A waking dream, a mysterious garden, a walk-through score – “ˈʊmˌvɛltn̩” is all of these things. Together with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, composer Mark Barden and visual artist Julian Bonequi have created a unique VR application in which eye and ear are on equal footing.
On the occasion of our anniversary “Konzerthaus200” in 2021, the commissioned work “ˈʊmˌvɛltn̩” (Environments) was initially created in virtual reality. Unfortunately, due to the closure of the concert hall under the pandemic, the opportunity the work presented to explore contemporary music at the intersection of new music, visual art and immersive technologies was initially restricted for the public.
But thanks to “VR on Tour”, interested Berliners were able to have “ˈʊmˌvɛltn̩” sent to their homes. Participants received a box with VR glasses for three days at home, where they could immerse themselves in the virtual world.
In order to make the sounds and design of “ˈʊmˌvɛltn̩” accessible to as many people as possible, the application was adapted in augmented reality and can now be tried out on tablet and smartphone. Designed as a game, 30 creatures can be ferreted out in various portals. By tapping on them, users can make them produce sounds and also combine them with one another to create an individual composition that can be recorded and shared.
The Konzerthaus Berlin has been pursuing the development of innovative mediation concepts for classical music in the digital space since 2016 with projects such as the digital exhibition and the Konzerthaus app.
More about the creation of the interactive compositionˈʊmˌvɛltn̩ – How VR turns into AR Interactive sound worlds in virtual reality Sound recording for "Secret Garden" Jury decision for the "Interactive Composition" Premiere for the interactive VR composition "Environments"
Mark Barden, born in Cleveland, Ohio in the USA, lives in Berlin and composes concert music as well as sound installations with and without live musicians. He studied composition in Berlin and Freiburg with Rebecca Saunders, Mathias Spahlinger and Jörg Widmann and earned his doctorate at Goldsmiths College in London. Since the current winter semester, he has held a professorship in composition at the Detmold University of Music.
Julian Bonequi, born in Mexico, is a hybrid artist and transmedia producer working with sound immersion and mixed reality. He is the founder of Audition Records (Berlin-Mexico 2010) and has worked as a guest curator with Salon Bruit Berlin, Akouphène Festival of Geneva, Ex Teresa Arte Actual Museum and CCDRadio at the Centre for Digital Culture in Mexico. He teaches in Mexico City, Barcelona and Valencia, among other places, and gives workshops in 3D sound spatialization and mixed reality.
Photos: Markus Werner
The VR application was created in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences HTW Berlin. The development of both apps was funded by the Aventis Foundation as part of the #experimenteDigital programme.