The Experience

For the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts grand opening event, we collaborated with resident performers to create a once in a lifetime dinner experience for the organization's top sponsors and supporters. 2700 patrons of the arts came to eat, drink and celebrate one of the most unique and beautiful performing art spaces in the country, designed by Moshe Safdie.  The opening night gala followed the inaugural performance in the building. The visuals were projected in two separate buildings; across 3 walls and onto the roof of the Kauffman Center, providing an immersive visual and auditory experience.

During each vignette, particles that echoed the performer's element were released following the performer's actions and traveled along the two adjacent walls in the space. They traveled outside toward the performing arts center opposite to the performer wall. Once they reached the performing arts center, they would travel along the roof, connecting the performers on the opposite end to the building itself — their new home.

Experience design: Particle flow across buildings

Experience design: Particle flow across buildings

Visual design for generative animation

Visual design for generative animation

Generative animated particles sampled from pre rendered video.

Generative animated particles sampled from pre rendered video.

In order to bring the project together into one seamless experience we built a system that would allow the musicians playing during the dinner to control the particles flowing along the walls. We places sensors on the instruments and musicians fingers, which gave us input data to drive the parameters of the generative animation. With a total of fourteen high powered Christie projectors connected to our command center backstage we could control every pixel in the space and make adjustments using KORG midi controllers. Utilizing a mix of Cinder and Max5 we wrote custom software that connected to the soundboard of the band and drove the visuals flowing around the room blending music and light seamlessly. 

 

Visual Design

The story was told over 5 vignettes using Ballet, Cello, Modern Dance, Percussion and Opera to explore parallel themes of anticipation and release; harmony and dissonance; peace and action; ascension and descension; and anxiety and celebration. Each is marked with a thematic color culminating in Kauffman Blue. A celebration of a new home for the Performing Arts as well as a celebration of the artists themselves. Each performer was paired with an element, i.e: Vocalist, blue and balloons, glitter that was shot at hight speed and then designed as a graphic element to be released as generative particles. 

 

High Speed Camera Shoot

Within any performance, the audience misses a great deal of detail. Nuances from the performers are beautifully articulated, from slight facial expressions to delicate muscle movements. The concept was to use high speed cameras in an attempt to capture these lost moments in time — giving a visual voice to a performance's still and introspective nature through the use of abstract and expressionistic visuals inspired by the performances themselves.