by the Finnish National Opera and Ballet
OPEN CALL: Assembly x Opera Beyond Q2/2021
Open Call: Assembly X Opera Beyond
The Finnish National Opera and Ballet and the digital culture festival Assembly are calling teams to propose creative technological concepts that take live performance into new heights.
This is an invitation to re-imagine the experience of opera performance at the age of omnipresent digitality.
Aida, Salome… Laila
Laila, the new, interactive work created by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Paula Vesala, Tuomas Norvio and Ekho Collective for the Finnish National Opera premiered on the 20th of August, 2020.
Laila rejects the traditional roles of performing arts, as its music and visuality evolve and change in interaction with the audience. In Laila, you are not the audience, but one of many actors shaping reality. Laila is a unique experience, which is different every time.
Opera Beyond is a journey to define tomorrow’s arts, inspired by the courage to explore, disrupt conventions and boldly head for new adventures. With open doors, arms and minds, it welcomes different genres, events, creative industries and technologies to join in and transform the future of opera and ballet.
By combining arts and technology without prejudice or preconceptions, Opera Beyond builds an ecosystem of independent actors that gives rise to unusual combinations. Join in!
VR + AR / Video +
Projection – mapping ]
Sound + Artificial
New op / Era
One of Finland’s finest and most diverse art institutions, the Finnish National Opera and Ballet (FNOB), is known for ambitious artistic collaborations. FNOB will be working in close partnership with selected future thinking associations to make Opera Beyond a reality. With funding, tools, and expertise we can work together to push the boundaries of performing arts.
Violet Disruption makes music for ecstasy, rapture, and euphoria. They want to empower the audience. FEEL is a no-judgment space for the audience to escape within - a place to release from the day-to-day, relinquish control, and feel.
Their project FEEL: an immersive rave opera.
Hosted by avatar DJ Violet Disruption, this experience takes audiences through an explosive, liberating, and all-encompassing experience revealing a new future. Violet Disruption is inspired by the collective experiences of ecstasy & rapture shared by audiences of all kinds (opera, rave, circus). She is inspired to open up new spaces for endorphin release with her immersive rave Opera. Violet is the connecting point of worlds - raving & opera, movement & music, art & tech.
Violet Disruption is an avatar ´DJ who encourages audiences to find freedom through an operatic rave. She is on the planet to unlock hope through the act of raving, and her voice & music directly address the audience and invite them to move and discover their bodies with her.
Since November 2020, Steph has been creating music for Violet Disruption, and in February of 2021, David & Steph met on the Expanding the Canvas project. Both artists were interested in getting people to move and use their bodies to express themselves, create work to encourage people to let go, get their bodies moving, and feel free.
Get to know the Team
The team was brought together across 2021 as Violet Disruption had an early R&D period with the Royal Opera House, National Ballet of Canada, to develop a 5-minute pilot experience. The team is composed of artists, producers, and digital technologists. Amanda Mayo is the music producer and sound designer, David Andrew Reid is a Jamaican-Canadian theatre/tv artist and the choreographer of the Violet Disruption project, Gideon Berger & Block9 are the Art directors & experience creators, Stephanie Singer is the Composer & creative director, and Sirt team are the Digital technologists in Canada.
Cacao Cinema aims to create interactive experiences that merge filmmaking, video games, architecture, technology, and art. They are focused on creating interactive and immersive experiences that combine different languages and technologies.
Their project: Gaming CircOpera - Let's play together. .
Their project is evolving between two main ideas: to bring the videogame language in Circopera and to make the audience interact with the artists so that they can be a part of the play, keeping the protagonism of the performers in the scene.
They want to give the audience the possibility of creating their own avatars to share the stage as virtual performers in harmony with the actual artists. “To be part of the play in a way never seen before, not just as a spectator, but as a performer, while they immerse themselves in an interactive, magical and dreamlike world.”
Get to know the Team
The team is composed of three professionals. Nell Córdova is a Filmmaker, Producer and the Creative Director at Cacao Cinema, Nelson Zambrano is an Architect, CG Artist and the CEO at Cacao Cinema, Conrado Pittari is a Visual Artist, Video Game Developer and the Technology director at Cacao Cinema.
ACADEMIC ART HACKERS
Helsinki, Finland & Zürich, Switzerland
“We make art using tech, and then we merge it with tech”. Academic Art Hackers’ creations are inspired by tech enabling novel artistic experiences so that they can achieve something unimaginable.
With this project, they want to arouse feelings of joy and surprise in the audience by making novel combinations of familiar elements of circus and opera, such as animals and visual and sound effects, combined with interaction. Their enthusiasm for artistic work completes their competence and the used technology (e.g., mocap, 3D audio) to implement the project. They are using technology for drones, which can be applied in a new context.
Get to know the team
The team is composed of 16 people: engineers, artists, designers, and other creators. Eight people are from Helsinki, Finland, and eight are from Zürich, Switzerland. The members of the team are Petri Juntunen, Marcus Korhonen, Matti Niinimäki, Sofia Pantouvaki, Krisjanis Rijnieks, Antti Ruotoistenmäki, Mikko Sams, Sebastian J. Schlecht, Martin Fröhlich, Joël Gähwiler, Christian Iseli, Roman Jurt, Max Kriegleder, Eric Larrieux, Oliver Sahli and Stella Speziali.
The Vitamin team is composed of artists and electrical engineers, which allows them to merge their knowledge to explore new fields and mix them to create unique artistic experiences.
Their project: MATT3R
The core of their innovation is in working in the intersection of physics, technology, and arts. MATT3R, The origin of creation, is an abstract concept that jumps between science and consciousness to focus on the whole as an ensemble and an equal. It is based on real-time visuals, reacting as independent algorithms that rule the entire experience. This means that every performance will create a whole different and unique installation. The artists on stage will be the ones transmitting the data with their movements and choreographies.
Physics, nature, digital spaces, lights, and social and cultural issues are usually the sources of their creations. They find simulations of physical phenomena inspiring, in which simple rules give rise to complexity and realistic emotions.
