I went to see a 3 D performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring last week, at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham. It was rather amazing, with the ever wonderful CBSO and a dancer named Julia Mach dancing in a black curtained corner of the stage, whilst being filmed by several cameras. Klaus Obermaier, a digital artist, used the images in real time to spontaneously create digital images that are then projected onto an enormous screen onstage, behind and above the orchestra. The set up for all of this apparently takes several days of set up and rehearsal, and it took a considerable amount of time to actually bring it to Birmingham. It goes to London next, but there are not many performances; there were only two at the Symphony Hall, on the same evening.
We all wore 3 D glasses, and were assailed by stunning music and enormous red shapes, tubes, matrices and then the dancer, huge, reaching right out into the audience, above our heads, as well as then dancing and becoming ever more fragmented as she reached the climax of the piece where she ends her sacrificial dance. It went down very well with the audience, and I really enjoyed the mix of 100 year old music which is still incredibly exciting, and distinctly 21st century technology.
The critic in the Guardian was less enthusiastic, but I think he was just a bit of a poor jaded soul. He does seem to have seen a lot of 3 D films, which seems to have seasoned his view. I’ve only ever seen one 3 D film, and that was in about 1971, a horror film with occasional leaps into 3D, involving zombies, I think. Anyway, I find performances like this affect my view of my own work, and stimulate me enormously, to move in new directions and try new techniques and more experimental approaches.