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Laser rite: Artwork turns music into dazzling show

14.10.2013 Interactive : North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra : Time Shift Festival

Groningen, The Netherlands – Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ (100 years old this year) has been transformed into a Star Wars-style laser battle by a sound-responsive artwork.

London-based design studio Arcade connected 50 lasers to the instruments of the North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra. The louder each musician played, the brighter his or her beam glowed. The lasers, mounted on the balconies of the auditorium at the Groniger Forum, flickered above the audience in a dazzling grid pattern.

The performance was created for the Time Shift festival, an annual cultural festival in Holland. ‘The original concept for ‘The Rite of Spring’ was to connect the audience more deeply with the music, and take them out of their familiar environment of just sitting in a chair and watching the orchestra play their instruments,’ Arcade’s Keiichi Matsuda told LS:N. ‘By using light to construct spaces in the auditorium, the idea was that people would be able to feel more immersed in the performance.’

Matsuda is a multimedia artist whose work bridges the gap between the physical and the virtual. Read our interview with him at the 2012 London Design Festival.

Lasers are commonly associated with dance clubs, but they can be startlingly subtle and beautiful, as luxury goods manufacturer Hermès showed in its video The Sound of Hermès Silver.