The Linz-based media art lab lights up big screens in L.A.
Ars Electronica Futurelab Visualizes Ravel’s Mother Goose
(Los Angeles / Linz, February 15, 2016) The Ars Electronica Futurelab made a high-profile guest appearance in Los Angeles February 12-14. As part of the Walt Disney Concert Hall’s IN/SIGHT series, Esa Pekka Salonen conducted the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Ravel’s “Mother Goose” that featured impressive visualizations designed by the Linz-based media art lab.
Real-time Worlds of Imagery on Seven Screens
Seven jumbo displays arrayed above and behind the orchestra made up the mise-en-scène that the Ars Electronica Futurelab crew set up for the projection of abstract imagery that was not oriented on the narrative arc of each piece but rather on its timber. It was the orchestra itself that essentially configured the coloration and form of the poetic visuals. All movements as well as the shadows of the musicians were captured by various tracking systems; customized software then translated this material in real time into abstract images. “Our IN/SIGHT series is simply the manifestation of what we regard as the utmost priority of our program—namely, blending various art forms,” said Meghan Martineau, Associate Director of Artistic Planning of the L.A. Phil. “We set the bar very high this season with the Ars Electronica Futurelab, the most technically demanding team we’ve ever worked with. The screen installation alone is quite extraordinary. Never before have I seen anything like this!” The first half of each evening’s lineup consisted of performances of three other classical pieces that were likewise visualized by the Ars Electronica Futurelab: Affettuoso by Tanguy, Dutilleux’s Correspondances and the Organ Concerto in G minor by Poulenc. The production was commissioned jointly by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Abu Dhabi Festival.
“Mother Goose” is a literary figure in nursery rhymes and fairytales who’s usually depicted as an elderly peasant woman wearing a pointy hat or as a goose sporting a cap. She was first mentioned by name in 1697, when Frenchman Charles Perrault published a collection of eight fables: The Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Old Mother Frost, Cinderella, Riquet with the Tuft, and Hop o’ My Thumb. The work came to be known by its subtitle “Tales of Mother Goose” (Les Contes de ma Mère l’Oye). In 1729, Robert Samber published “Histories or Tales of Past Times,” the first English-language translation of the Mother Goose tales and made them famous in the U.S. and Great Britain, where they’re still beloved to this day. In the early 20th century, Maurice Ravel orchestrated a ballet score of the same name that premiered on January 29, 1912 at the Théâtre des Arts in Paris.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles is one of the four venues that make up the Los Angeles Music Center, one of the largest performing arts centers in the United States. Star architect Frank Gehry designed this extraordinary facility that’s world renowned for its superb acoustics. Ever since it opened in 2003, the Walt Disney Concert Hall has been the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ars Electronica Futurelab
Established in 1996, the Ars Electronica Futurelab is dedicated to the future of art, technology and society. This media art lab’s staff employs the methods and strategies of applied research to develop ways and means of opening up new modes of experience and insight that are characterized by a high degree of social relevance. The Futurelab’s approach to its assignments is based on transdisciplinary R&D and reflects, not least of all, the great diversity of those multifarious disciplines. Essential to these practices are the contributions of many artists-in-residence who come from throughout the world to spend extended stays working in the Futurelab’s ateliers and laboratories. The spectrum of products and services that the Ars Electronica Futurelab delivers is concentrated in the areas of expertise in which staffers have a wealth of experience developed over many years: media art, architecture, design, interactive exhibitions, virtual reality and real-time graphics. The Ars Electronica Futurelab is a division of Ars Electronica Linz GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the City of Linz, Austria.