Plants that go 'bump' in the night Not just an album by Kiss, Creatures of the Night is also an immersive nocturnal session at the British Science Festival. This unique collaboration between the British Science Association and artistic collective Shrinking Space, took over the tropical urban oasis of Swansea’s Plantasia, bringing science and the arts together in an exciting interactive dialogue about the night. As Alice discovered, Wonderland requires a little effort to locate. After a diversion through the intriguingly (and erroneously) named Salubrious Place, a deserted retail park appeared. Following a wrong turn at Toyz R Us, the portal to the alternative universe could finally be located. A man in a trilby and waistcoat urged brave punters to enter, but warned that they may come face-to-face with some real creatures of the night. Suddenly a lush rainforest was all around, a world away from the car park outiside. As if this was not disorientating enough, there was the opportunity to enter the sensory world of another species through the virtual reality exhibit ‘In The Eyes of the Animal’. Marshmallow Laser Feast’s installation uses Google’s Cardboard system to create the interactive forest scenery. Amazingly the headsets respond to the head movements of the wearers, allowing the audience to actually experience the subjective visual environment of the three different beasts. Louise Beer, Melanie King and Rebecca Huxley from the Lumen Studio, had created a bespoke projection where multiple colours ebbed, flowed and swirled like a hyperactive nebula. The effect was quite hypnotic and produced a soporific reaction that was profoundly relaxing. This was complemented by contemplating the giant carp calmly paddling around the central pond. Moving up the spiral walkway in to the leafy canopy revealed more surprises. Luminous ‘moonbrellas’ floated around like jellyfish. These cleverly adapted umbrellas each contained an integrated recording of poetry. Creator Thommie Gillow explained how she had written poems based on the lives of women whose names had been given to lunar craters - for example, Caroline Herschel, the first woman to win the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society for her contribution to science. At the end of the walkway a woman was engrossed in describing her dream to Professor Mark Blagrove, a pioneering researcher who seeks to unlock the secrets of dreams through the appliance of science. Meanwhile Dr Julia Lockheart, an artist from Goldsmith’s, University of London, provided her own imaginative interpretation, by drawing a representation of the dream on to a copy of Sigmund Freud’s iconic ‘Interpretation of Dreams’. Pulsing sinuously throughout this otherworldly journey was a curious soundscape. Musician and science enthusiast Suzie Shrubb explained with great gusto that this was inspired by the emissions of pulsars, rotating stars that project beams of electromagnetic radiation at a regular frequency. The sonic installation entitled ‘A tintinnabulation of cosmic scintillation’ used string instruments and human voice to represent the harmonics of these stars spinning in the ether. Emerging again in to Swansea town centre felt like being rudely unplugged from the Matrix. Dr Howard Ryland is a Wellcome Trust Media Fellow, placed at the Londonist. He is a Higher Specialty Trainee in Forensic Psychiatry at South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust.