Ealier this year Arcade (James Alliban, Keiichi Matsuda and William Coleman) were commissioned to make a visual accompaniment to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, performed by the North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the first performance of the piece. Their response was to create a sound responsive laser installation that transformed the individual musicians’ performances into a dynamic forest of sound and light.
The team installed 50 lasers in the auditorium and connected them to selected instruments allowing them to react to the volume of sound emitted by the musicians; the louder the musician played, the brighter the beam gets. In addition, at certain times, the mirrors reflecting the lasers would move to direct the beams to different areas of the auditorium resulting in a wall of light and creating a spatial visualisation of the concert.
This installation consists of 50 custom devices that include 20mW laser modules connected to piezos via custom housed PCBs (designed by Neil Mendoza) and programmed using the Arduino IDE. The Piezos were attached to selected instruments with specially designed putty to pick up the audio vibrations. The resulting signal was picked up by their PCBs (placed beneath the musician’s seat), processed and used to control the lasers positioned on the balcony. The lasers were dimmed using PWM, allowing us to reflect the intensity of the musician’s efforts in the brightness of the beams. The devices were built to adjust the signal coming from the piezo, allowing them to calibrate each device to a range of different instruments. In addition for the environment to visually pick up the lasers in the air, the team combined a water-based hazer with 2 smoke machines, which were operated via a DMX controller.
Creative Director – Keiichi Matsuda
Arcade Producer – James Alliban
Groningen Forum Producer – Sander Trispel
Technical consultant – Neil Mendoza