Context

This is a multimedia performance live project for the Summer Piano Festival 2017 held by Royal Academic of Music. I collaborated with Yining Wang from CSM and Ziteng Fan from RAM.

We need to work out a way to interpret the piano piece ‘Out of Doors’, which composed by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok (1881-1945). It has five chapters depicting various aspects of Hungarian peasant life.

Process

After two weeks of researching and discussing ideas, we decided to create abstract video clips to be projected in the background while the pianist is performing.

These chapters are:

  1. With Drums and Pipes
  2. Barcarolle
  3. Musettes
  4. The Night
  5. The Chase

I made a mind map of my visual ideas and later on it was used as a reference when we were painting.

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Rehearsal

For Chapter 4 ‘The Night’ we decided to turn off the video and use UV body paint and UV light to create a special mysterious atmosphere and to show the movement of the pianist’s hands.

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* These photographs were taken by Frances Marshall

One problem I faced is that what I wanted to achieve was not possible with the standard mp4 player provided by RAM, and there was no any VJ software available. (I would need to control the switch between video clips during the performance without showing any file names / mouse / window’s menu…etc.)

It was the last day I could make changes to the video files. I talked to Daniel Ehrlich, the technician, who’s also a composer. He understood my idea and encouraged me to build a MAX/MSP patch for what I want, and promised to bring his own laptop to run my program if I can build it in time.

So I decided to give it a try. At the end, I managed to finish everything in time and it was exactly how I wanted it to be.

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Outcome

Here are the video clips for all the chapters (no moving image for chapter 4)

 

Team members (from right to left):  Yining Wang, Lange Ye, Ziteng Fan

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Special thanks to:

Daniel Ehrlich, who helped me to setup the projection.

Belle Chen, who made things go smoothly.

Professor Joanna MacGregor, who liked what we did and invited us to do a commissioned work for Dartington International Summer School & Festival.

More information

http://www.ram.ac.uk/about-us/news/academy-piano-festival-ends-with-radio-3-broadcast

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Update:

A few weeks later, the photo of this project became the cover image of RAM’s prospectus!

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