Created by PluginHUMAN with Culture Evolves

Primal Sublime: Form of the Phoenix is a new indoor or outdoor immersive audio-visual light installation and performance by PluginHUMAN with Culture Evolves. This work is currently under development with funding from City of Melbourne.

The Primal Sublime places audiences in the centre of an installation environment that evokes a futuristic, post-anthropocenic burned-out forest. This landscape is constructed from a series of LED sculptures. Each sculpture represents a burning tree. The LEDs are concealed by a dark semi-translucent mesh created from bioplastic. The mesh allows fragments of light to be visible, creating the effect of burning embers. The LED lights are controlled by environmental data from significant international eco systems that have been devastated by mass fire events. This work reflects the immense human and environmental impact that fires have, offering opportunities for audiences to consider the shape of our future relationships with natural environments.

This work is being developed in collaboration with Brent Watkins (Culture Evolves) on Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung (Euro-Yroke) Country in the Kulin Nation. Brent is a Gunai Kurni man from south-eastern Victoria, with Noongar Yamatji ancestry from Western Australia. He is one of the most exquisite didgeridoo players in so-called Victoria and a dancer of both hip hop and traditional styles. Brent tells a story of the indigenous life through his dance and didgeridoo playing, his performances incorporate the history of the culture, the genocide that occurred and the fight that continues within the culture today. Through The Primal Sublime, PluginHUMAN and Culture Evolves will extend our knowledge of the pyrocene, exploring traditional burning practices and the impact that climate change is having on global environments.

This is a carbon neutral project.


During the 2019 Amazon forest fires in Brazil, PluginHUMAN were undertaking an artist immersion in the Amazon program. We were located in the vast Amazonian wilderness during these dramatic events. Upon returning to Australia in late 2019 we lived through catastrophic bush fires. The environmental and cultural trauma of these events still resonates. This work springs from personal experiences with these seminal events.

Link to more information on PluginHUMAN


Primal Sublime: Form of the Phoenix will operate as an indoor or outdoor audio-visual immersive installation. There will be performance times where Culture Evolves will inhabit the installation environment as if it were their home. These performances will reflect both traditional and contemporary perspectives on First People’s relationships with fire. These performances will allow audiences to more deeply consider the benefits and challenges of future human-environmental symbiotic relationships.


Dr Betty Sargeant ~ Creative Director + Artist

Justin Dwyer ~ Creative Director + Artist

Culture Evolves ~ Dancers, Musicians, Traditional Knowledge-Bearers

The development of this artwork has been supported by the City of Melbourne.