live performance

Performance Technology &

Interaction Design: A b/i History

 

We started working in performance technology and interactive design in the late 90's. Our first projects were in live acoustic music performance and virtual reality, and soon found a home in installation art and live theater. It is important to remember that we started out as designers and artists first, motivated to create unique experiences for performers and audiences alike, to make real-time connections and create dialoges that weren't traditionally possible. However at the time there weren't any tools to accomplish what we wanted, so we began writing and building our own. Below is a trip down memory lane hi-lighting the journey that eventually led to the founding of Beaudry Interactive in 2006. 

Concert in the Cathedral
(2003, 2004)

UCLA Visualization Portal, Los Angeles, California.

 

One of the first truly mixed reality performances at UCLA where live performers were placed acoustically and spatially in a virtual model of Santiago de Compostela as it appeared in Spain in 1211 A.D.

The audience was able to experience what it would have looked and sounded like moving through the cathedral and the surrounding township as if they were alive 800 years ago. The performance was a living, breathing virtual soundscape created through dynamic, immersive sound spatialization, real-time processing of live and pre-recorded sound, as well as real-time visual rendering and navigation of the virtual environment. Cathedral recreation led by John Dagenais; model building led by Dean Abernathy. Role: producer, sound and system designer.

 

Publications: Beaudry, David, and Joan Slottow (2004). DySE Generator: A sound design tool for virtual reality applications. OSC (Open Sound Control) Conference 2004.

nØtime
(2001 – 2002)

Part of Telematic Connections: The Virtual Embrace, commissioned by the Walker Art Center.

 

Collaboration with Victoria Vesna, Gerald de Jong, and Tim Quinn. Venues included galleries in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Atlanta, and Oklahoma City. The work served as a community where people could exchange thoughts and ideas without needing to be present. The piece had both an on-line and on-site presence. The sound design involved a very fluid, navigable score that changed based on the participants navigation in the physical space. The tracking involved infrared video processing and required participants to use their entire bodies to explore these thought-communities projected on the walls of the installation. Role: Co-author, sound designer, and developer of interactive control system for physical installation.

Day in LA
(2002)

UCLA, Los Angeles, California

 

This interactive art installation was a joint project created by David Beaudry’s students from UCLA (theater sound design) and Art Center (industrial design) using ultrasonic tracking and real-time audio and video processing. The installation itself focused on the 24 miles of Sunset Boulevard, from the Pacific Ocean and the Topanga State Park to the incredibly affluent neighborhoods of Brentwood and Bel Air to the infamous strip to the immigrant-rich communities of Echo Park and Silver Lake near downtown Los Angeles.  The goal was to create an interactive installation that examined the rich diversity of this great street, allowing visitors to explore each of the students’ findings and impressions of each location. Original concept by David Beaudry. Role: Producer/curator, and occasional systems designer.

Macbett
(2001)

UCLA, Los Angeles, California 

 

Eugene Ionesco’s Macbett is fairly twisted spin on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This was the first production in UCLA's Theater Department to incorporate interactive technology into a mainstream theatrical production. Through a network of sensors on props and actors, this system gave the actors the ability to control and influence various aspects of the lighting and sound design during the performance by their position, gestures, and even behavior as a group. The purpose was to create a more dynamic and fluid connection, as well as a more heightened level of awareness, between the actors, their environment, and the design elements that were supporting them.

 

Directed by MFA Student Adam Shive. Sensor system designed by Jeff Burke. In addition to the traditional role of a sound designer, David Beaudry also authored the interactive show control system for the audio portion of this production. This was the birth of Diva.

 

Publications: Beaudry, David, and Jonathan Burke (2002). A proven tool for interactive music brings theater sound design center stage. USITT Theatre Design and Technology, 38(4), pp. 47 – 56.

