Wait, what's a Marshmallow Laser Feast?

Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF for short) are one of the world’s leading artist collectives specialising in immersive experiences. Based in London with a footprint and collaborators all over the globe, MLF fuse art and technology – experimenting with augmented, virtual and mixed reality. They’re best known for their awe-inspiring multi-sensory installations that zoom in on the natural world. This summer, they turn their hand to Sweet Dreams – a new interactive adventure through a fast-food empire in decline that opens at Aviva Studios in July.

The base of a tree in a forest floor showing the root systems beneath the soil

Sanctuary of the Unseen Forest by Marshmallow Laser Feast

Their specialty: unlocking nature

Much of Marshmallow Laser Feast’s work explores processes that are invisible to the human eye – creating technology that lets their audience explore natural systems.

Take In the Eyes of the Animal (2015), for example, which gave audiences a chance to see a forest from the perspective of four different animals using virtual reality (VR):  a mosquito that can perceive CO2 and can see the forest photosynthesise; a dragonfly that effectively sees in slow motion; a frog that can use sonar; and an owl with nearly 360-degree vision.

Since In the Eyes of the Animal, MLF have become known for their work that inspires wonder in both nature and tech. They scratch below the surface of what the human eye can see with works like We Live in an Ocean of Air (2018) revealing the connection between plants and humans through breath – or quite literally exploring the human body in their video installation Evolver (2022) which follows the flow of oxygen through the body.

Two spectators wearing headsets experience a digital artwork on a large vertical screen

Evolver - Marshmallow Laser Feast, Atlas V and Pressman Films

Collaboration is key to what they do

Research is a huge part of MLF’s work and they often collaborate with universities and museums to get to the heart of the science they explore.

Their work has attracted attention from global superstars too – they created the visual effects for Fantastic Funghi on Netflix, have fashioned fantastical light displays for Miley Cyrus concerts, crafted a music video for U2 and have had Cate Blanchett voice their installations.

Children wear headsets in Grizedale Forest experiencing In The Eyes of The Animal by Marshmallow Laser Feast

In The Eyes of The Animal by Marshmallow Laser Feast

They’re no stranger to Manchester International Festival – or the rest of the world

MLF works have travelled all over the world. In just the past year their works have been included in major exhibitions in Quebec, Seoul, London, Stockholm, Warsaw, Melbourne and Cannes – to name a few – and they’ve also exhibited at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW and Lisbon Architectural Triennale.

Closer to home, they worked on a reimagining of Shakespeare’s a Midsummer’s Nights Dream in 2021 – bringing Shakespeare into the realms of gaming and virtual reality. Dream brought together fifteen specialist organisations – including Factory International/Manchester International Festival – to explore how audiences might experience theatre in the near future.

A single spectator looking at a large vertical screen with a digital artwork of a tree trunk

Sanctuary of the Unseen Forest by Marshmallow Laser Feast

Sweet Dreams takes them in a new direction

Sweet Dreams doesn’t just delve into one natural process, it looks at a whole system – one that we’re all connected to. The food chain. Taking audiences on a journey through a fast-food empire in decline – led by their fading mascot Chicky Ricky –Sweet Dreams is all about appetite, consumerism and what we want to eat.

It also marks a shift in how they’re working with AI technology to develop new visual material. Writer and former chef Simon Wroe is on board to chart fast food empire the Real Good Chicken Company's downturn and rebrand, and illustrator and Art Director McBess has developed a range of characters which are voiced by superstars Reggie Watts, Munya Chawawa and Morgana Robinson.

Sweet Dreams pushes the boundary of cinema – extending visual worlds beyond the screen in a playful way. Combining their trademark breathtaking motion graphics with a stellar storyline, it’s set to be the surreal snack you can’t get enough of this summer. Bon appetit.

Sign up ↓