This weekend, The MAC Belfast is playing host to Ryan Van Winkle and Dan Gorman’s ViewMaster, a unique and quirky experience which combines poetry, music and vision, letting you escape from the monotony of everyday life and visit a dreamlike, enchanting world for a brief fifteen minutes.
I was somewhat apprehensive about the event because I knew it was one on one, and things like that normally give me slight anxiety, but as soon as I met Ryan he put me at ease and made me feel really welcome and at home. I filled out a short form beforehand, which personalises the experience and helps them to decide which poem and slideshow is perfect for you. Next, I was led into a dimly lit, child-like den at the corner of the room where I sat on a cushion on the floor, ready to begin my journey. My poem was Tulip Time, and my slideshow was filled with emotive, nostalgic images of tulip season in Holland, which I watched through an eye-piece on a vintage ViewMaster as Ryan read to me and Dan played the accordion. Almost immediately I felt relaxed and worry free as I allowed myself to sink into the world they had created for me. The poem was vivid and colourful and the whole performance was very surreal, in the best possible way.
What I loved most about ViewMaster is that it stayed with me for a few hours afterwards and lifted my mood on what was an otherwise, dreary, rainy day in Belfast. It’s a contemporary and rare form of escapism, made extra special by how personal it is. This personalisation means that it can be enjoyed by everyone, from any walk of life. I actually recommended it to some friends and family members because I don’t think a written or oral description can do it justice, as it’s so special and a bargain at only £5. If you’re in Belfast this weekend and are looking for something out of the ordinary to do, check out ViewMaster as it’s only here for a few days. Meghan Gilleece, GiggingNI.com