Spectral Ballroom

One of our six Creative Collaborations for 2022

This place is a dream you are trying to remember. You have been here before, but in another time, or another timeline, perhaps…

Spectral Ballroom is a unique sound and visual experience, devised in collaboration between visual artist and ECA graduate Florence Richardson and Edinburgh-based composer Luci Holland. Using material gleaned from the archives of the National Library of Scotland and other historical sources, this immersive performance will feature a specially assembled live band, playing a composition based on fragments of music from the school’s past, alongside visuals evoking a fading history.

With the audience in the round, and the visuals being projected directly onto the stage, the whole central chamber will be transformed into a sound-and-image-scape evoking a nostalgia for the building’s past.

As the Spectral band’s music concludes, DJ Malissa will begin playing recordings and sounds from the past, weaving them into a set of tunes that will build as the stage becomes a fully immersive screen shimmering with Florence’s visuals. As the music builds, a second DJ, ex.sses, will take the sound and atmosphere towards a crescendo as the stage becomes the arena for the appearance of a final dancer.

Expect a slow, atmospheric start, with some experimental live music and intriguing visuals, building through a dreamy soundscape into a lively DJ set and striking projections. The DJ sets will go on until close.

Descending the stairs, you hear slow jazz melodies, glasses chiming, familiar visions appear to flicker on the walls you pass. You thought you heard muffled voices ebbing from behind the door – a party? Or just a corrupted memory…you try to leave, but each pathway leads to another door, into an alternate recollection. The music from nowhere and everywhere goes on and on…

Spectral Ballroom invites you to a haunted chamber of fragmented nostalgias – through winding paths of immersive audio and visual spectacles, before leading you to a finale live show of a ghostly cabaret ensemble. With visuals presented by artist Florence Richardson and an original score composed by Luci Holland, performed by the Spectral Band – with Sam Irvine, Bado Reti, and Ben Collard. Also featuring DJ sets by Mallisa and ex.sses.

About Florence Richardson

Florence Richardson is an interdisciplinary artist who graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2019. Working with video, sound and textile print installations, she explores ideas of the uncanny and darkly nostalgic essences of culture – aiming to create immersive environments that invite audiences into otherworldly narratives. ‘Spectral Ballroom’ will be her third collaborative project for Hidden Door festival exploring ‘hauntology’ – a concept that considers the real-world effects of how “dead” futures can haunt the present. 

About Luci Holland

Luci Holland is an award-winning Scottish (Edinburgh-based) composer and sound artist who composes and produces music and audiovisual art for film, games and concert. In 2019 Luci joined new classical music station Scala Radio to present The Console, a weekly one-hour show dedicated to celebrating great music in games. Luci additionally works as a freelance creative technologist, musical director and arts producer for various organisations including Tinderbox Collective, and also builds and designs interactive sonic art installations –  presenting her custom-built site-specific dynamic sound installation CITADEL for Hidden Door 2017.