DARK MATTER Brings Otherworldly Immersion To Glenside's Z-Ward

Words by Paul Maland
Photos by Sven Kovac


Immersive installation works, live acts, visual exhibitions and more are set to to transform Glenside's Z-Ward this coming Friday as part of Umbrella: Winter City Sounds

"DARK MATTER will host a myriad of demanding performances and installations in the realm of experimental art deep inside the spine-chilling, abandoned insane asylum, the Z-Ward," DÄRKNIFE says of the event.

"The atmosphere at DARK MATTER will be like no other, there are artists from all forms coming together into this historical space to perform, exhibit and push boundaries," says event co-organiser Liam Somerville of Capital Waste pictures fame.

"The word immersive gets thrown around a lot, so I am hesitant to use it, however we have gone to extreme efforts to make this evening enthralling and filled with discoveries big and small. A total of 23 artists are showcasing their work at DARK MATTER," he said.  

The mammoth, curated line-up was no easy task to put together. "This unlikely collection of artists involved in DARK MATTER come from years of mixing, working or befriending local geniuses. We picked a large handful of the most daring artists out of Adelaide's pool of gurus to create a mass of interesting souls that would then become DARK MATTER,

"The lineup is by no means a comprehensive list, but a curated gathering of like minded souls. We also pushed artists to move away from their comfortable mediums and into more sculpture, projections and visuals, to use the space to its full potential," he said. 

The event not only embraces the experimental, but takes the 'use of unconventional public space' ethos behind Winter City Sounds to its full potential, with the acts set to fully compliment the already spine-chilling ambience of the space.

"The Z-Ward was the old Asylum for the Criminally Insane; the thick sandstone and brick walls have housed patients deemed too 'disturbed' to mix with the general population. The aura in the building holds a heavy note — there is a dark presence in the air," Liam says.

"Many say the souls of some of the patients who passed away still reside within the walls, and there have been several sightings on the weekly ghost tours. We were offered the Z-ward and thought it would be an incredible opportunity to hold the show in there. The space is large, the walls are perfect for projections, and the dark energy adds so much to the experience,

DARK MATTER is put together by the team behind DÄRKNIFE, an experimental audio-visual duo. "DÄRKNIFE is the manifestation of sound and visuals through violent dark techno. The beats are cacophonous, raw, and jam packed with noise,

"The visuals are glitchy and distorted to make your eyeballs explode — the marriage of the two creates a sensual overload that you half want to dance to, and half curl up in a ball. DARK MATTER is now an extension of that emotion and extends the feeling from one set over a whole night," Liam says.  

There's also the opportunity for punters to have a long-lasting commemoration of the night via artistic collaboration with House Of Daggers Tattoo Collective

"We know Jamie through one of our other creative projects, Space Bong, the Adelaide doom-metal behemoth," Liam says.

"We asked him to join us within the haunted walls and leave a lasting impression on those punters game enough to go under the needle. His work is incredible, and many of my mates have a bunch of tattoo work by him. He is also responsible for a bunch of the Space Bong visual material, [...] his flavour will complement the evening perfectly,

As well as all of the aural and visual stimulation, there is also a journey for your taste buds. "The good people at Delinquente Wine Co. have jumped into a collaboration with us to create a short run of wines for the event — there is a hearty Shiraz and a Montepulciano variety too, both from SA's Riverland. There will also be hot soup conjured up by our pals at Folklore Cafe (which is perched over the water in Pt. Adelaide)," 

"The evening is a rusted, silver platter of stimulation, and punters are offered whatever experience they wish to endure. Each and every act and artist is unique, and their stunning works could easily stand upon their own, so in unison it creates a real life choose-your-own-adventure,

"We strongly feel that our closing act, Kusum Normoyle, will truly reveal the acoustic space of Z-Ward, and burn its echoes into our memories for good," he says. 

As for what's in store for DÄRKNIFE after the installation, it's all just apart of the plan. 

"As DÄRKNIFE we enjoy experimenting with the medium of live performance, however the project also lends itself to cinema — it can really become anything. DÄRKNIFE is the one project where we both have creative freedom to break things to see what's inside,

"Now that our debut VHS/EP FILTH PALACE is available, DÄRKNIFE are now aiming to regroup and focus on new material. We had a bunch of plans to work on this stuff way earlier in the year but it all got pushed aside to summon DARK MATTER, now we can get back to the master-plan...." Liam says. 

DARK MATTER is on Friday, July 21 in Glenside's Z-Ward. Tickets are available via Moshtix