Points of Departure at the Brighton Festival - review

This year’s Brighton Festival began for many festival-goers, not in town, not in sunshine, but under slate grey skies in the semi-industrial rugged landscape of Shoreham Port.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 12:46 pm
Points of Departure by Ray Lee SUS-210405-201937001

This year’s Brighton Festival began for many festival-goers, not in town, not in sunshine, but under slate grey skies in the semi-industrial rugged landscape of Shoreham Port.

The location itself was integral to a nocturnal display of sight and sound - Points of Departure by Ray Lee.

Flanked by Shoreham Power Station to the east and whopping great turbines to the west, sound artist, theatre-maker and composer Lee had chosen the perfect site.

Points of Departure by Ray Lee

Impressive both in size and ambition, the outdoor installation played with sound on a large scale with moving (literally) sculptures and hefty structures.

It began with a parade of tripod constructions with minimalist electronic music playing from cone-shaped speakers swinging from both ends of a pole (think H.G. Wells and with a slighly weirded out Brian Eno soundtrack).

Supported by a throbbing low bass note from strategically-spaced amps, the sounds seemed to passehypnotically from tripod to tripod, and left you wondering that perhaps all an alien invasion force might need is a good playlist and a nice light show.

Elsewhere hefty concrete structures summoned up cinematic visions of huge sci-fi tank tracks, aided again by a suitably other-worldy accompaniment.

Points of Departure by Ray Lee

Two more giant tripody creations seemed to be bashing away at a piano, resembling the mechanical version of Gerald Scarfe’s nightmarish works with Pink Floyd.

As the night sky conveniently turned from murky to a far more fetching inky blue, a memorable conclusion was played out with more swinging speakers on giant towers.

Individually operated, and looking like the world’s most tech-heavy bell-ringing troup, the sounds merged, clashed and fluctuated, and sounded dramatically different wherever you stood.

The artist had said he wanted to create a sonic and visual environment which the audience could explore.

Points of Departure by Ray Lee

On a sold-out opening night there were moments where you felt you had to keep moving but there was still enough leg room for an engaging and immersive experience in the recent tradition of stand-out experimental festival events.

Points of Departure runs until May 23 on Wednesdays - Sundays from 8.30pm.

Suitable for ages: 7+ with adult supervision

Click here to book tickets.

Points of Departure by Ray Lee
Points of Departure by Ray Lee
Points of Departure by Ray Lee