Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Sonder - Event Review

What: Sonder
When: 19 - 24 September 2017
Where: No Vacancy Gallery Project Space, Federation Square
Created and guided by: Catherine Holder

Catherine Holder
The Melbourne Fringe Festival motto is 'everything is art'. We could debate that forever (and have been) but when events such as Sonder come along it is enough to make even the most sceptical consider changing their position. Taking place in the No Vacancy Gallery Project Space in The Atrium at Federation Square, this 15 minute escape is a massage for the soul anybody can slip into their day.

Holder has created an environment which immediately shifts us into a relaxing spa experience. Completely interactive and highly sensorial the waft of incense will be immediately recognisable to anyone who has indulged in a Swedish massage or facial experience. Combine that with  a soft white environment draped with netting, voile and chiffons and a box office receptionist in day spa attire and I could feel myself slipping into a relaxed mode expecting to be coddled and tended and beautified. My expectations were met, but not how I thought they would be.

Being truly interactive means we have to participate, but the point of Sonder is to explore 'notions of comfort, connection, vulnerability and the everyday'. The genius of the space Holder has given us is we get to create our own safe space any way we want before we are asked to connect.

Connection is a scary word - especially when it is with a stranger. Holder cleverly breaks down the barriers one by one over fifteen minutes until our guards come down and we allow ourselves to truly relax for one short moment in the day. As a result we get to truly see and be seen which is one of the most surprisingly refreshing experiences I have ever had.

Sonder runs as one-on-one sessions which last 15 minutes throughout the day for the lunch crowd and after work sojourn. Cheaper than a massage and far more effective, this experience will impact you for hours and give you back the energy you need to finish off the work day or head out to a long night of Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Seriously, pop in. You will not regret Sonder and because it is an exclusive experience it is one others will be jealous of when you tell them about it. Sonder means the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. In Holder's Sonder she acknowledges this, sees it, and shares your vivid and complex life for one brief and intimate moment in a busy world. My only regret is I didn't want it to end...and yet it was just enough!

5 Stars

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