Get to know the team
The team has four membres, which are each artists of their domain. At Vitamin studio Laura Martínez has the role of a Production Director and an Account Manager, Ana Piquer is the Art Director and a 3D Designer, Javier Mujica is the Creative Director and one of the Co-founders of Vitamin Studio, and Pablo Álvarez is an electronic engineer, Co-founder, CEO, and Technical Director of Vitamin Studio.
Partner, Chief Operating Officer at Zoan
Laura Olin is partner and Chief Operating Officer of Zoan where she has worked since 2016. Her background is in b2b marketing & business development and journalism.
Zoan is an award-winning XR studio based in Helsinki. The global team of professionals creates real-time 3D to help companies improve their processes. Zoan is one the creators of the new XR production simulation tool, of which the prototype will be presented at the conference.
Tanya Leal Soto
Producer, Tender Claws
Tanya Leal Soto is a Mexican American director, producer and content creator.
Tanya is currently the Producer for Art & Tech Studio Tender Claws, the studio responsible for award winning game Virtual, virtual reality and AR app tendar. Most recently they released The Under Presents where immersive theater meets VR gaming to bring live actors into your living room.
Using her filmmaking background, she dove into 360 storytelling through directing and producing 360 video content. In 2018 Etienne, a sci-fi 360 short she directed was part of NEXT the innovation hub at the Marché du Film de Cannes.
Tanya is also a professional puppeteer.
In 2017 she co-wrote a 10 episode series for Mexico's Televisa Foundation called Technolochicas, with the goal of raising awareness among young Latinas and their families about opportunities and careers in technology.
Composer and conductor
Composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen is currently the Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor for London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. In 2020, he will become the Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony. He is also the Artist in Association at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, and the cofounder of the annual Baltic Sea Festival. His newest work, the interactive installation Laila, created in collaboration with dramaturg Paula Vesala and Ekho Collective, will preview at the Opera Beyond conference.
In recent years, Salonen has experimented with groundbreaking ways to present music, with the first major virtual-reality production from a UK symphony orchestra; the award-winning RE-RITE and Universe of Sound installations, which have allowed people all over the world to conduct, play, and step inside the orchestra through audio and video projections, and the much-hailed app for iPad, The Orchestra, which allows the user unprecedented access to the internal workings of eight symphonic compositions. In 2015 he addressed the Apple Distinguished Educator conference on the uses of technology in music education.
Salonen is the recipient of many major awards, including the UNESCO Rostrum Prize for his work Floof in 1992 and the Siena Prize, given by the Accademia Chigiana, in 1993. His most recent awards include the 2014 Nemmers Composition Prize. He has also received seven honorary doctorates in four different countries, been named Musician of the Year by Musical America in 2006 and elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010.
Photo: Katja Tähjä
Sami Henrik Haapala
Artistic director, The Center for Everything
Sami Henrik Haapala is a producer, director, performer, anthropologist and dj. They are also a doctoral candidate in artistic research at the Performing Arts Research Centre Tutke in the University of the Arts Helsinki.
In addition to having degrees in both acting and dance they also hold a BA in Cultural Anthropology. In their doctoral research Haapala focuses on how the performer, participant and environment co-create action in immersive and game performances.
Haapala’s own works cut through theatre, dance and live art. They have created immersive, interactive and collaborative performances with a vast range of makers and institutions both from Finland and internationally. Their latest collaboration is a founding of a new political party led by an artificial intelligence – The AI Party – which is an immersive performance co-produced with independent theatre and live art companies from Finland, Sweden, Norway and Australia.
They are also the artistic director of a performing arts company The Center for Everything.
Photo: Marko Mäkinen
Mixed Reality Lead at Varjo
Marcus is a VR pioneer.
He works as Mixed Reality Lead at Varjo, and is the Co-founder of the VR company SceneThere. Marcus lead the work for Varjo’s XR-1 – the world’s first photorealistic Mixed Reality headset. He is also teaching VR/AR at Singularity University.
In 2016 he co-founded the VR company SceneThere based on the idea that anyone can create virtual worlds using a 360 camera. By using SceneThere's tools he has created interactive VR-documentaries such as "North Korea VR" which was featured in Wired, BBC, Mashable and others, and "Voices of the Favela" which was premiered at UN’s conference “Habitat 3”.
Before getting into VR Marcus worked 7 years with Nokia & Microsoft where he was leading the work for mobile cameras.
He is passionate about the way technology can help us telling a story and make us connect with each other. Ever since 1998 - when he invented a personal blogging system before the word blog existed - he has been inventing new ways to share stories, and connect with people.
Director of Digital Development at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)
Sarah Ellis is an award winning producer currently exploring new artistic initiatives as Director of Digital Development for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). She has been listed in the top 100 most influential people working in Gaming and Technology by The Hospital Club and Guardian Culture Professionals. During her time at RSC she has continued exploration into the future of theater innovation in collaborations with tech giants like Google, Magic Leap and Intel.
Sarah is an advocate for a people-centric approach whilst pushing the boundaries of theater. For example in the Tempest with Intel the experience didn’t rely on pre-recorded footage, but instead turned live performance into a digital presentation by using real-time motion and facial capture for the very first time in history.
At her work Sarah is continuously searching for new ways to amplify live experiences digitally. She and the RSC publish their explorations and lessons learned to encourage other cultural institutions to follow their footsteps.
Luke Halls is an award-winning video designer, who has created video designs, animations and projections for a wide variety of music, theatre and dance performances.
His opera work includes Don Giovanni, The Unknown Soldier (The Royal Opera House), Otello (Metropolitan Opera), The Flying Dutchman (The Finnish National Opera) and Carmen (Bregenz Lake Stage). Theatre work includes Ugly Lies The Bone, The Lehman Trilogy, Antony and Cleopatra (National Theatre), The Nether (Royal Court), West Side Story (Broadway Theatre) and Frozen (West End).
He has created video designs and animation for music artists such as Adele, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Robbie Williams, Pet Shop Boys, George Michael, Rolling Stones, Genesis, Darren Hayes, Elton John, U2, Muse and Take That. His work also includes the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Closing Ceremonies and the 2019 Pan American Games Opening Ceremony.
Luke received a Knight of Illumination Award for Don Giovanni (ROH) and a BAFTA for his work on the ITV show The Cube.
