Ars Electronica Futurelab makes a guest appearance at London’s Royal Festival Hall
Igor Stravinsky’s ballet “Le Sacre du Printemps” was performed at the gala reopening of London’s Royal Festival Hall on June 26 and 27. The three-dimensional staging of the work was the creation of Linz’s Ars Electronica Futurelab and Viennese media artist Klaus Obermaier. The music was provided by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Stravinsky’s 1913 ballet “Le Sacre du Printemps” does not tell a story in a conventional sense; instead, it depicts a ritual of human sacrifice in heathen times, whereby the sequence of dances reflects the individual elements of the ceremony. This classic piece with its explosive musical power has not simply been visualized by Klaus Obermaier and the Ars Electronica Futurelab; rather, what they have done is to augment it with an additional level of experience. To accomplish this, a 3-D space coupled to musical impulses produces the framework for a narrative structure in which dance is the means of expression.
The interpretation of Stravinsky’s music by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop accompanied a dance performance by Julia Mach. In the real-time visualization by Klaus Obermaier and the Ars Electronica Futurelab, the dynamics and structure of the music interactively transform the physical and virtual presence of the dancer and her avatars. The result is what might be termed a meta-choreography. Stereo cameras transpose dancer Julia Mach into a virtual, three-dimensional space. Temporal strata and uncommon perspectives overlay one another, engender duplication, and bring out completely new ways of looking at the human body and its sequences of movements. Musical motifs interactively influence and manipulate these 3D projections. In this work of art, the music functions as the point of departure and, simultaneously, the consummation of the choreography.
Since it opened in 1951, the Royal Festival Hall has been one of the world’s premier concert venues. Following extensive renovations, it now resumes operations with a full schedule of cultural events.
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