Sacre- interactive 3D performance


General Management

CR Klaus Obermaier


The discrepancy between subjective and seemingly objective perception produced by stereoscopic camera systems, where the images are filtered and manipulated by computers, constitutes the central idea behind my staging of Le Sacre du Printemps.

The epoch prior to World War I, the time in which Stravinsky composed Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), was characterised by an ecstatic desire to experience the intensity of life, an emotion that would later mutate into an equally euphoric enthusiasm for war. Logically, Stravinsky conceived Sacre as an orgi- astic mass ballet.

The dissolution of social structures is reflected in the dissolution of conventional developments and struc- tures in the composition with its fragmentary, block-like lining up of movements, abrupt shifts, polytonality and polyrhythm. This, together with Nijinsky‟s choreography, resulted in one of the largest premiere scan- dals of music history.

Almost a hundred years later, the issue of the day to question the authenticity of experience in the light of the ongoing virtualisation of our habitats. It is the dissolution of our sensuous perception, of the space-time continuum, the fading dividing line between real and virtual, fact and fiction that takes us to the limits of our existence.

The immersion of the “chosen one”, her fusion with music and space, is characterized as an up-to-date “sacrifice” for an uncertain future. This is a metaphor for deliverance and the anticipation of an eternal hap- piness, or at least a new dimension of perception promised to us by new technologies and old religions. In addition, Le Sacre du Printemps looks at the complex relationship between music, dance and space. In conventional interpretations of Sacre there is simply choreography and dance. In this production, the dy- namics and structure of the music interactively transform the virtual presence of the dancer and her avatars in a type of “meta-choreography”. Stereoscopic projections create an immersive environment, allowing the audience to participate substantially more closely in this communication than in traditional theatre settings.

Stereo cameras and a complex computer system transfer the dancer Julia Mach into a virtual three- dimensional space. Time strata and unusual perspectives overlay one another and multiply, enabling a completely new perception of the body and its sequences of movements. Real-time generated virtual spaces communicate and interact with the dancer. The human body is once more the interface between reality and virtuality.

The aesthetics range from the rune-like characters of the Glagolitsa, the oldest known Slavic alphabet, to matrix-like spaces, the surfaces formed visibly by the same binary or hexadecimal code, by which they are generated in real-time. The entire orchestra is integrated in the interactive process, by means of 32 micro- phones. Musical motifs, individual voices and instruments influence the form, movement and complexity of both the 3D projections of the virtual space and those of the dancer. Music is no longer merely a starting point, but moreover the completion of the choreography.

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Media Centre

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Ars Electronica Futurelab

CLAUS ZWEYTHURM, Portfolio manager for music events and theatre
CHRISTINE SUGRUE, Interactive design and technical development
MATTHIAS BAUER, Interactive design and technical development

Ars Electronica Futurelab is based in Linz and continuously redefines mankind's relationship to computers. The institution’s activities are centred on media art, but the diversity of its projects is a powerful testimony to Futurelab's creative competence and has contributed to joint ventures with partners in the private sector, collaborative R&D undertakings, and cooperative associations with academic institutions.

The world of Ars Electronica Futurelab is interactive, multimedial ,and characterized by completely new ap- proaches to conceptualisation and design.

Hardware and software that can be used in an easy and intuitive way, superb design, and the consummate harmony of interaction and content are at the very top of Ars Electronica Futurelab's R&D agenda. In con- crete terms, Ars Electronica Futurelab carries out projects across the entire new media spectrum, commis- sioned by corporate clients and in collaboration with R&D associates and cultural institutions.

Futurelab has collaborated with associates in Austria, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the USA. The per- manent headquarters of these global activities is located in the Urfahr section of Linz, Austria, featuring computer infrastructure, studios, offices, and workshops in which up to 40 staffers carry out project-related work.

Through its ties to the Ars Electronica Festival, the world's largest and most important festival for art, tech- nology, and society, Futurelab maintains close contacts with leading members of the international media elite.

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List of performances

Jones Hall, Houston-Texas / USA
18th, 19th and 20th of May, 2018
Houston Symphony Orchestra, Andrés Orozco-Estrada

MISA Summer Festival of Arts Shanghai Symphony Hall, Shanghai / China
7th and 8th of July 2015
Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Jiemin Zhang

Beijing National Center for the Performing Arts
National Grand Theatre, Beijing / China
11th of September 2013
China National Symphony Orchestra, Yongyan HU

Budapest Spring Festival, Palace of Arts
Béla Bartók National Concert Hall Budapest / Hungary
3rd of April 2013
Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra, András Keller

Festival Internacional Cervantino Auditorio del Estado, Guanajuato / Mexico
17th of October 2012
Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de Guanajuato, Juan Trigos

Southbank Centre, Royal Festival Hall London / Great Britain
23rd of April 2011, 2 performances
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov

Symphony Hall, Birmingham / Great Britain
21st of April 2011, 2 performances
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov

Kampnagel, Hamburg / Germany
15th and 16th of April 2011
NDR Sinfonieorchester, Xian Zhang

Taipei Arts Festival, Concert Hall
National Chang Kai Shek Cultural Center
Taipei / Taiwan
28th and 29th of March, 2009
National Symphony Orchestra, Brad Lubman

Southbank Centre, Royal Festival Hall London / Great Britain
26th and 27th of June 2007
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Marin Alsop re-opening festival

Opening performance of the Bruckner Fest Linz and Classical Cloud of Sound
Brucknerhaus and Danube park, Linz / Austria
10th of September 2006
Bruckner Orchestra Linz, Dennis Russell Davies

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