After being struck by lighting three times, Zoë Barry turned to music

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After being struck by lighting three times, Zoë Barry turned to music

nervous atmosphere
words by staff writer

"These experiences changed how I exist within nature. I thought that nature had chosen me. I felt like I was leaving the human realm, as if lightning could see me, and that it would keep finding me."

They say lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice. It turns out they’re wrong.

First it hit the windscreen of her car. Moment later, it struck the bonnet. The third time, six months later, it hit her home while she was inside.

The Nervous Atmospere

  • In Zoë Barry’s live looped cello performance, she explores her tumultuous experiences of being hit by lightning
  • The performance will show at Arts House for five nights only from September 13 to 17
  • Tickets are on sale now

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This was a life-altering experience for composer, performer, educator and award-winning cellist Zoë Barry.

Although the structures helped absorb most of the impact, she started to develop “strange” syptoms, impacting her brain function, awareness and state of mind.

To help her unpack her uncanny relationship with the forces of nature, Zoë turned to her work. Her latest piece, titled The Nervous Atmophere, is set to have its world premiere at North Melbourne Town Hall’s Arts House this September.

“The Nervous Atmosphere is like a hypnotic meditation. These overwhelming encounters with nature shocked me into a new relationship with the forces of nature, electricity and the mind,” she says.

Fusing live looped cello, text and design, the show will give viewers a glimpse into what is was like for Zoë to experience these mysterious and terror-filled moments, as well as the unnerving and confusing symptoms that followed. The result is a rare and highly-charged performance that no one else would have the experience to create.

Arts House co-artistic directors Emily Sexton and Nithya Nagarajan say there’s already a lot of buzz around the event.

“Zoë is an exceptional artist and generous music leader as exemplified in her award as Telstra Music Teacher of the Year a few years back. We are proud to support an artist based in regional Victoria to premiere a cutting-edge new work in Melbourne,” they say.

Tickets to see Zoë Barry’s The Nervous Atmosphere are on sale now. Get yours here.