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Yum!

A Participatory XR Music Theater, infusing satire with an immersive dining experience.
A Production by Studio M.A.R.S.
Runtime: 50 minutes (without intermission)

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Technology:

Fourteen audience members will be provided with either a tablet or a cellphone equipped with a specialized Augmented Reality(AR) application. Alternatively, a specific App can be developed for audience members to install on their own mobile phones before the performance. The central stage, highlighted by the dining table, will feature projection mapping technology. Additionally, a standard projection onto the stage (using normal wall projection) is required to accommodate possible auditorium audiences.

 

Performance Format:

  • Duration: Approximately 50 minutes

  • Frequency: Two - Three Performances Daily

  • Audience Capacity(suggested): 20 seats table per performance, with 14 selected audience members seated at the dining table, which serves as the main stage, accompanied by three singers

  • Format Options: Available for both auditorium-seated and ambulatory (walking) audiences, if applicable (without tablet/cellphone provided)

 

Vocal Cast:

  • Emmy: Soprano

  • Madame Gigi: Mezzo-Soprano

  • Alexander: Baritone

  • One Actor: In the role of the Chef

 

Instrumentation and Technical Setup:

  • String Quartet.

  • Electronics: Featuring amplification and multichannel sound design.

  • Fourteen tablets or cellphones equipped with a specialized Augmented Reality(AR) application will be provided to selected audience members seated around the dining table. (Alternatively, an AR application can be developed for audience members to install on their own mobile phones before the performance).

  • The dining table will feature video mapping projections to enhance the visual experience.

  • Virtual Reality (VR): One singer will be equipped with VR goggles. The view seen by the singer through the VR goggles will be streamed as a normal wall projection onto the stage, specifically behind the center stage of the dining table. This setup replaces the Mixed Reality view with the singer's perspective for the auditorium audience.

  • Multisensory Experience: Incorporating olfactory elements via electronic diffusion.

  • Four spotlights are positioned on the stage for the singers and actor.

 

Seating Arrangement:

The dining table is configured to accommodate 20 individuals, including 2 singers, 4 mannequins, and 14 audience members.

Yum! is a participatory XR music theater project that merges dining with extended reality to pose a critical question: What will dinner look like in the future? This thought-provoking exploration intersects the impacts of climate change with our increasingly self-absorbed society, shedding light on the illusions we construct in our quest for happiness.

 

Blending satire and dark humor with social commentary, Yum! delves into themes such as climate change, class, identity, and self-obsession, all set in a blurred and ostentatious environment. It is also a research endeavor aimed at highlighting the implications of climate change on food production and the impending risks of hunger, prompting contemplation on how future food scarcity may impact our society.

 

Beyond its eco-sensitive and post-anthropocentric narrative, the project nurtures storytelling through eco-scenography and environmental studies, promoting climate-positive production and demonstrating how XR technology and ecology can go hand in hand.

 

Yum! seeks to redefine opera and music theater production by leaning towards performance art. This innovative approach aims to create a more immersive experience, allowing the audience to actively engage with the performance. This includes breaking the traditional "fourth wall" barrier between performers and spectators, enabling the audience to become storytellers within the narrative.

 

We amplify the story through Extended Reality, transporting the audience fully into this new world. Our interdisciplinary, multi-sensory approach engages and challenges all the senses—from taste and smell to touch and sight—taking both the cast and the audience on an exploration of what may lie ahead.

Blurred Reality: 

The integration of XR technology with traditional opera presents both a formidable challenge and a new avenue for innovation within the performing arts. Yum! exemplifies this fusion by leveraging XR to expand the boundaries of audience engagement and sensory immersion.

At the heart of  Yum! is the commitment to multi-sensory experiences, transcending traditional performance observation to craft narratives that blur the lines between reality and imaginative constructs.

 

Yum! utilizes the AR App to create a striking dissonance between the characters' perception and the intricately designed fabricated reality perceived by the audience. This contrast explores the nuances of perception, illustrating how our senses can be both manipulated and challenged.

The XR is a critical dramaturgical tool used to probe the influence of technology on human society and its effects on interpersonal relationships. Audiences move through various worlds, alternating between XR perspectives and immersive live dining experiences. This experimental approach mixes private and shared experiences, enriching the palette of human interaction and portraying the social and technological aspects of an artificial, systematized world. The Tablet/Cellphone also assumes a metaphorical role, symbolizing our routine engagement with digital devices to consume information, thus altering our perception of the world. As the boundary between ourselves and the external world increasingly resembles a digital screen, we are confronted with fabricated information and manipulated images daily, leading us to contemplate the ultimate consequences of this digital lifestyle. Through this contrast, we challenge audience members to reconsider their understanding of reality and the constructed illusions that shape our lives.

 

Using food as a metaphor for the artificiality of the characters' existence, the overarching theme of synthetic living is continued. In reality, the audience experiences bland and unappealing food, reminiscent of ‘Soylent Green,’ mirroring the emptiness of the characters' synthetic lives. Within our AR app, however, these same dishes are transformed into extravagant, sumptuous plates, highlighting the dissonance between perceived and actual realities.

Impact and Achievements of Yum!:

 

The Yum! Project embodies a commitment to inclusion and diversity, led by Studio M.A.R.S., an Asian female-led multicultural collective. This leadership sets a strong precedent for diverse representation within the arts. The artistic direction of the project is spearheaded by LGBTQIA+, highlighting underrepresented voices and providing a prominent platform.

 

Yum! engages with pressing societal issues such as climate change, class, identity, and self-obsession through its innovative participatory XR music theater format. This approach dissolves the traditional boundaries between performers and the audience, creating a more inclusive space where diverse perspectives are valued and integral to the narrative. By weaving together satire, dark humor, and social commentary, the project facilitates a rich dialogue on complex themes, enhancing community understanding and interaction. The spirit of innovation is a cornerstone of Yum!, influencing every aspect from thematic exploration to audience engagement and the strategic use of technology, positioning the project as a leader in modern artistic ventures.

 

Central to Yum!'s narrative is an exploration of the environmental impacts of climate change, emphasizing the urgency of collective action and environmental stewardship. It highlights the consequences of unsustainable food production practices and the looming risks of food scarcity, encouraging audiences to reflect critically on these issues. The use of  XR technology intensifies this engagement by juxtaposing actual and fabricated realities, challenging the audience's perceptions and urging them to question the constructed illusions that influence their understanding of the world.

 

Furthermore, Yum! delves into themes of synthetic living and the artificial nature of contemporary food consumption, advocating for sustainable practices to combat climate change. This exploration is not only a call to action but also a prompt for audiences to reassess their environmental impact and the choices they make daily.

Yum! has been invited to the TalentLAB 2024 residency at the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, with a partial Premiere scheduled for June 9th at the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg.

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