Tango Electrónica
(2002)

Pacific Palisades, California

 

The musical basis for this work was Tango - Études, six studies in tango by composer Astor Piazzolla. The non-pitched material for this piece was based on observations that there was a strong correlation between the music of Buenos Aires (the home of Piazzolla, and where tango has its origins) and the sounds of the city. More than 30 hours of field recordings from the city itself were amassed in the desire to capture some of the "sonic identity" of the city (a formidable project all by itself). Through nothing more than a contact mic atttached to the bell of the clarinet, the musical performance became a converastion with the sounds of the city which changed and morphed as the performance evolved. Role: Author, performer.

Musical Spheres
(2000)

Part of Amped, Sandroni Rey Gallery, Venice, California.

 

A sound installation where visitors would navigate a virtual sonic environment using a modified theremin with two seven foot copper poles suspended from the ceiling.  Rather than hearing the usual sounds of a theremin, the antennas were used as sensors that allowed the participant to explore a virtual sound world. One pole would rotate the sound world (the closer to the pole, the faster the rotation), while the other moved you forward (the closer to the pole, the faster the movement).

Datamining Bodies
(2000)

Vision-Ruhr, Zeche Zollern II/IV, Dortmund, Germany

 

Collaboration with Victoria Vesna and Gerald de Jong.  The work consisted of both an on-line and on-site presence. It explored the idea of datamining and its application to a virtual body. The more time one spent mining (descending more and more into a pool of very personal data on this virtual body you were mining), the more intrusive, intense, and uncomfortable the experience became.

Dance for Clarinet and Ten-Second Movie Clip
(1999)

One of our first experiments in electronics and acoustic performance. The music was a solo tango piece by Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla. The visual material was borrowed from the infamous bullet-dodging scene from the movie The Matrix.  The non-linear movement of the video was driven entirely by the sound of the live clarinet. 

Immersive sound environments for Virtual Reality
(2000 – 2006)

UCLA Visualization Portal, Los Angeles, California

 

Models included the Roman Forum (featured in Newsweek, the Discovery Channel, and BBC), The Great Wall of Los Angeles, Santiago de Compostela, and Port Royal. These comprehensive simulations of historical environments allowed scholars to study various reconstructive issues and provide new gateways into research and teaching about the broader cultural, social, economic, and political aspects of both ancient and contemporary civilizations. Role: Lead sound designer and systems developer. 

 

DySE Generator (2000 – 2006). DySE Generator (Dynamic Sound Environment Generator) was a Mac based software application that provided a powerful sound design tool for virtual reality applications.

 

Publications: Beaudry, David, and Joan Slottow (2004). DySE Generator: A sound design tool for virtual reality applications. OSC (Open Sound Control) Conference 2004.

 

Invisible Architecture
(2000)

Greek Pavilion, La Bienalle di Venezia, Venice, Italy

 

Collaboration with Marcos Novak. Through the use of infrared video tracking and infrared proximity sensors, the piece explored transitions in architecture between the virtual space and real space. Developed the sound design, real-time video processing and video tracking, and as well as the software which linked the many components together.

Transcontinental
Quintet
(2000)

Part of Fusion 2000, UCLA / Bauhaus, Weimar, Germany

 

Collaboration with John Vallier, Peter Sheridan, and Brian Vanklooster. This was a collaborative internet-based event between Los Angeles and the Bauhaus, Germany. The work centered around a live improvised music performance in Los Angeles. At various times sound would be processed, filtered, and spatialized around the Los Angeles audience as part of the improvisation/performance process, with the audio being streamed to the Bauhaus. The participants at the Bauhaus provided visual material as accompaniment which was then streamed back to Los Angeles and projected above the ensemble. Role: Producer, Lead author, performer.

Sanctuary
(1999)

Wight Gallery, UCLA

 

This installation was Beaudry’s first exploration into sensing people in a public space and using that information to create a dynamic space that the visitors could influence and control. Visitors were tracked using infrared video cameras, and their movement and behavior directly impacted the resulting sound design. 

 

Theater Max
(2004-2006)

Theater Max was collection of tools for the MaxMSP programming environment for real-time control of sound based on Beaudry's previous sound design work in live theater. The primary motivation behind releasing the software was to introduce other sound designers to a new paradigm in real-time sound control for theater.