Faust VR / Making Of Salzburger Festspiele (AT), Ars Electronica Futurelab (AT), Ars Electronica Festival (AT), @DEEP SPACE 8K Photo: tom mesic

Faust VR – Making Of

Salzburger Festspiele (AT), Ars Electronica Futurelab (AT), Ars Electronica Festival (AT)

Ars Electronica Center, Deep Space 8K
Thu 7. Sep 2023 16:00 – 16:30

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In 2023, the theater world celebrates the 150th birthday and 80th anniversary of the death of Max Reinhardt, one of the most famous German-speaking directors and producers of the twentieth century. The Salzburg Festival commemorates the theatrical magician by recalling one of his best-known projects: Goethe’s Faust (1933–1937)—the last production that the director and Festival co-founder realized at the famous Felsenreitschule venue in Salzburg.

The virtual recreation of the Faust setting will be part of the three-part exhibition The Enchanting Reality of Theatre during the Salzburg Festival, placing Reinhardt’s Faust project in a political-historical, social and theatrical context, exploring the historical tipping points of 1933 and 1937/38. One part is FAUST 2023–A performative Tour—a special project that brings together analog stage and virtual realities in a performative, multi-perspective tour.

The Ars Electronica Futurelab part in bringing Reinhardt’s production of Faust back to life is the virtual reality application Faust VR: by recreating the stage design of the original production—the Fauststadt—an entire town in which the whole play could be performed without set changes. With all the sets constructed next to and on top of each other, it was the purest form of a multi-stage setting. Wearing VR goggles, visitors to FAUST 2023 enter a reconstruction of this unique stage design in the Felsenreitschule, right on set. They take on unique positions there: between audience and actors, they travel through the town originally designed by Austrian architect Clemens Holzmeister.

Margarethe Lasinger from the Salzburg Festival has developed a dramaturgy that leads visitors to key elements during a ten-minute interpretation of the play. Light and music play an important role in this – as in Reinhardt’s open-air production ninety years ago. You will visit Faust’s study and witness Walpurgis Night as well as the dance under the linden tree.

For Faust VR, the Ars Electronica Futurelab developed abstract elements that embody the necessary roles and their respective characters. And just like in the real play, dynamic light plays an important role to guide the audience’s gaze and direct it to the desired positions in the virtual set. The music was created and produced by composer and musician Hannes Löschel. Ambient sounds as well as spatial sound elements enhance the storytelling and immersive experience of the play.

The reconstruction of the city was based on plans, recordings and other documents from the archives of the Salzburg Festival. A large number of photographs were perspective-corrected and partially enhanced with AI support, so that the original photographs could be used as textures on top of the manually created geometry. In this way, the attention to detail of the original stage design was reconciled with the technical limitations of the VR glasses’ onboard GPU.

The Ars Electronica Futurelab incorporated its many years of expertise in virtual reality and stage productions from past projects. A special immersive presentation in Deep Space 8K at the Ars Electronica Center during the Ars Electronica Festival rounds out the collaboration and points to the exhibition in Salzburg, which will already be open for visitors.

Please note: Limited capacity, registration required – in addition to a valid ticket, you need a (free) ticket reservation for the respective event in advance. Reservations for Deep Space 8K events must be scanned on-site no later than 15min before the programme starts.

This programme will contain intense lightning/loud noise

Language: English


Eine performative Führung Karl-Böhm-Saal Felsenreitschule
Eine Kooperation der Salzburger Festspiele (SF) mit dem Ars Electronica Futurelab und dem Ars Electronica Festival (AE). 31. August, 8., 9., 26. und 27. September Tickets über www.salzburgfestival.at

Konzept / Concept – Margarethe Lasinger, Martin Kern (SF) Gerfried Stocker, Roland Haring, Peter Freudling (AE)
Produktionskoordination / Project Management SF – Martin Kern
Produktionskoordination / Project Management AE – Peter Freudling
Dramaturgie / Dramaturgy, Skript & Cast SF – Margarethe Lasinger
Recherche / Research SF – Susanne Anders, Victoria Morino
VR-Applikation AE – Raphael Schaumburg-Lippe, Patrick Berger, Friedrich Bachinger, Johannes Pöll, Arno Deutschbauer
Komposition / Composition & Sound – Hannes Löschel

Projektbetreuung & Videotechnik Salzburger Festspiele:
Markus Gößler
Ton Salzburger Festspiele:
Richard Deutsch

Musiker·innen „Tanz unter der Linde“ / Musicians – Ensemble 021, Joanna Lewis (Violine), Barbara Erdner (Bratsche), Ana Perčević (Violoncello), Gernot Haslauer (Kontrabass), Christian Kronreif (Klarinette), Hannes Löschel (Arrangement 2023 und Leitung)

Speakers in the presentation during the Ars ElectronicaFestiva 2023:
Margarethe Lasinger (AT)
Peter Freudling (AT)