Virtual Venues

Haley Mayes, Ryan Cox, Francesca Romano, and Colin Cusimano (A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning), Jake Ward (School of Music, Theatre & Dance)

What happens to the space that frames the tension between audience and performer, the performance venue, when both are removed from the equation of a show? Virtual Venues aims to restore the unique setting of live performance to the digital realm by emphasizing what usually fades into the background: the venue. While the magic of sharing a space with noise, artists, and a sea of fellow fans can never be replaced, digitally, we can bring to the forefront the place where the magic happens. By combining architectural models of three local venues, Power Center, Kerrytown Concert House, Metal Frat, and their respective acoustic information, we have created an animated music video in which the venues that are so important to the feel and sound of a show assume the role of the performer themselves.

Two of our team members composed pieces to emphasize different musical elements: pitch, articulation, and dynamics. The animations, inspired by player pianos and spectrograms, respond to one of these three elements, depending on the venue. This is done to emphasize the connection between the space and audio. Prospectively, we would like to apply our findings and techniques to create a sort of interactive database of digital venues, allowing remote users to experience performances in familiar spaces