Ekho Collective is a group of artists, designers and technology professionals, who specialise in immersive art. Ekho Collective’s members are Minja Axelsson, Heikki Heiskanen, Essi Huotari, Olli Kilpi, Joonas Nissinen, Tuomas Norvio, Saara-Henriikka Mäkinen and Iina Taijonlahti. In their work the collective combines different mediums of art with AI based technology.
Ekho Collective’s concept was chosen as the winner in the international Opera Beyond competition last spring. The interactive work Laila will premiere at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet in June 2020, with a preview in the Opera Beyond Conference. Laila is created by composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, dramaturg Paula Vesala and Ekho Collective in collaboration with the Finnish National Opera and Ballet.
The immersive piece reflects on fears and dreams related to the development of technology and artificial intelligence. Laila invites the audience to join her in creating her world.
After its performances at the Finnish National Opera in June 2020, Laila will embark on an international tour.
The conference audience will get to hear a case study on Laila, as Ekho Collective opens their creative process.
Kalle Rasinkangas is a media artist and sound designer working mostly with interactive art. His work consists of virtual reality art, spatial installations, sound installations and performances.
Kalle Rasinkangas is Nokia Bell Labs’ first guest artist in their new artist-in-residence programme in the Nordic countries. He is working on an interactive installation, which will be showcased at the Opera Beyond Conference in May.
Rasinkangas uses technology in a way that allows participants to engage in actively shaping the artwork and creating their own personal experience. His artistic intent is to form emotional, surprising and multisensory experiences which communicate between the audience, the space and context surrounding the piece and the artist.
Drawing inspiration from hiking in the nature and playing video games, his artwork is trying to find a balance between the physical and virtual.
Photo: Aleks Talve
Head of Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) at Nokia Bell Labs
Domhnaill Hernon is an award-winning technology, innovation and creativity executive. He is Head of Experiments in Arts and Technology (E.A.T.) at Nokia Bell Labs. Domhnaill received an undergrad in Aeronautical Engineering and a PhD in Aerodynamics from the University of Limerick and an executive MBA from Dublin City University, Ireland.
He previously led R&D organizations and developed and executed strategies to overcome the “innovation valley of death”. He is Head of Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) which is a new initiative he founded to fuse art and engineering/science to develop solutions that humanize technology.
Domhnaill’ s work has been featured in Wired Magazine, Times Square, SXSW, Nasdaq, MWC, Ars Electronica, TEDx, Inspirefest to name just a few and he advises cultural programs globally.
Artistic Director of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet and an opera singer
Lilli Paasikivi is the Artistic Director of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet and an opera singer.
Mezzosoprano Lilli Paasikivi has performed throughout her career on the leading opera and concert platforms of the world. Her repertoire varies from Mozart to Wagner side by side with symphonic and contemporary music. Lilli Paasikivi was a member of the soloist ensemble of the Finnish National Opera in 1998-2013.
Since 2013 Paasikivi has worked as Artistic Director of the Finnish National Opera. In 2019, she launched the long-term Opera Beyond project, which aims to give new tools to the traditional opera and ballet fields.
Head of Audience Labs at the Royal Opera House in London
Annette Mees is the Head of Audience Labs at the Royal Opera House in London, a new department which will be experimenting with immersive technology opening up new experiences for audiences. She was a Creative Fellow of WIRED magazine and The Space, the guest artistic director of the Danish Inspiration Lab, and started her career as co-artistic director of interactive theatre company Coney.
Annette has worked with diverse partners across sectors including Tate Britain, the United Kingdom Parliament, Ogilvy, WIRED Magazine, British Council, The National Theatre of Wales, SJ01 San Jose Biennale, Nesta, and several UK universities.
She enjoys bringing together interdisciplinary teams that normally do not work together. Annette has worked with a wide range of specialists including artists, designers, theatre makers, academics, politicians, thinkers, futurists, creative technologists, AI experts, film makers, historians, curators, producers, advertising agencies, a magician and an astronaut.
Senior Producer of Audience Labs at the Royal Opera House
Sam is currently the Senior Producer of Audience Labs at the Royal Opera House, an innovation initiative bringing together pioneering artists and next generation technology to create boundary-breaking contemporary opera and ballet experiences. Previous to the Royal Opera House, Sam produced headline contemporary exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and before this at Museum of the Moving Image in New York.
She has commissioned and worked with a range of artists, designers, technologists, and creative practitioners, and enjoys making cross-disciplinary, interactive public experiences that offer new perspectives and push the boundaries of digital creativity. Sam was also the co-founder of the Bristol-based arts organisation Compass Presents, creating immersive environments, enhanced screenings and interactive encounters.
Markus Noisternig is working on connecting experimental music and scientific research with immersive 3D sound. He is widely acclaimed for his work at the crossroads of artistic creativity and scientific research. As an artist and electronic music performer he has collaborated with several well-known avant-garde composers and bands. He currently works in Paris as a researcher at the IRCAM-institute focused on electro-acoustic avant-garde music.
Director, Amos Rex Art Museum
Kai Kartio is the director of the Amos Rex art museum, which opened in 2018 to widespread attention. The exhibition programme of Amos Rex combines contemporary art that makes use of experimental technology, 20th century modernism, and the art of ancient cultures. Kartio envisages a world in which art and gaming collide. He is convinced that masters like Leonardo da Vinci or Giulio Romano would have been greatly fascinated by virtual reality.
Joris Weijdom is a researcher and designer of theatrical experiences using mixed reality technology. He is the founder of the Media and Performance Laboratory (MAPLAB), which from 2012 to 2015 enabled practise-led artistic research on the intersection of performance, media and technology. He thinks that sharing ideas and concepts through ‘sketching’ in an interactive mixed-reality environment is a powerful and effective approach for creative research, design and development.
Lucas Rizzotto was born in Brazil and, in his own words, grew up on the internet. He is a young and innovative advocate for augmented and virtual reality and the use of technology in storytelling. Rizzotto has, for instance, created the impressive and dreamlike virtual reality experience Where Thoughts Go, which has won multiple awards.
