Speculum Maius is a ground-breaking new stage work that merges pioneering live multiplayers VR technology together with live opera. Created by Studio M.A.R.S.
Planned project 2022 -2023.
The work is developed around multiplayer gaming structures and multiple viewer channels becoming the world’s first-ever fully live VR participatory opera performance, seamlessly merging the real and the digital together.
“A mirror is the reflection of yourself in the world but is not you in the world since it is just a reflection.” This idea of creating worlds within worlds, the heterotopian states, layered upon each other and existing simultaneously creates new complex realities, narratives, and understanding.
With its multiple co-existence of worlds shifting between live and digital realities. Speculum Maius aims to explore the innovative combination of new age technology, the young generation video-game culture with traditional music theater; the new integration of immersive theater and live interactivity; and how these new hybrid states and technologies can have an impact on society.
Creating immersive experiences of possible poetic vision of what would be the process of digitization of our mind through a dreamlike and emotional journey in which the different natural conflicts inherent to consciousness will be manifested.
Asking the question of what is play and how do we interact with each other, Speculum Maius uses gaming structures as dramaturgical guidelines to offer a reflection of how we function together in a society and the moral relationships that we have. Examining the ways how technology can shape humankind, altering societies, how it can affect personal relationships, and its difference between man-made and natural environments.
How do we choose for ourselves, and how do we decide choices for others and does that differ within a live or virtual space? These live realtime choices will have an impact on the performers, the players, the public and the live musicians creating a glimpse into the future of fully interactive live and digital opera.
Worlds within Worlds
Creating a series of multilayered worlds and narrative plot lines that exist both in VR and real time.
These different worlds, virtual and real are enhanced by analogue live music and live theater action that plays with all five senses to amplify the experience of the VR players.
The first-ever live VR participatory performance in live opera
Exploring the new integration of immersive theater and live interactivity; and the relationship between opera, VR game, and non-linear narrative.
To mix the shared and private experiences.
VR is changing the theater genre, delivering new experiences for audiences. Nowadays, art, theater, music performance and film all are about experiences, not just observations. Hence, Speculum Maius is reshaping the experience of traditional music opera, changing the game, increasing accessibility. To create a mixed dialogue of the traditional opera experience with digital 3D experiences that expands human perceptions, investigating new possibilities of creative expression and audience participation.
By using live VR to create multiple timelines and narrative plot lines in real time that mix the theater world and the digital 3D world. Audiences in theater move through different worlds while having the VR user's perspective to experience the setting both in a virtual and a live immersive theater contexts. This experimental setting and mixing private and shared experiences, allow for a rich palette of human interaction and depicts social and technological aspects of an artificial and systematized world, to question where personal privacy stands in the digitized surveillance world. The narrative structure of the work is based on self-determining choice options, which can be directly influenced by the performers, the players and the audience simultaneously.
The dramaturgical structure is a journey through four different worlds or acts that coexist in both real and digital spaces, each one containing its own different and unique challenges where the players, performers and the audience are able to interact with each other and characters from that world. Each world will be based upon a different participatory gaming and puzzle structure. Each world proposes an utopian state and a dystopian state. If the challenges are met the world is sustained and thrives if they fail the world dies and a dystopian alternative ensues.
This stage is inclined to create an artificial world of a Neofuture, to seek and predict an understanding of humanity in the future, in order to remind us that the questions important to evaluate when the social structures of our society change, are those that can awaken an introspective curiosity towards our inner nature.
The aesthetics of the work both live and digital will be inspired by a neo-constructivist and modular design approach proposing the idea of human form as object, working in symbiosis with their surroundings. Drawing references from both historical and future forward aesthetics, this post humanist form proposes that the medium of every art is artificial and is constructed as is play itself.
For 4 singers, 2 actors, 5 soloists ensemble, AI generated live electronics, live audiences participatory games, and mixed live VR with video projections.
4 Singers: they perform in the real space and in the VR space, in multiple roles in both situations (VR and Live Opera). They perform with VR set
2 Actors only in live theater (without VR set)
Audience: those inside the actual theater space (live, without VR set)
VR Players: Who are able to play within the VR world (active VR users, VR set is given) are chosen randomly from the audiences in theater
Watchers: public watching online from outside the theater space ( live or recorded access)
Passive watchers outside the theater are given a simple 360 video feed of the performance, can be on a mobile telephone and can be on a more advanced VR set
Ensemble: they have live music feeds into the VR world (without VR set)
The narrative structure of the work is based on self-determining choice options, which can be influenced by the performers, the players and the Audience simultaneously.
The Audience sees the VR world on 8 live back projections.
4 projections of what the 4 performers see in the VR world.
4 projections of what the 4 players see in the VR world.
The Audience are given the options to interfere with the game action of the Players at certain moments during the show.
Live Multilplayers VR:
The storyworld proposed by the Opera lives on in a digital form, letting players experience the narrative and the medium from a new point of view.
In VR, players:
Explore the Opera's extraordinary aesthetic universe with complete freedom, tailoring their own experience.
Interact with each other and with the performers in real time, engaging in a playful exchange.
Collect and use unique objects that give them powers and abilities.
Engage in small quests that extend the over-arching narrative in the Opera.