Sophia Brous with Faye Driscoll, Samara Hersch, and Lara Thoms
The Invisible Opera

Performance / Commissioned work



Production specifics
Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ’21

With the generous support of the Australian Embassy to Austria

Performance maker Sophia Brous and her collaborators turn the city into a stage and its inhabitants into extras as well as actors and actresses. Using innovative city-wide sound design, electroacoustic orchestration, live vocal performance, choreography, and adaptable scenic design, the work examines what is seen and unseen in public space.

Guests are invited to come with their own mobile devices and headphones, which are used to tune into a special audio stream. This is not a recording, but a signal generated live on-site. Directional microphones record all the sounds at a busy Graz square, which converge in a hidden studio. Additional cameras provide surveillance footage of the everyday goings-on. The artist mixes, recomposes, and comments on this distributed soundscape of the city, blurring the boundaries between reality and artifice. Is the man in the suit part of the event? Is the woman with the briefcase waving an actress or someone I might know?

Unfolding as a live, hypnotic observation of all the behaviors, actions, and patterns of everyday life, the hustle and bustle of the city center gradually gives way to a manufactured spectacle, revealing how private interests of real estate, big data, tourism, and city planning shape our behavior and establish who is and who is not welcome in our public environment.