Head of Digital Development for the National Theatre in London
Toby Coffey is Head of Digital Development for the National Theatre in London where he focuses on developing forms of digital engagement and interaction around the NT and its repertoire of productions. In 2016 he established their Immersive Storytelling Studio to examine how Virtual Reality, 360° film, Augmented Reality and other emerging technologies can widen and enhance the NT’s remit to be a pioneer of dramatic storytelling and to enable an audience to stand in the shoes of another.
Anna Vavilova and Joonas Laurikainen are team leads and coaches from Talk The Talk program, they will be your helping hand in mastering the project pitch on Thursday.
How often do you hear that public speaking is a natural gift and you can’t be good at it? Talk The Talk believes that public speaking is a skill and anyone can master it with the certain amount of practice, determination and guidance.
Talk The Talk is a movement with the series of open workshops and annual speaker-accelerator program in Finland. Last year we hosted the final of the program in Musiikkitalo, the biggest music hall of Helsinki. We discuss, design and practice the best techniques in friendly environment -- so that anyone can feel a bit uncomfortable but in a comfortable way
Professor Kim Vincs is Director of the Centre for Transformative Media Technologies at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. Her work spans creative technology for performance, digital scenography, VR, AR and robotics applications for motion capture technology.
She has developed interactive performance systems and virtual scenography for dance, theatre and opera over several years, creating her own works, and collaborating with companies such as Victorian Opera and Australian Dance Theatre.
Kim Vincs is a leading researcher in the creative arts, with six Australian Research Council grants, 40+ industry partnerships, and 20+ arts/science collaborations across motion capture, game development, robotics, haptics, app design, 3D stereoscopy, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, cognitive psychology, biomechanics, mathematics, architecture and exercise science. Vincs’s industry partnerships include national and International companies such as Autodesk, Motion Analysis, Act3animation, Iloura, Alt.vfx, Arts Access Victoria, Victorian Opera and Australian Dance Theatre.
She has commercial motion capture credits including the Cannes Silver Lion winning Nocturnal Migration. Kim integrates scientific, technological and artistic methodologies to deliver innovative research to digital and performing arts industries, companies and communities. Her work spans creative technology for performance, digital scenography, VR, AR and robotics applications for motion capture technology.
In 2017, she led an interdisciplinary and cross-institutional team with an ARC LIEF grant, creating an Embodied Movement Network. Vincs is an award-winning educator with expertise in collaborative, interdisciplinary curriculum design linking art, technology, science and humanities. She has two Carrick National Teaching Awards; a National Teaching Award, Arts and Humanities and Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. Vincs joined the Department of Film and Animation at Swinburne in 2017 where she is a Research Director. Before joining Swinburne, she founded Deakin University’s Deakin Motion.Lab.
Pommern Dance on the Deck
Dance on the Deck celebrates s/s Pommern's 100 days round-the-world voyage back to the 1930s. The visitors get to know the crew and participate in life on board.
Dance on the Deck is an interactive video-installation capturing the joy of the crew when anchoring to London after weeks at sea. The you are welcomed to join the crew's party, but you are also required to dance in order to the party going in the 1930!
The installations uses motion tracking cameras for follow user's movements. Installation is made for Åland Maritime Museum by Radical Rabbit and Rndk Productions. Experience also running daily in Pommern, Åland. Hope you get Taisto dance too!
Peter Vesterbacka is a global entrepreneur from the Heart of Eurasia, Helsinki, Finland. Branded communities co-created and initiated by Peter include the HP Bazaar, Mobile Monday, Slush and Startup Sauna to name a few. He was the Mighty Eagle at Angry Birds for many years taking that brand to unprecedented heights.
Peter is also currently adjunct professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Tongji University, one of the leading universities in China. In 2011 Time Magazine named Peter one of the 100 most influential people on the planet.
Marcel Karnapke lives in Berlin and is developer, lecturer and co-founder of the artist collective “CyberRäuber”, which realizes new formats and applications for Virtual Reality in a theatre context.
For Cambridge University (UK) he has developed virtual museums for the dissemination of archaeological research results. This has also resulted in interactive and narrative 3D formats, such as films and virtual reality applications, through which the viewer can experience a virtual 360° experience.
In 2017, in collaboration with Schauspiel Dortmund and directed by Kay Voges, the VR play “Memories of Borderline” was created, which was shown both at the Theatertreffen Berliner Festspiele and at Ars Electronica.
His work focuses on 3D reality reconstruction in the field of architecture as well as the digitization of complete stage sets of classical theater. New is the full-body recording of performers from the field of dance and the performing arts in the form of VR holography for VR and AR applications.
Marcel is the winner of the 3D Guild Award of the International 3D Summit in Liege, Belgium and in 2017 he won the Halo Award in Gold of the VR Days in the category Best 3D VR Animation Film with “Pitoti Prometheus”.
Marcel will be one of the panelists in the Stage Arts in Virtual Reality panel on Friday at 16:00.
Nuanc3d Virtual Reality
Nuanc3d is the world’s first volumetrically captured and virtually experienced contemporary circus performance, bringing air acrobats right within the reach of the viewer. You share space with surreal characters among which you may move freely and observe the performance from different perspectives. This makes the piece a unique experience for everyone.
Three-part Nuanc3d combines circus art and virtual reality in a way which remains resonating in your body and mind. The work is a collaboration between software company Delicode and contemporary circus group Agit-Cirk.
The Ordinary Circus Girl VR
The Ordinary Circus Girl by Corinne Linder and Novelab is a sensorial experience using virtual reality headsets and live performance.
Creating a physical experience on the fine line between virtual and real.
Based on a real event that Corinne underwent, the narrative blends real life with fiction. Inspired by a fall that forced her to rethink her career as a circus artist, the viewer is invited to follow a narrator Anna from the backstage to the stage itself.
It is a journey where you as viewers become part of a troupe of aerial artists. Inviting the audience to discover both physical and emotional parts of the world of contemporary circus. A place where everything seems possible, and fore mostly a practice where the fear of falling is always present.
Hold On - Nomadic VR
HA visual experience in virtual reality about contemporary circus.
