Contemplating the Environment through ‘Concert Earth’

Concert Earth Premiere in the Main Gallery @CalArts from Concert Earth on Vimeo.

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With the oil spill crisis currently ensuing in the Gulf of Mexico, many more people are starting to think very seriously about the environment. An interactive multimedia performance project that recently debuted at CalArts asked participants to consider how often they are given the chance to hold the fate of Earth’s environmental condition in their own hands and then be able to change it instantaneously?

Concert Earth, created by Stephanie Cheng Smith (Music MFA 11) and Naomi Lucille Kagaya (Music MFA 10), addresses these questions directly.

The work utilizes a large fabric controller, which can be manipulated by the audience. Environmental images are projected onto a circular fabric from directly above, while the audience’s movements trigger changes in the sonic and visual landscape, generating and advancing the piece. (See photo gallery and video posted above to view the work in action.)

“The piece explores the individual’s role and affect within an ecosystem, and engages audience members to cooperate and to further gain awareness of human impact on the environment,” explains Smith.  She and co-collaborator Kagaya premiered the piece in CalArts’ Main Gallery in early May before embarking on a two-city tour with the work.

“Our idea gives others the opportunity of self-discovery through a global perspective, encapsulated in a fun, portable, audio-visual and interactive environment,” adds Kagaya.  The duo recently showcased the work at the Megapolis Audio Festival in Baltimore, followed by the Re-New Digital Arts Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark.

UPDATE 6/3/2010: The International Alliance for Women in Music has selected Concert Earth to receive Honorable Mention for the 2010 Ruth Anderson Prize for a new sound installation with electro-acoustic music.

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