degree environments in virtual reality that respond to the themes and ideas of the production. To coincide with the performances in the Theatre, visitors to the Barbican will be able to explore the immersive installation using VR headsets on the Mezzanine level of the Foyers from Fri 19-Sun 28 May.

Darren Johnston is a multi-award-winning choreographer, sound and visual artist who works across gallery spaces, large theatres, outdoor locations and site-specific/ found space. Technology and experimentation remain at the forefront of his development creating seamless fusions of different artistic forms. Johnston has worked with artists including Aphex Twin, Chris Cunningham, Squarepusher, Mira Calix, Jamie Lidell and the London Contemporary Orchestra.

Tim Hecker is a Canadian musician and sound artist, originally from Vancouver. Since 1996, he has produced a range of audio works for labels like Kranky and 4AD and was awarded a Juno for Electronic Album of the Year. His work has also included commissions for contemporary dance, sound-art installations, as well as film and commercial uses, most recently composing for Sundance selected film The Free World. Hecker has performed live at Sonar (Barcelona), Mutek (Montreal), Pitchfork Music Festival (Chicago), Primavera Sound (Barcelona), and Transmediale (Berlin).


Press information
For further information contact the Barbican press office:
Angela Dias, Media Relations Manager, +44 207 382 7168 or angela.dias@barbican.org.uk

Freddie Todd Fordham, Media Relations Officer, +44 207 382 7399 or freddie.todd-fordham@barbican.org.uk

Public information
Box office: 0845 120 7511

Listings information

Zero Point
Darren Johnston
Directed and choreographed by Darren Johnston
Music by Tim Hecker
Thu 25–Sat 27 May 2017 (3 performances)
Barbican Theatre
1 hour 10 mins no interval
£16–30 plus booking fee
Age guidance 12+
Press performance: Thu 25 May 2017, 7.45pm
Post-show talk: Fri 26 May 2017 (free to same-day ticket holders)
Zero Point VR installation: Fri 19-Sun 28 May 2017, Mezzanine Level Foyer, Free

Presented by the Barbican

Commissioned by the Barbican, Museum of Art, Kochi and Perth International Arts Festival

Zero Point is supported by the Arts Council of England (Grants for the Arts)