The underground experimental artist Ergo Phizmiz has a long history with Dimbola , stretching back to the heady days of 2008 when they undertook a Leverhulme Residency at the museum, culminating in a series of sound and radio works about the histories of Dimbola and its residents, using recordings of the museum at night to create haunted soundscapes that rattled with the ghosts of the building. Last year Ergo returned to Dimbola, developing a new work “Dimbola Mikado”, using the history and characters in and around Dimbola to look at how we can make new and meaningful art in an uncertain future.
Originally intended as a theatrical performance somewhere between a skewiff lecture and an opera, in combination with an exhibition in Dimbola’s tea-room, the quarantine imposed on the world by Coronavirus got our erstwhile cast and crew thinking “If we making art about how to make new forms of art, why not produce this piece of visual-art-theatre-opera with a cast isolated in their rooms in the respective parts of the country, and see what new form comes out of that?”
Currently in the final stages of production, this hallucinogenic, uncategorisable work of intermedia art, which uses Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado as a springboard for investigations and conjectures about art past, present and, most vitally, future. Taking a heads up from the great Polish avant-garde artist Stefan Themerson and his idea of “semantic opera” – opera where the focus is on comprehensions of words, not music – Dimbola Mikado is an immense patchwork of themes, ideas, possibilities and conversations across the strange lines that tie together our histories.
Coming soon to a streaming platform on an internet, which we sometimes get on the West Wight, near you!
Dimbola Mikado is supported by Arts Council England, Sound & Music’s Francis Chagrin Award and the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust.