Sydney Opera House releases inaugural season of Outlines
Sydney – Wednesday 7 July, 2021. The Sydney Opera House today released the inaugural Outlines season of digital works showcasing boundary-pushing artists and technologists, presented free and exclusively on Stream, the Opera House’s online streaming platform for world-class performing and digital arts.
Outlines features four digital works from around the world, including two original Sydney Opera House commissions by Soft Centre x Serwah Attafuah and Omelia, and works from the Royal Shakespeare Company and Korea National Contemporary Dance Company. The Outlines season includes:
- Apotheosis: a real-time motion-capture performance by 3D artist Serwah Attafuah and Soft Centre that ushers audiences through a hallucinogenic dreamscape populated by demons and abandoned Western Sydney landmarks;
- R+J RMX: a group of performers and dancers – with the help of an audience and Omelia storytelling technology – take Shakespeare’s well-loved play and generate new story possibilities, in real time;
- Dream: theatre, music and technology combine within the virtual world of a midsummer forest in a real-time motion-capture performance that uses innovative gaming and motion-capture technology from the Royal Shakespeare Company; and
- Beyond Black: the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company challenges the fundamental elements of the creative process, by employing Artificial Intelligence to choreograph a new work.
Stream is a virtual front row seat at the Opera House from anywhere in the world, designed to showcase world-class performing and digital arts. The program features highlights from the Opera House’s incredible multi-genre archive, livestreams of new performances, presentations by resident and international performing arts companies, and original digital content created exclusively for the platform. Over 50 hours of programming across more than 100 performances and events are now available to watch on-demand, with new content announced monthly. A subscription to Stream is free, with exclusive access to ticketed performances and events available to rent.
Program notes for editors
Serwah Attafuah and Soft Centre, with Lydia Kivela & ptwiggs
Duration: 20 Minutes
Available to watch for free on Stream throughout 2021
Apotheosis is a real-time motion-capture performance filmed in the Opera House’s Utzon Room that utilises real time rendering, game engine interactivity, world building and set design with an original score by DJ ptwiggs, aka Phoebe Twigg. Movement artist Lydia Kivela explores a hyper-real 3D environment created by Serwah Attafuah in which her movements are instantly mirrored onscreen by a digital avatar. Through three acts, we see the Main Character’s quest through unreal worlds as they experience cryptic encounters and fight scenes with monsters in a radical story of self-acceptance – resulting in Main Character’s ascension through self-doubt to a God-like status: apotheosis.
3D artist and musician Serwah Attafuah describes:
“Apotheosis is about a lone character exploring a deconstructed, hyper-real Western Sydney. She isn’t really aware of where she is or who she is but she is invited to explore and embrace her darker feelings and thoughts in the surreal landscapes. The character encounters NPC’s and manifestations of her own inner demons in a world that is a metaphor for one’s psyche.”
Apotheosis is produced with critically acclaimed Sydney-based arts organisation Soft Centre, who traverse experimental electronic music, sound art, performance art, light and video installation, contemporary dance and creative coding to foster emerging scenes, facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration and encourage radical reclamations of disused space.
Duration: 45 Minutes
Available to watch for free on Stream throughout 2021
R+J RMX is a performance work that was developed using Omelia, a revolutionary new technology that enhances collaboration and creativity in story development. Originally built for film-makers and games designers, Omelia draws on connections within any given narrative to create almost-infinite permutations of a script.
Together with some of Australia’s best dancers and performance creatives, choreographer Larissa McGowan, designer Suzanne Boccalatte, lighting designer Damien Cooper, composer and sound designer Brendan Woithe, sound designer Madeleine Mallis, AV and visuals Boris Bagattini, narrative designer Joseph Couch and creative producer Kate Armstrong Smith, Omelia pulls apart the classic story of Shakespeare’s doomed lovers, and asks audiences to reflect on the power of new technology and how it might influence the future of creativity.
Omelia founder Joseph Couch says:
“The Omelia team is thrilled to be part of the cutting edge Outlines season. We have assembled some of Australia’s most talented performing arts creatives to bring a familiar old story together with an exciting new technology, and contribute to the conversation about the future of storytelling and performance. Truly, a dream come true.”
Remix R+J in real-time using Omelia’s narrative ideation tool at rjrmx.com
The Royal Shakespeare Company, in collaboration with Manchester International Festival, Marshmallow Laser Feast and Philharmonia Orchestra
Duration: 30 Minutes
Available to watch for free on Stream until 31 September 2021
Inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this online performance from the Royal Shakespeare Company is set in the magical world of a virtual midsummer forest, narrated by Australia’s Nick Cave. Puck invites audiences on a dreamlike journey between dusk and dawn. With a cloud of fireflies lighting the way, viewers will explore the forest and encounter four sprites, Moth, Peaseblossom, Cobweb and Mustardseed.
Dream is the culmination of a major piece of research and development exploring how audiences of the future will experience live performance, bringing together expertise in theatre, the music industry, video production and gaming. Integral to the experience of Dream is an interactive symphonic score recorded by the Philharmonia Orchestra, manipulated in real-time by the performers, creating interactive music with their movements.
This presentation of Dream was performed live by actors in a motion-capture space at Portsmouth Guildhall in March 2021, and is followed by a recorded Q&A with the cast, creatives and technology teams.
Korea National Contemporary Dance Company
Duration: 25 minutes
Available to watch for free on Stream until 7 August 2021
In Beyond Black, the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company challenges the fundamental elements of the creative process, by employing Artificial Intelligence to choreograph a new work. But if AI cannot feel emotions, is beauty and meaning lost in the process? Beyond Black portrays the present of surreal possibilities rather than a perfect proof of the assumption.
In collaboration with media art group SLITSCOPE and choreographer Shin Changho, the movements of eight dancers are captured and learned by an AI dancer developed for this work, ‘Madi’, which in turn creates new choreography for the company to perform. ‘Madi’ is Korea’s first dancing AI. It literally means a ‘joint’ (called ‘madi’ in Korean), a point at which bones meet, and a ‘connection’ between humans and AI.
Choreographer Shin Changho says:
“Questioning AI as a transcendental being constantly provokes thoughts and conflicts about how harmful, or helpful it is to humanity. This work is not about confrontation between human and AI, but rather a view point to look at the transcendent reality in which imagination becomes reality with the intuitive insight of human inspiration.”
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