When Australian multidisciplinary artist Sophia Brous began investigating ideas for her site-specific work The Invisible Opera, she spent hours and hours in city squares and other public spaces noting down everything she could see in order to create what she calls a “taxonomy” of her surroundings and the events that took place.

Sophia Brous

Sophia Brous. Photo supplied

“I was interested in exploring the kind of paradox between shared public space and internal, personal, private experience,” she explains.

“Of course, there were things that were very large, very macro in their scale [such as buildings]. But the longer I watched and felt, then things could at times feel deeply seasonal,” she adds, citing “weather patterns, the shifting of light, the movement of leaves in the trees, the movements of bodies and the ways that we, as humans, busy ourselves in these environments.”

Brous, who lives and works between Melbourne and New York, then began putting together a concept for the show, bringing in Australian theatre makers Lara Thoms and Samara Hersch, together with US choreographer Faye Driscoll as core collaborators.

They developed the concept over a number of years, with Brous soaking up the atmosphere in...