"Virtual World Orchestra isn't one of those multi-media shows that are about everything but the kitchen sink," says organiser Angus Farqhar. "I've been to those and you just come out with a sore head." Given the impressive inclusiveness of next weekend's project - performance artistry, live music, images, sounds and texts from more than 120 countries - you might be forgiven for suspecting Farquhar of false modesty. What he means, however, is that "this isn't some 1960s hippy shit. It's very focused."
The brief is, nonetheless, unusually expansive. According to Farquhar, VWO will present to an expected live audience of between two and three thousand people (and a further 30 million viewers via the Net), the spectrum of human perception from "the subatomic to infinity". And if that still sounds like the stuff of sore craniums, fear not. Virtual World Orchestra is as much about entertainment as it is about avant-garde performance philosophy.
Taking a microscopic approach to the human condition, sculptor and gynaecologist Dr Graeme Tydeman will float on stage in a mass of giant balloons, illuminated to resemble giant cells, before taking (voluntary) samples of blood and hair from the audience and projecting them onto the 360-degree screens that surround the crowd. So, if you're one of the lucky ones examined by the good doctor, it could be your micro-organisms providing a squiggling backdrop to proceedings.
At other points throughout the night you can catch Harlem poet and raconteur Dael Orlandersmith, the robotic arachnoid sculptures of Nicholas Anatol- Baginsky and Australian performance artist Stelarc (pictured on front cover), whose experiments with the boundaries of the human form have led him to develop a robotic third arm, wire his body with electrodes and implant sculptures inside his body.
The evening climaxes with a giant club which Farqhar hopes will provide the final element to an experience which offers "something for the head the heart and the feet." Many of the audience, he reckons, will be those "bored by clubs full of teeny ravers off their heads on E".
Which describes one guest at least: "My mum's coming along," says Farquhar. "She's 75, but I'll get her dancing".
The Old Fruitmarket, Candleriggs, Glasgow Fri 4 April to Sun 6 Apr. Bookings from ticket centre: 0141-227 5511
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