From Invisible Cities and Beyond: Yuval Sharon Has MOMENTUM, Redefining the Boundaries of Interactive and Live Performance Art
Founder of Los Angeles-Based Experimental Opera Company The Industry and Creative Visionary of the Invisible Cities Wireless Opera Narrows Gap Between Imagination and Reality
In April, audio specialist Sennheiser announced its MOMENTUM campaign, which together with Spotify highlights one hundred unique sound stories from all over the world: stories about creators with MOMENTUM, people who push the world forward with their creative passions. The stories feature artists, innovators and entrepreneurs in the truest sense, and serve to inspire others to uncover their own unique MOMENTUM.
Yuval Sharon is the latest creative innovator in this series of inspiring stories. Sharon is the founder of Los Angeles-based experimental opera company The Industry, and was the director and creative visionary of Invisible Cities: the world’s first large scale opera for wireless headphones. Invisible Cities, which was supported by wireless and headphone technology from Sennheiser, redefined the boundaries of live performance art with a two month run of sold out performances at Los Angeles’ iconic Union Station railway terminal last fall.
“What motivates me is offering a kind of experience to an audience that lets people see everyday life in a totally different way,” says Sharon. “To me, music is a perfect medium for doing that because it creates realities for us and makes us look at life in an entirely different way. It changes our perception of time and completely alters our sense of space. Ideally, that is an experience that doesn’t stop when the performance is over. When a performance is great, that resonance continues into our everyday life and can open each spectator to pursue unknown paths.”
Written by Christopher Cerrone and based on the novel by Calvino, Invisible Cities combines historical fiction with surrealist elements to create an ‘invisible opera for wireless headphones’. The opera’s narrative, which centers on explorer Marco Polo’s descriptions of fantastical cities to Emperor Kublai Khan, transform’s Calvino’s novel into a unique experience for each participant by using wireless headphones. As the storyline progresses in various locations throughout the terminal, audience members are intimately connected to the storyline, while having the ability to roam freely, thus creating their own unique perspective of the performance.
While the production seemed incredibly complete and immaculately conceived, Sharon says the path to making Invisible Cities a reality was anything but certain. As an artist who constantly endeavors to narrow the gap between what he is able to imagine as a creative visionary and what is achievable in reality, the actual creation process of Invisible Cities was fraught with logistical and technological challenges. A ‘movable’ opera would require not only audience members to hear both narration and live music, but each individual singer, dancer, musician and technician would need to clearly hear all of the music and dramatic content to ensure the seamless progression of the performance.
“Invisible Cities would not have been possible without Sennheiser’s support, says Sharon. “I actually feel like Sennheiser was a creative partner for me because it was their technology, their spirit of innovation and their love of experimentation that really gave me the confidence to create this project in the first place. The fact that they came on board at such an early stage and really wanted to support something that was a vision and not yet tangible as a reality and said ‘yes’ gave me the confidence to move forward and create this project.”
Despite his past success, Sharon has his eyes — and ears — set on the future: “MOMENTUM for me means moving forward, always thinking about what’s next but not forgetting where you are coming from,” he says. “The creation of our own lives is a work that we have ahead of us every single day when we wake up. For me personally, art was my path. But everyone has within them that power to create and that power to be a force for good in the world.”
What’s your MOMENTUM?
As part of the MOMENTUM campaign, Sennheiser is inviting anyone to share their creativity by contributing their own videos on www.sennheiser-momentum.com and by watching the MOMENTUM videos. Visitors can vote for their favorite stories and add their own seven-second MOMENTUM film to a video chain that inspired them, or that shares the same themes or ideas as their own submission. To take part in the MOMENTUM project, videos can be uploaded between now and July 31, 2014.
Those who inspire the most successful chains, creators of the most successful videos, and people who vote over ten times in a week will be eligible for a weekly prize drawing for a pair of MOMENTUM headphones and a six month subscription to Spotify Premium. As part of the campaign, Sennheiser will also award ‘ultimate sound experience’ trips to New York, London and Tokyo.
To learn more, watch the films or to submit videos, visit www.sennheiser-momentum.com. Even more MOMENTUM videos can be found on www.youtube.com/sennheisermomentum.