Artists and performers are increasingly creating multisensory pieces that immerse and envelope audiences.

Artists and performers are increasingly creating multisensory pieces that immerse and envelope audiences, who in turn are embracing these one-of-a-kind experiences. In New York, the latest example is the performance and installation tears become… streams become…, a “field of water that harnesses light, reflection, music and sound” by Scottish artist Douglas Gordon and French pianist Hélène Grimaud.

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Hosted in New York City’s Park Avenue Armory, the piece begins with 122,000 gallons of water slowly creating a lake within the armory’s massive hall, channeled from holding tanks through under-floor PVC pipes. The water seeps through slabs of a sunken floor, around which the audience sits, gradually creating a near-perfect mirror of the hall’s 80-foot barrel-vaulted ceiling. Before Grimaud takes the stage, the lights dim to black, with only the sloshing of water indicating her entrance. The lighting then shifts throughout the performance, changing the reflections of the indoor lake as Grimaud works her way through water-themed works by Debussy, Ravel, Liszt and others. All these elements combine to create a captivating, surreal and memorable experience much different from a traditional recital.