BRAIN

created by Klaus Obermaier

Production Brief

BRAIN is an interactive stereoscopic 3-D media performance with dance, acting, a programmed robot and live orchestra, created by Austrian multimedia artist Klaus Obermaier. Staged in a large concert hall, BRAIN is designed to transport the audience into the anatomy, the geography and the mystical mapping and of the human brain.

The production is a co-commission. It will be created, designed, programmed and rehearsed from 2010 until 2012, with a scheduled world premiere and further viewings in 2012.

Synopsis

After the success of his highly acclaimed interactive multi-media performance ‘Sacre’, renowned Austrian media artist Klaus Obermaier has devised (developed) a new visionary cross-art project: BRAIN will be presented as an innovative interactive stereoscopic 3-D media performance with dance, acting, a programmed robot, and live orchestra. Staged ideally in a large concert hall, the piece is designed to transport the audience into the anatomy, the geography and the mystical mapping and of the human brain.

Unlike traditional performances, where visual elements and movement are created to match a pre-produced sound track, BRAIN’s production process will be non-linear and guided by association – reflecting the functions of the human brain. Without adhering to hierarchies and traditional boundaries, this visionary artistic approach will result in an integrative, highly interactive blend, reaching out for the audience’s sensory organs.

The stage set-up will be designed as a visual interpretation of the human brain: different components – music, lyrics, movement, live performance, recorded fragments, real-time generated virtual environments etc. – interact with each other and create a complex system.

Whereas in his former multi-media masterpiece ‘Sacre’ a dancer was placed on a platform, in BRAIN two performers (actor / dancer) will move between the orchestra and the conductor on the main stage. In addition, a highly advanced programmed robot, custom-designed for Obermaier’s newest production, will interact with the performers and the musicians, introducing the everlasting question of machine vs. mankind or – as in the case of BRAIN – artificial intelligence vs. the human mind.

BRAIN’s audio track will consist of several layers: music, language, syllables, and sound elements. In close collaboration with Klaus Obermaier, three international composers are commissioned to create a contemporary music pieces for BRAIN: Rolf Wallin from Norway, Bernhard Lang from Austrian and Taiwanese composer Ching Wen Chao. A conductor will lead the orchestra to perform these three contemporary pieces live on stage.

To complement the contemporary compositions, Obermaier will select relevant classical music pieces. The acoustic experience is enhanced by the performer/actors, inserting their voices and speech and the language element. All acoustic elements will be interactively orchestrated to form an intriguing sound layer.

Computer vision and high-end technical devices – including head-mounted stereo cameras, motion detectors and proximity sensors – will create inimitable visual impressions. Prerecorded stereoscopic movies and 360° surround photos of popular public spaces will be used to create elaborate environments for the performers that are projected onto a huge screen. In real-time, the stereoscopic 3-D images, as well as acoustic signals from the live performers and musicians, will be edited, de-coded, en-coded, contorted, multiplied, superposed, morphed and fused with the pre-produced images.

The outcome – unique with each performance – will then be projected to a huge 13×6 m screen (custom-made to reflect polarized light and create 3-D images). To enhance the experience and enable three-dimensional vision, the audience will be equipped with special polarized 3-D glasses when entering the performance space.

Although by its description BRAIN might be perceived as nothing but an overwhelming media spectacle, it is in fact an expressive and well-composed artistic statement, dealing with the human intellect and the intriguing aspects of the human mind.