Based on Corinne Linder's life experiences, the Hold On VR experience transports viewers-users into the world of contemporary circus and the aerial disciplines. A opportunity to discover the different sensations usually experienced by artists on stage: the notion of risk, joy, adrenaline or danger.
This experience is based on the fragility of the moment. A moment when the fall seems inevitable, and which, when it occurs, suspends forever the grace of the moment.
Half Life VR
Half Life VR is a Virtual Reality short film directed by Robert Connor capturing the immersive spirit of choreographer Sharon Eyal's dance work Half Life performed by the Royal Swedish Ballet. The short is a co-production between the Royal Swedish Opera and Robert & Robert Studios. The VR production is inspired by 3D dance films such as Pina, aiming to present a uniquely immersive and artistic experience. It’s a legend. A sharp projection of language, movements and formulas of the soul. It’s a marble arrow being fired to a shivering audience from the end of a corridor. This creation is monotonous with an angle. It can be good friends under your feet and bad people in your hands.
Robert Connor (born 28.06.1984; Katrineholm, Sweden) is a Swedish/American director. During his time at Stockholm Film School, he was determined to learn the language of cinematic storytelling & converting it into a language for Virtual Reality. Robert is quickly gaining traction across the world as one of the pioneers for amazing cinematic VR experiences.
"For a long time everyone wanted VR, but weren’t prepared to dive into a VR project. The Royal Swedish Opera proved that they are cutting edge. Together, we transformed an ancient art form into a VR piece unlike anything ever made. Traditional rules of filming don’t apply anymore. You’ll feel the characters in a way not possible in a theatre or on TV." – Robert Connor, director
Ethan Edwards is a Researcher with the Experiments in Art and Technology Program at Nokia Bell Labs. He coordinates large-scale collaborations between artists and engineers and works to find new forms of human communication.
Technological art thrives when many individual specialities and systems work together. Immersive installations require sound, visual, cameras, IOT sensors, and any number of interactive systems to communicate and share data in real time. At the Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology program, Ethan has been part of building many performances and installations which rely on different varieties of networking technology in a number of different presentation contexts.
Ethan Edwards will share best practices for tying novel systems together, present E.A.T.'s work in this field including new Bell Labs inventions, and explore the future of large-scale artworks which rely on our networks.
Olli-Pekka Koivunen graduated as Master of Art at the Theatre Academy of Finland 2014 . He has worked at the Hämeenlinna City Theatre and the Finnish National Opera as Head of lighting since 1994 and as a lighting designer since 2000.
Olli-Pekka Koivunen has designed the lighting for numerous theatre and opera productions, as well as for several contemporary dance works from the Finnish National Ballet, including work from such choreographers as Per Jonsson, Jorma Uotinen, Sami Saikkonen, Marilena Fontoura, Tero Saarinen, George Balanchine, Glen Tetley, Susanna Leinonen, Virpi Pahkinen, Marjo Kuusela and Jorma Elo. Koivunen also designed the lighting on Maximiliano Guerra’s production of the Don Quijote ballet for the Stuttgart Ballet and Javier Torres’ Sleeping Beauty for the Prague National Theatre in 2012. Latest work was for Finnish National Ballet Beauty and the Beast, choreographer by Javier Torres.
As a result of the reconstruction of the Finnish National Opera in 2007, he gained access to state-off-the-art technology, such as design and lighting scenes using 3D, Wysiwyg or MA desk lighting. He is very interested in all theatre forms, and he enjoys working with theatrical and visual means of expression and looking at ways to develop them further.
Olli-Pekka Koivunen will be speaking about Virtual Baubrobe together with Norwegian Opera and Ballet's Tommy Ingebretsen on Friday at 9:30.
Rob Morgan is a game writer, digital dramaturge, and co-founder and Creative Director of immersive AR studio Playlines. Rob was Lead Game Writer and Voice Director on the groundbreaking PS3 AR titles 'Wonderbook: Book of Spells' and 'Book of Potions', written in collaboration with J.K. Rowling, and he wrote and voice-directed 'A Fisherman'sTale' from InnerspaceVR.
Rob has worked on numerous VR/AR projects including writing ‘Firebird: The Unfinished' (VR) (premiered Tribeca 2018) and the 2017 HoloLens project 'SlushPolis Story' (Future of Storytelling Prize-winner 2017), has written premium content for the critically-acclaimed 'Fallen London', and was Content Editor for the multi-award-winning '80 Days'.
Rob is a passionate pioneer of immersive narrative. He directed Playlines' interactive installations at London's iconic Roundhouse and #FutureFest 2016, and co-created and directed the location-based immersive AR Grime experience 'CONSEQUENCES' (FoST Prize Finalist 2018) in collaboration with multi-award-winning UK rapper Harry Shotta.
Annina Antinranta is a concept and experience designer, futures thinker and a coach specialised in service creation and customer experience.
She works at the intersection of people and emerging tech. Annina has a diverse background in art, service design, UI and UX design, branding, marketing, product design and performing arts and music. For the past twenty years she has worked with customers from start-ups to multinational companies designing concepts from mobile phone apps to physical attractions and visitor experiences.
Being future-capable is stretching the mind. Annina is one of the core team members of the award winning Tulevaisuuspäivä 2019 (Futures Day), aimed at bringing future literacy to everyone’s toolkit, and a co-founder of the award nominated Intelligence Augmentation Design Toolkit, aimed at demystifying machine learning.
In recent years Annina has focused on training and coaching designers and non-tech experts on future smart service creation. Annina currently works at Futurice as a design director and lead service designer.
Wilfried is a user experience designer specializing in emerging tech and hardware related cases. From engineering through development to user centred design, Wilfried has spent the past dozen years getting his hands dirty while tackling the ins and outs of human-computer interaction.
From humble origins as a rancher’s son on a remote horse farm in Canada’s coastal mountain range, Wilfried’s work has taken him across the world through a wide variety of projects. These have involved everything from building user interfaces in German and Chinese factories to prototyping rehabilitative health devices in Iceland and making interactive Samba costumes in Finland.
Currently, Wilfried works at Futurice on AR/VR and industrial projects, often serving as a bridge between tech and design.
