In another case of the Fringe unearthing hidden gems around our city, Ra teaches us that UniSA has a planetarium at their Mawson Lakes campus. This is an amazing device, but Ra fails to use its potential, with much of the show looking like the menu screen of a Halo game.
The two performers (or “choreographers of our consciousness” as the flyer reveals) have taken actual sounds from space and mixed them together to accompany images and animations projected onto the ceiling of the planetarium dome. The first third of Ra is just the same video projected on three walls, and it is not until the second section that the entire dome is used. Once the full power of the planetarium is utilised the show becomes far more interesting, with the concave dome able to create a 3D effect of sorts. We are taken to far-off planets and galaxies, although the resolution of the projectors lets it down, with the animations never looking real enough to allow you to jump into the world of Ra.
The third part uses the original planetarium technology, with all the stars of the night sky displayed on the roof. The technology involved is amazing, with the main projection machine used since the 1960’s. Unfortunately all it does is slowly spin the stars around, forcing you to create your own entertainment. I played ‘create the constellation’, with ‘the martini glass’ and ‘the snowmobile’ being my best efforts.
The whole show is surrounded by an impenetrable culture of space spirituality, and unless you know about things such as sacred resonance and interdimensional music, instead of reaching higher states of awareness you’re more likely to fall asleep in the comfortable planetarium chairs.