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Let's get Metaphysical

Channelling the spirit of Olivia Newton John (circa 1981 – and before she started living in the Byron area!)


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Large scale sculptural text piece:
gas flame, steel, scaffolding



Approximately 10m x 10m x 5m


  • Craig Walsh - Executive Producer, Splendour in the Grass
  • Marisa Snow - Production Manager


As twilight approaches, a festival punter will witness the climactic ignition of the sculpture, a large fulleresque steel structure by day, which erupts into activity at night. The white flame will engulf the portion of the frame making up each word, appearing in the sky like an apparition from the music gods.

The medium of fire in Let’s Get Metaphysical is fitting to its conceptual statement. Seemingly immaterial, and intangible, fire has a semiotic function which inspires awe; useful as both weapon and tool, and containing elements of both danger and wonder. It has undeniable allure, giving both heat and light, and being used in ritual and worship both denominational and pagan. Fire also has the historical use as beacon and memorial, in the context of the festival it functions almost as an eternal flame, or as Olympic flame – keeping the fire burning throughout and extinguished only when the party is over.

Using Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 single Physical as a placeholder, the phrase Let’s Get Metaphysical exploits this reference to music history, encouraging punters to transcend the more visceral suggestions Newton-John and her writers originally intended, and explore higher mental planes and states of consciousness.

Let’s Get Metaphysicalʼs typographical design pulls inspiration from the rich aesthetic history of 1980s pop culture. The handwritten typography style was used extensively in the 1980ʼs perhaps most memorably by the film Dirty Dancing, by Newton-John on several albums and singles, Pat Benatar also using it extensively, notably the on album Live From Earth. This script typeface is a conspicuous suggestion of the era – media such as the 2011 film Drive and video game Grand Theft Auto using it to set the 80s aesthetics

Concerned with the ultimate nature of existence, Metaphysics is very much tied into the notion of self, reaching beyond the physical world as we perceive it, and to discover the true nature of existence, its ultimate essence and the reason for being; concepts undeniably tied into much of music culture since the 1960s. Without delving headfirst into the history and concepts of the science of Metaphysics; Etymologically, applying the prefix “meta-” in his sense pertains to that which is beyond or above physical.

The combined elements of ritualism, utopia, music, dance, and drugs give festivals such as Splendour in the Grass a palpable atmosphere of spirituality, every person trying to find their own moment, the pinnacle of their festival experience to act as a conduit to a metaphysical experience. Let’s Get Metaphysical seeks to expose this dormant energy, accumulate, multiply and utilise it.

Relative Urls:

Splendour In The Grass - Head to the Splendour site and follow the SPLENDOUR ARTS link.

Nicole Breedon - See what else Nicole's doing.


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