Ike Rings is a creative technologist who is passionate about the intersection of art, science and technology. He is currently working at Futurice as a specialist of emerging technologies such as Mixed Reality and Social Robotics, both of which explore and experiment with various aspects of human-machine interaction.
Ike's main area of interest are immersive visual technologies, especially Augmented Reality. However, these technologies do not exist in a vacuum and therefore he continues to experiment with machine learning aspects such as computer vision and neural networks with other Futurice experts. These experiments are a part of innovation company activities and when immersive visuals are combined with machine learning and other approaches to AI, unforeseen yet delightful results can emerge.
Experimentation, research and continuous learning-by-doing are vital elements of Ike's work. In the context of the arts, he is especially fascinated by the user interaction and experience with immersive visual technologies and new realities.
Luke Ritchie is Head of Innovation & Partnerships at the Philharmonia Orchestra. The Orchestra has had a dedicated Digital department for nearly a decade, using technology to connect with a growing audience beyond the traditional Concert Hall, creating new artistic experiences that allow you to step inside the Orchestra.
Under the artistic leadership of Principal Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Digital team has created a range of cutting-edge projects, from iPad apps to interactive web documentaries, from its large-scale installations to touring musical trucks, from its extensive video collection through to Virtual Reality. It began working in VR in early 2015 and has created three films to date.
The Philharmonia Orchestra is a world-class symphony orchestra for the 21st century, led by Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen.
The Orchestra’s home is Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London, where it presents over 50 performances each year. Six other residencies across the UK bring the Philharmonia to a wide national audience. Internationally, the Philharmonia is active across Europe, Asia and the USA.
Panel: Augmenting Live Performance
The panelists will present us with three different ways of augmenting live performance with projection technologies.
The constant development of projection technologies can enhance the level of immersion in stage arts. For example in The Finnish National Ballet’s Little Mermaid, projection technology created an illusion of being under the sea, with sharks and turtles appearing right next to the audience members wearing 3D glasses. Another method is the traditional projection mapping that benefits today from more and more sophisticated tracking systems. The tracking systems can also be used with many kinds of projection solutions, from those relying on video to alternative techniques like laser. In this panel, the guests will discuss the current and upcoming trends in the field and compare three different technologies creating three dimensional effects on stage.
From the point of view of art institutions’ management there is also a very concrete advantage in digital scenography. Instead of bringing in tens of trucks and personnel delivering a set for a visiting production, the entire scenography can be put on digitally.
Jouka Valkama is a dancer and choreographer who has worked at the Finnish National Ballet since 1995. He is also the new artistic director of dance company Ballet Finland. He has worked as video designer in many live performances, and was responsible for the 3D projections in The Finnish National Ballet’s The Little Mermaid (2015).
Kimmo Karjunen is a lighting, set, video and sound designer within opera and contemporary dance. He has designed more than 40 contemporary dance pieces. He graduated as the Master of Arts from the Theatre Academy of Finland in 1991. Karjunen has been a Senior lecturer of lighting design in the Theatre Academy since 1995. He received the State of Finland Award for the Arts in 2009.
Tatu Tyni has worked as a professional magician for 20 years and has toured all over the world, from the US to North Korea. He is a stage illusion innovator and has created his own Digital Illusion Equipment (D.I.E.) based on lasers tracking props and actors. He has created stage illusions for various theatres, including Helsinki City Theatre and Vaasa City Theatre.
Momo the Robot
Momo the Robot is an open-source InMoov robot designed by Gaël Langevin. Having been born to Futurice approximately two years ago, Momo has achieved surprisingly lot. At the age of two, Momo has already been part of a contemporary dance performance "Human Robot Moving Robot", featured in a movie "Outouden Laakso", hosted engaging conversations at "The Other Encounter", taught children, traveled the world and even had an appearance on Finnish live TV show "Enbuske, Veitola & Salminen".
In spring 2018, Momo had the chance to teach autistic children baby sign language in collaboration with Prizztech and Satakunta healthcare district. In addition to working with children, Momo has been a mediator for an artistic telepresence experience during Helsinki Design week in the fall of 2018. Continuing on Momo's new-found artistic side, Momo took part in Futuresday 2019, performing a dance choreography together with performer Iina Taijonlahti.
Having taken part in a number of projects Momo has started to break ideologies and ways of thinking of what it means for a robot to interact with humans. However, sometimes even Momo needs time to rest. When Momo is not working and challenging peoples' ideas, Momo likes to charge up batteries (literally!), and get some body parts fixed and printed.
Jean-Pascal is the Co-founder and President of Headspace Studio and Head of Sound of Headspace Studio (Montréal).
Jean-Pascal believes in a vision of the future where everything you experience digitally is more immersive, more emotional, and more meaningful — because of what you hear.
With extensive experience in audio post-production and music score direction and driven by a combined passion for cinematic storytelling and immersive audio technology, he established himself as a creative pioneer in the emerging field of spatial audio for XR.
Along with longtime collaborators Felix & Paul Studios, a recognized creative and technology leader in cinematic VR, he co-founded Headspace Studio, the first studio entirely focused on immersive sound. In 2018, the studio expanded to Los Angeles.
With Headspace Studio, Jean-Pascal has worked with important creative partners on projects such as the Primetime Emmy Award-winning The People's House: Inside the White House with Barack and Michelle Obama, Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs: Behind the Scenes (in VR), Jurassic World: Blue, as well as three experiences that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival: Traveling While Black by Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams), Gloomy Eyes, and Marshall from Detroit (feat. Eminem).
Kimmo Karjunen (1967) is a lighting, set, video and sound designer within opera and contemporary dance. He has designed more than 40 contemporary dance pieces.
He graduated as the Master of Arts from the Theatre Academy of Finland in 1991. Karjunen has been the lecturer of lighting design in the Theatre Academy since 1995. He received the State of Finland Award for the Arts in 2009.
Callie Holderman is a producer forging opportunities for storytellers to use
immersive technology in their work.
She is the Senior Manager of Developer Experience at Magic Leap, bringing mixed-reality content to market for Rovio, Funomena, ILMxLAB, Weta
Workshop, Wayfair and more.
Outside of her role at Magic Leap, Callie serves on the Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality Committee for ACM SIGGRAPH, where she has curated innovative AR/VR/MR content, produced media segments, and provided operational support for over a decade.
