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Fools Paradise

Fools Paradise is a VR installation and performance created by artist Paul Hertz and composer Stephen Dembski, based on the "Proverbs of Hell" by visionary poet and artist William Blake. It is also an intermedia work, where different sensory modalities share underlying structures. The artists developed musical structure and visual structure in collaboration. Dembski scored forty-eight proverbs for soprano, cello, and flute. Hertz created a landscape of colorful gems embedded in a tableland on an island floating in a sea of stars. Seen from afar, the island resembles a tongue, the tableland a book. With a clamor of children's voices, a stream of words runs down the central crease of the tableland and cascades over a cliff onto the tip of the tongue and into the sea. The VR performer visits each gem, triggering a song and a mask as she goes. The current mask floats in front of her, and also replaces the gem, until the island is filled with masks, all facing the VR performer.