Throughout Summer 2018, I worked in the MIT Media Lab with the Opera of the Future group as an Undergraduate Research Assistant. We created a set piece for Tod Machover's opera Schoenberg in Hollywood, performed by the Boston Lyric Opera at the Paramount Theater in Boston in November 2018. I helped design and prototype a large-scale kinetic sculpture for a critical point in the opera. Throughout this project, I worked with Nicole L'Huillier, a PhD student in the group, and Peter Torpey. The sculpture was designed entirely by the Lab, and built by the American Repertory Theater.
The sculpture was designed to represent the silver screen at the start of its appearance on stage. It begins as a seemingly uniform rectangle, and as the music escalates, the screen breaks apart into several large triangular pieces, and finally flies off stage. The 'shattered screen' is simulated by tilting the triangles at various angles, exposing the orchestra and set behind the sculpture through the gaps created. Pieces are actuated by ropes on the side, which tip the triangles in different directions.
To learn more about the Opera of the Future group, check out their website here. More info on the opera Schoenberg in Hollywood can be found here and a full trailer for the opera is here.