She champions sustainable artistic opportunity. As an owner and visionary
of Endgames Improv’s new theater space in San Francisco’s Mission District, she grants artists a permanent residence to collaborate. As an improviser, she performed with PlaySFMOMA. Her productions and performances have been staged in venues in New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Miami.
Callie holds firm that successful interactive technologies serve to deepen human connection and seeks opportunity to collaborate towards that goal.
Kathy is the Director of Product Strategy & Business Development at Magic Leap, where she helps lead strategic and content partnerships as well as company and product-level strategy.
Magic Leap is a team of creators, engineers, scientists and artists who are building the next computing platform, starting with Magic Leap One, a lightweight, wearable computer that enriches your experience in the real world with digital content, in everything from commerce and entertainment to communications and productivity.
Prior to Magic Leap, Kathy worked briefly as a Sr. Product Manager at Amazon Video and helped with the division's launch in India. Before that, she worked on the investing team at Andreessen Horowitz, focusing on consumer internet startups. Kathy started her career in tech and media investment banking at Allen & Company, advising companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.
Kathy holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Finance and Political Science from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
When she's not thinking about the future of spatial computing, Kathy likes to get outside and enjoys hiking and skiing, getting lost in museums and all things food-related.
Managing Director of 59 Productions
Richard Slaney is the Managing Director of 59 Productions, leading projects for the company as a Project Director alongside acting as Executive Producer for larger scale works.
In summer 2018, Richard created and directed Five Telegrams, a unique collaboration with composer Anna Meredith, to open the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival. Five Telegrams was Richard’s second collaboration with the BBC Proms after the 2016 projection-mapping film, Cello with Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor.
In March 2018, Richard created and directed Array for the Barbican and City of London’s Culture Mile, transforming the Beech Street tunnel into a vast canvas for a newly-commissioned animated digital artwork inspired by Esa-Pekka Salonen’s contemporary classical masterpiece, Karawane, allowing audiences to explore the work aurally, visually and spatially.
In 2016, Richard led the team creating a spectacular event to mark the centenary of the Boeing Company. This once-in-a-lifetime event was the first of its kind: theatre with aeroplanes, featuring animated sequences projection-mapped onto moving aircraft. Projects as a producer also include Lighting the Sails of the Sydney Opera House, Deep Time for Edinburgh International Festival and the Digital Revolution exhibition for the Barbican Centre.
A music graduate, Richard has a strong interest in using technology to allow audiences new perspectives on classical music and music making, and much of his work for 59 Productions has focused on this area. Before joining 59 Productions, Richard was the Head of Digital for the Philharmonia Orchestra (London) establishing and leading the Orchestra’s critically acclaimed Digital Department, creating innovative exhibitions, films, live performances and apps.
Digital artist and virtual scenographer
Tanja Bastamow is a digital artist specializing in virtual scenography. Bastamow's key areas of interest are immersive virtual environments, how new technology affects visual storytelling, combining live performance with real-time virtual elements and finding new visual styles in digital expression.
She has been working as a freelancer in virtual set design, animation and post production for audiovisual media, new media technologies and experimental games since 2000. In addition to this, she has previously held the position of lecturer in digital design methods at Aalto University's Department of Film, Television and Scenography.
She is currently undertaking her PhD, doing artistic research on real-time virtual scenography at Aalto University.
Tech Futurist and Immersive Experience Consultant.
Galit Ariel is the author of 'Augmenting Alice - The Future of Identity, Experience and Reality', a notable keynote speaker and thought-leader in the field of immersive interaction.
Galit Ariel is a transdisciplinary creative and strategic thinker. She defines herself as a ‘Digital Hippie’, since she is passionate about a future that will integrate technology into our everyday lives, but not control it.
As a thought leader in Augmented Reality, Galit explores the wild and imaginative side of immersive technologies, but also their impact on our everyday lives and culture. She is a notable speaker that appears in international conferences (including TED and Slush Tokyo), as well as a leading consultant and mentor for agencies, brands, institutions and think tanks.
Her book ‘Augmenting Alice - The Future of Identity, Experience and Reality’ explores the manner in which Augmented Reality implementation will redefine core concepts within the human experience, contributing to changed perceptions of reality, culture, space, identity, and ethics.
“Ariel does some serious thinking about the role of personhood and individual autonomy when corporations that control our access to a new reality become drivers of markets, and cross-border media giants. The self-proclaimed nerds who saw the Holodeck on the bridge of the starship Enterprise and said, “I want that,” may well want to read Augmenting Alice before they design a new pair of digital rose-tinted glasses. As Ariel suggests, nothing less than the way we see the world may be at stake.” (Sam McMillan, Communication Arts Magazine)
Digital Storytelling Program Manager
Sarah Brin is a creative producer specializing in play, new media, and accessibility. She currently works as the Digital Storytelling Program Manager at Meow Wolf.
Meow Wolf creates immersive and interactive experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration. This includes art installations, video and music production, and extended reality content. Their first permanent installation, the THEA Award-winning House of Eternal Return, launched in March 2016 with support from Game of Thrones creator, George R.R. Martin. Inside the venue, based is Santa Fe, New Mexico, guests discover a multidimensional mystery house with secret passages, portals to magical worlds, and an expansive narrative amidst surreal, maximalist, and mesmerizing art exhibits.
Before joining Meow Wolf, Sarah has developed programs, exhibitions, and publications for more traditional arts institutions including the Hammer Museum, British Arts Council, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture and elsewhere. Sarah specializes in organizational development and the implementation of new initiatives and technologies within arts organizations. Some of her prior projects include supporting the development of PlaySFMOMA, the artists in residence program at the Pier 9 Workshop, and an EU research grant focused on playful museum experiences.
Composer, Sound designer, Director
is an artist who combines different disciplines. Already
during his studies of classical guitar, visual arts and music composition, Mathis began to experiment with film and sound and since then has combined these elements with live theatre and opera. During the recent years, he added programming to his toolbox to be able to work on interactive projects by himself.
