On Thursday 18 October, Light Odyssey will bring the iconic Empress Ballroom in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens to life with 3D animation, to push the boundaries of light, space and sound.
Partnering with BBC Philharmonic, this spectacular and one-off performance will transform the ballroom’s magnificent interior with an explosion of light, as international teams of animators project bespoke visuals onto the stage, sides, and ceiling.
The 90-minute performance will include 90 musicians, led by acclaimed Norwegian conductor Eivind Aadland, in his first UK engagement with BBC Philharmonic. Live performances of Copland, Britten and Saint-Saëns, and classical favourites such as Barber’s Adagio for Strings, will fill the air with music that invokes the sea and a sense of place, experienced anew with light.
A 3D model of the ballroom has been especially created to enable tailor-made projection visuals that will interpret the music and the architecture in a new way. And following an international call-out with close to 50 applications, we have selected 6 artists to each create sections of the visual show, all choreographed to music chosen by BBC Philharmonic. In partnership with London Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the next generation of animators complete this epic journey.
The jaw-dropping building transformation will require extraordinary technical vision, made possible by utilising the very latest in laser projection technology.
Light Odyssey launches the Lightpool Festival 2018, an international showcase of light and fire celebrating the world-famous Blackpool illuminations.
The BBC Philharmonic, known for its innovative and versatile music-making, has its home in Salford and enjoys worldwide recognition. Its adventurous approach to programming places new and neglected music in the context of the established classical canon and the orchestra performs over 100 concerts a year for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
The orchestra’s passion for bringing classical music to new audiences has seen collaborations with Clean Bandit, The 1975, Jarvis Cocker, Will Young, The Courteeners, Rag'n'Bone Man, Elbow and The xx. Known for its range of creative partnerships, the orchestra’s recent work across BBC North includes performing at 2017’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards and recording music for the title sequence of the BBC Proms TV coverage in 2017. The orchestra also records for CD/download and has delivered over 250 recordings for Chandos, selling close to one million albums.
Eivind Aadland is one of Norway's most respected conductors. He was Chief Conductor and Artistic Leader of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra for seven seasons from 2004, during which time he conducted the complete Beethoven and Mahler symphony cycles. His extensive work with Scandinavian orchestras includes regular guest engagements with the Oslo and Bergen Philharmonics, the Stavanger Symphony, the Gothenburg Symphony and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Blackpool’s Winter Gardens first opened to the public on 11 July 1878, with a lavish ceremony attended by the Lord Mayor of London and Mayors and Mayoresses from 68 towns throughout the country.
The Winter Gardens has entertained hordes of crowds in Blackpool in its collection of theatres, ballrooms, exhibition halls and public spaces.
Since opening in 1878, the venue’s aspirations have continued to mirror the development of Blackpool as a friendly seaside resort and as the town grew in popularity throughout the century, the venue’s wide range of entertainment has developed with it.
Following an international call-out with close to 50 applications, we have selected 6 teams of artists to each create sections of the visual show, all choreographed to music chosen by BBC Philharmonic.
Matt and Rob Vale Illuminos
Illuminos are brothers Matt and Rob Vale, creating visually inventive, memorable artworks and experiences. Across all projects and scales they seek to create work unique to location and viewer, with a particular interest in early animation techniques reimagined for contemporary mapping technologies.
They have exhibited internationally in France, Cyprus, USA and Ireland, recently with Les Troyens for Lyric Opera of Chicago, and for the European Capital of Culture closing ceremony in Paphos.
Nick Azidis and Rose Staff - a collaborative duo creating digital projection art, with a shared passion for optical illusions, art and technology, experimentation and working within the field of public art. The two artists came together early in 2016 to create an installation for White Night Melbourne.
Over the last two years, they have worked on many major events and projects throughout Australia and in Europe.
Joe Mason is an independent artist, designer and creative director, specialising in animation and interaction design. With over 15 years’ experience in the creative and digital industries, his personal practice helps clients realise ideas, through consultation and hands-on design, whilst also developing art projects that explore new technologies and formats for storytelling.
Based at Duke Studios, Leeds, he collaborates locally and remotely with international colleagues and clients.
Dan Shorten is an award-winning multimedia designer specialising in projection-based artworks. He has created many large-scale projection artworks for a range of clients including: The Rothschild Foundation, City of London, Tower Bridge, Guildhall Yard, Barbican Centre, Tower of London, Oxford City Council, The British Museum, BIPAF Busan, CSU Summer Arts (USA), Glastonbury Festival, Blackpool Illuminations, GLOW Festival (Italy) and LUX Helsinki (Finland).
He works extensively as a freelance artist and consultant and is the Creative Director for the Live Events Unit at the prestigious Guildhall School for whom he also wrote the Video Design for Live Performance degree programme.
Florian Rabl is the owner of one of Germanys foremost creative design, animation, VFX and film production companies, ‘Ice Space Studios’ based in Munich, Germany. Together with his team of talented artists they visualise, create and produce ground breaking and visually spectacular film and animation content from classical 2D VFX shots to immersive virtual reality solutions for various high-profile brands, corporate clients and cinemas worldwide.
With an impressive portfolio of global companies including, Audi, Coca-Cola, Amazon, L’Oréal and Renault, their goal is to always push the boundaries to achieve something new and amazing that has never been seen before.
Ruth Taylor is an animator and illustrator based in Amsterdam, specialized in bringing her self-designed characters to life.
Ruth studied animation at Art Academy St. Joost in Breda, and graduated in 2011. After working for a video agency focussed on TV commercials, Ruth decided to focus more on her artistic skills and went on an around the world trip staying at six artist residencies. She now works as a freelance animator for commercials, animated series and films like “Kop-Op” directed by Job Joris & Marieke.
Guildhall School of Music and Drama is a vibrant, international community of young musicians, actors and production artists in the heart of the City of London. It is a global leader of creative and professional practice, promoting innovation, experiment and research.
Guildhall delivers a BA in Video Design for Live Performance programme for students interested in the fast-changing and exciting world of digital video design and production. It specialises in large format projection shows within Guildhall productions and works with external partners such as Waddesdon Manor, Glastonbury Festival, Shakespeare400 Festival, British Museum and Tower Bridge.
Prelude de l’après midi d’un faune
Animators: Matt and Rob Vale
Animators : Nick Azidis and Rose Staff
Adagio for Strings
Animator : Joe Mason
Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Fanfare for the Common Man and
Simple Gifts (from Appalachian Spring)
Animator : Dan Shorten
Bacchanalle from Samson et Delilah
Animator: Florian Rabl
English Folk Songs Suite
Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes :
Animator : Ruth Taylor
Animator: Students from GSMD
Light Odyssey Production Manager
Producing this event has involved extraordinary technical and logistical challenges – over 12 months in the making, it has been made possible with the skills of remarkable people.
The theme is ‘sea and a sense of place, experienced anew with light’. The journey included taking scans of the Empress Ballroom to make a 3D model of the venue. This was used for six lead designers and a team of 20, from the UK, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands - selected from around 50 international applicants - to create bespoke animations.
An epic production in scale and size the likes of which has never been seen before, Light Odyssey will be a first for the resort and audiences are in for a visual treat and sound sensation as the BBC Philharmonic perform classical music favourites under a kaleidoscopic wonderland of animated graphics and stunning 3D light projections.
Light Odyssey presents a unique challenge that requires precision planning and execution to produce a truly outstanding event, as each individual animation and projection mapping feature has to be precisely aligned with BBC Philharmonic's set musical pieces.
Projection mapping is the technique for video projection that can make use of any surface and turn it into a dynamic visual display and is used to bring buildings to life and create immersive environments.