A raw industrial space, transformed into an immersive underwater world through giant video projections, serves as an environmental backdrop to a contemporary music performance.
Third Angle, a contemporary music ensemble in Portland, Oregon, closed its 2005 season with an ambitious project that melded music and architecture: three unique edifices in downtown Portland were transformed into distinct performance venues that explored the relationship between music and architecture. A raw, unfinished basement served as a blank canvas where technology and art converged in expansive projections, immersing audiences in architectural fantasia. Floor-to-ceiling screens became windows into imaginary underwater worlds, transforming the surroundings throughout the duration of two performances that featured “Onomatopoeia” by Steve Westlake and “Five Remixes of a Forgotten Theme” by Brede Rørstad. As a backdrop to the musical journeys on which audiences embarked, the architectural structures in the basement served as points of departure from which different environments emerged and evolved through fluid, poetic, and playful imagery synchronized with sound.
The screens initially project what appears to be the other side of the room; soon the room is transformed to a cavernous space blending the architectural forms of a Piranesi prison scene with the playful sets in Dr. Seuss’s 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. In unison the screens all drop visitors through the scene which soon fills with water, ultimately teeming with jellyfish, luminescent creatures, and animated Ernst Haeckel illustrations of deep water life. As the life forms twitch, dance, pulsate, and move to the music, the musicians add live elements to the composition. In the final movement, visitors find themselves retracing their initial steps, ascending back into the space they left—finding it submerged, filled with their chairs suspended in a playful, weightless, underwater spectacle.
Press & Awards“Diverse Spaces Sweeten, Sour Third Angle Music,” The Oregonian, David Stabler, May 4, 2005
[T]he unfinished basement of the Hilton Executive Tower, built in 2002, beckoned us into a ‘virtual concert hall’ of the future. From street level, we descended to a bunker of concrete walls and exposed pipes. Four projection screens the size of garage doors rose behind Brian Quincey, an Oregon Symphony violist, who performed two works…Johnson’s images took us down to a watery city of leaning towers glistening under reflected sunlight. Red and purple sea creatures—star shapes, sinuous tadpoles—glided about. Bubbles rose. Sitting in the dark, immersed in a watery world, I felt as if I were in a dream. Johnson somehow transformed a cold catacomb into a womb of flowing fantasies. My senses enjoyed a good soak.
- Motion Designers
- Martin Linde, Alphonse Swinehart
- 3-D Visualization
- Matt Arnold
- Video Engineer
- Danny Rosenberg
© 2015 Second Story, Inc.