The Ascent by xxxy

The Ascent, by xxxy, is a live-action, participatory theatrical ride/experience that combines mind-control and levitation via a custom-built, automated show-control system. This interactive installation is experienced by a single participant—or rider—and an audience ranging from 20 to 150 people who watch from an observation deck. The experience is dynamically driven by an EEG sensor that reads the individual rider’s brainwaves and thought patterns. Outfitted with the EEG headset, and wearing a waist harness, individual riders marshal their calm, focus, and concentration, and attempt to levitate themselves more than thirty feet into the air through fields of dynamically responsive sound and light. The experience is full of obstacles and contradictions. As riders ascend via the power of their concentration, the sound and lights create a storm of stimuli that conspires to distract them from achieving their goal: levitating into “transcendence,” and “winning” by becoming the central figure in a playfully overblown Renaissance tableau. The paradox is that in order to succeed, the riders need to release their desire for achievement, and contend with what might be the biggest obstacle: themselves.

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