Our Projects

Close Encounters

An unidentified object hovers above the festival transmitting messages to the undulating crowd …


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Interactive Installation:

Steel, Aluminium, Timber, Chrome ABS, MR16 Lights,
Scrolling LED Marquee, Computer, Custom Software



  • Craig Walsh - Executive Producer, Splendour in the Grass
  • Carli Leimbach - Producer, Splendid
  • Andy Stewart - Production Manager, Splendid
  • Andrew McDonell – Structural Designer
  • Jeremy Sparks – Engineer, Partridge Partners
  • Dougal Thompson – Head Rigger
  • Julian Borbidge - Rigger
  • Eucla Davies – Steel Fabrication
  • Justin Renn - Ply Fabrication
  • Deborah Pollard - Dramaturge
  • Ashley Dyer - Performance Artist

Many thanks to:

  • Chris Harrison & Rob Eastick, Chameleon Touring Systems
  • Scott Cloughessy & Ossie Cesaro, LED Signs
  • Karl Nethery, Warringah Plastics
  • Brett Bartlett, Wild Sets
  • Jump Mentoring Program & CarriageWorks


650cm x 650cm x 500cm


"Close Encounters has been conceived to bridge the gap between the way art and music are experienced within Australian festival culture, bringing non-art specific communities together through their participation and interaction with the installation." - Jordana Maisie

Close Encounters is a large-scale (6.5m diameter) interactive sculpture, which takes the form of an unidentified flying object (UFO). The curved mirror surface reflects the world around it. The dramatic horizon; lined with trees, the sky and its uninterrupted vastness, as well as the visitors themselves, who love to pick their images out of the reflected crowd as they move under the sculpture.

The installation provokes audience participation through the use of wireless text messaging technology. The audience is invited to text the phone number displayed on the LED marquee (embedded into the circumference of the spaceship), and respond to the “alien’s” text based provocations. By responding, the audience enters a dialogue with the anonymous "alien" on the other end of the line. Co-creating a real time narrative as their conversation unfolds.

Raised 3 meters off the ground, from a distance it appears as if a luminous UFO is hovering above the undulating audience, transmitting messages to the crowd as they move through the festival. When walking underneath it, Close Encounters acts as a portal connecting you to the sky and the surrounding natural environment. At night, a shaft of light beats down on the ground as if the aliens are preparing to beam someone up into the craft and take off.

This project wouldn't be possible without the support of my team, structural designer Andy McDonell, structural engineer Jeremy Sparks and rigger Dougal Thompson, as well as the project partners, Jump Mentoring and LED Signs.

"I feel extraordinarily lucky to have been given this commission opportunity. It will enable me to create a new, large-scale, site-specific installation that will feed and respond to the already otherworldly experience of Splendour in the Grass. No doubt the Splendid journey will continue being a challenging but rewarding one and I can't wait to get back into the next phase." - Jordana Maisie

Relative Urls:

  • Splendour In The Grass - Head to the Splendour site and follow the SPLENDOUR ARTS link.
  • Jordana Maisie - See what else Jordana’s doing.
  • Jump Mentoring
  • Jump Blog - A fabulous interdisciplinary Australian mentoring program that supports emerging practitioners from around the country – check it out!

Support us…

  • Pozible Support the project financially and take a little piece of it home with you. Rewards include VIP invites, photo prints. This is crowd sourcing so every $5 counts! Check it out for full details.

Images from our June test fabrication at CarriageWorks, Sydney:

Close Encounters Sponsors


Splendid is a partnership between Splendour in the Grass and leading art agencies looking to develop talent and offer festival audiences new creative experiences.More

Splendid Partners

  • Lismore City Council Logo
  • Norpa Logo
  • Young Artists Logo
  • Australian Government Logo
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Splendid Peers and Sponsors

  • Communit Arts NSW Logo
  • Arts Performance Logo
  • Pica Logo
  • Arts Centre Logo
  • Arts House Logo
  • Pact Logo
  • SLQ Logo
  • Queensland Governement Logo
  • Carclew
  • Linnaeus Logo
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