Integrating smartphones and headphones as an integral part of todays public life, Nitschke created an interactive audio tour for promenaders at the Munich river Isar: “Vergehen” (“Passing”, 2016), an opera which one has to walk. It lets the real world interact sonically with the virtual world.
In October 2017, “MAYA” had its premiere: a Mixed-Reality-Techno-Opera
in which central questions of post-humanity have been discussed. In the ruins of the heating plant Munich-Aubing, Nitschke created a virtual cosmos parallel to the real world, on the basis of sound, music, augmented reality technology and digital art, in which the audience could move freely.
Before these interactive endeavors, commissioned by the National Opera Montpellier, Mathis Nitschke created the Grand Operas “Jetzt” (2012) and “Happy Happy“ (2014) together with his long-time collaborator light designer and director Urs Schönebaum. “Jetzt” earned a nomination for ‘premier of the year’ in the Opernwelt yearbook 2013.
Currently he creates a GPS-controlled immersive orchestra experience for the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, letting the user explore the sound within the orchestra as a virtual walk-in installation on a green field.
Gabo is an award-winning immersive artist, filmmaker and Founder/Creative Director of LightShed, a storytelling, technology and research studio collaborating with the industry’s leading creative pioneers and entrepreneurs focused exclusively on emerging technologies currently known as VR, AR and AI. He is also a professor at Johns Hopkins University, where he designed, leads and is the Founding Director of the new Immersive Storytelling and Emerging Technologies (ISET) program and lab. Formerly, he was a Senior Economic Policy Advisor for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; a UN diplomat with extensive field experience in disaster and conflict zones; and the United Nations' first-ever Creative Director where he founded UNVR - a division of the UN focused on virtual reality initiatives and campaigns.
The output of Gabo’s VR films raised over $1 billion in increased aid for refugees. His VR film Clouds Over Sidra, in partnership with UNICEF, continues to double direct to consumer fundraising contributions from 1:12 to 1:6. Sidra is distributed in 40 countries in 15 different languages and is the most widely distributed and viewed social impact VR film globally.
A native New Yorker, Gabo also holds honors degrees with distinction from NYU and Johns Hopkins University. His mother tongue is Punjabi, he is fluent in Hindi/Urdu, French, Italian and Spanish. He is a Davos World Economic Forum Arts and Cultural leader and was nominated for a term-membership at the Council on Foreign Relations by Francis Fukuyama. His work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, nominated for an Emmy, awarded a Cannes Lions, a Sheffield Doc/Fest award for best documentary, a Lumière Award, two Webbys, and has been featured in the New Yorker, BBC world service, the British Film Institute's Sight and Sound magazine, Fast Company, New York Times and covered widely in the Guardian, Vice News, Wired, TED, NPR and PBS Newshour. Gabo’s VR experience, “Zikr: A Sufi Revival”, World Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2018, with Newsweek calling it “the most transcendental experience of the festival” and was the first-ever VR documentary to be sold and acquired (by Dogwoof) in Sundance’s history.
Head of Experiments in Art and Technology at Nokia Bells Labs.
Domhnaill Hernon is Head of Experiments in Arts and Technology (E.A.T.) at Nokia Bell Labs. He graduated with a B.Eng in Aeronautical Engineering, a Ph.D in fundamental fluid mechanics from the University of Limerick and an Executive M.B.A. from Dublin City University, Ireland. He is passionate about turning research/ideas into reality and exploring the bounds of creativity to push the limits of technology.
Domhnaill was previously responsible for turning Bell Labs disruptive research assets into proto-solutions that could be tested at scale in the market and he established new methods to overcome the “Innovation Valley of Death”. He is currently responsible for Bell Labs global activities in E.A.T. where he collaborates with the artistic/creative community to push the limits of technology to solve the greatest human need challenges.
Sarah Ellis is an award winning producer exploring new artistic initiatives.
Sarah Ellis is an award winning producer currently exploring new artistic initiatives as Director of Digital Development for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). She has been listed in the top 100 most influential people working in Gaming and Technology by The Hospital Club and Guardian Culture Professionals. During her time RSC she has continued exploration into the future of theater innovation in collaborations with tech giants like Google, Magic Leap and Intel.
Sarah is an advocate for a people-centric approach whilst pushing the boundaries of theater. For example in the Tempest with Intel the experience didn’t rely on pre-recorded footage, but instead turned live performance into a digital presentation by using real-time motion and facial capture for the very first time in history.
At her work Sarah is continuously searching for new ways to amplify live experiences digitally. She and the RSC publish their explorations and lessons learned to encourage other cultural institutions to follow their footsteps.
Vesala is one of Finland's most popular musical artists today.
She is a multi-platinum selling, diverse musician who is recognized for her skills in creating tangible stories and universes through words, notes and dynamic performance.
In addition to her own repertoire, the singer-songwriter has composed songs and written lyrics for countless other musical artists. By the same token, she has expanded her award-winning creative career as a playwright, dramaturge, film and voice actor as well as documentary director. She has acted major roles in award-winning films such as Little Wing (Nordic Council Film Prize) and Unknown Soldier.
Vesala has studied music pedagogy at Sibelius Academy, dramaturgy at the Theatre Academy of Finland and playwriting at University of California.
Paula Vesala continues her solo career under the artist name “Vesala” and keeps on bringing her talent into new striking cross-disciplinary art projects.
Photo: Juha Mustonen
Esa—Pekka Salonen is a Finnish orchestral conductor and composer.
Esa-Pekka Salonen’s restless innovation drives him constantly to reposition classical music in the 21st century. In 2020, he will become the Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony. He is the Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor for London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, where the award-winning RE-RITE and Universe of Sound installations have allowed people all over the world to step inside the orchestra through audio and video projections. Salonen also drove the development of a much-hailed app for iPad, The Orchestra, which gives the user unprecedented access to the internal workings of eight symphonic works.
As the Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he is now Conductor Laureate, Salonen was instrumental in opening the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall and made the orchestra one of the best attended and funded in the country. He is the Artist in Association at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, and the cofounder of the annual Baltic Sea Festival. In 2015 he addressed the Apple Distinguished Educator conference on the uses of technology in music education, and his Violin Concerto was featured in an international campaign for iPad.