Visualcortex, the research and production company of which I am a co-founding member, was commissioned to design an alternative ceremony for the Annual Public Book Awards. Our mission was to fully engage the audience with the show and to elevate the latter to something more than a standard award ceremony. To achieve this we came up with a fictional journey which included the performance piece Orthographies, a set of dance phrases that were consistent with the virtual, interactive world brought to life on stage while the live music from a jazz trio conversed with the performer. The ceremony’s host was the guide to the “Land of the Book” and was introducing each award category by announcing the arrival to each fictional territory.
The idea was to create a map to the “Land of the Book” which would lead to a magical exploration during the show. The various award categories were depicted on that map as fictional areas such as “The Ocean of Poetry”, “The Valley of Children’s Literature”, “The Geisers of Culinary Books” and so on. The presenter would introduce the audience to these areas and the performer would interact with the geophysical elements within them. These geophysical elements were represented by characters normally found in a book, such as letters, numbers, punctuation marks and simple shapes. Aesthetically, we maintained the black and white convention throughout as if the printed characters escaped from the pages of books and were summoned to bring each fictional destination to life.
We used an in-house developed tracking engine along with industrial grade infrared cameras to track all the action on stage. The interactive projections were designed to behave naturally, spontaneously and at times unpredictably. We used technologies and algorithms such as autonomous agents, particle systems, L-systems, physics engines and much more, in order to simulate natural forces and biological behaviors in each fictional destination.
concept & implementation: visualcortex
director & texts: Christos Georgiou
host: George Pyrpasopoulos
performer: Sania Strimpakou
music: George Tsiropoulos (sax), George Roulos (bass), Alex Antonopoulos (drums)
vocals: Helen Valenti
lights: Olympia Mytilinaiou