Rob Stewart | Flatland - Rob Stewart
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December 06, 2013


‘Flatland’ is a cutting-edge Contemporary Dance and Art Installation adapted from Flatland, the satirical novella by Edward A. Abbott.

Published in 1884, ‘Flatland’ is a short fantasy that takes us to a completely flat world of two physical dimensions where all the inhabitants are geometric shapes, and who think the planar world of length and width is all that there is. The work uses the ideas and imagery of the novella to allegorically dissect the cultural makeup of contemporary Malaysian society, as well as explore the intersection of it’s sensibilities and attitudes towards multiculturalism through the creative process, which will feed into the creative outcome. The work is a rich, dance, multi-media and visual experience encompassing architecture, interactive audio-visual design, an original score, lighting and sound designs.

Flatland is a collaboration between a group of renowned artists from Malaysia and Australia. Our creative team includes Suahili Micheline (Choreographer), architects Sukhjit Sidhu and Daniel Koshy (Malaysia) costume designer Mel Page (Australia), audio-visual and sound designer Rob Stewart (Australia).


Meanwhile, light, sound and visuals use their own language to simultaneously tell Flatland’s story. The lighting and visual design by TerryandTheCuz and Rob Stewart showcases some of the best work seen here in recent times, giving both boundaries and dimensions to the stage while using shifts between shadows and stark lighting to either emphasise or de-emphasise the differences between the various dancers onstage. Projections, meanwhile, cleverly capitalise on the geometric concept of the story, adding both visual excitement and depth to the narrative. The sound design by Stewart, too, is excellent, with its mix of dramatic instrumentals, techno beats and video game sounds giving the story an extremely contemporary and even futuristic feel; yet, the music also never fails to hit the right emotional note.

It is, however, in the way that all these elements come together that Flatland’s beauty lies. In one utterly lovely scene, for instance, the square visits Spaceland, a land of three dimensions. Dancers in flowing white costumes execute ethereal, fluid movements to a throbbing, haunting score, against a hypnotic background of shifting circuit board-like lines, while the square tries in vain to mimic their movements despite its own angles.

- Sharmilla Ganesan, The Star