Holophonix Spatialized sound enhances The Dance
Tuesday, 25 October 2022
kentridgeMore Sweetly Play The Dance is hosted by Les Champs Libres
France - Amadeus has collaborated on a new artistic work with South African artist, performer, and director William Kentridge to create the immersive sound for his latest multi-sensorial installation, titled More Sweetly Play The Dance and hosted by France’s renowned cultural centre Les Champs Libres.
The new Kentridge exhibition is designed to be ‘open, festive, poetic, and generous but also contemplative, gruff, and militant. It intends to evoke the concept of celebration in its broadest sense, by uniting artistical practices from all horizons’.
This work surrounds the spectators in a seemingly endless parade of characters. A genuine dancing procession of cartoons and videos, the 35m-long frieze of moving images and sound invites attendees to enter a macabre dance while providing the opportunity to reflect on notions of injustice and inhumanity.
“I am interested in political art, meaning: an art of ambiguity, contradiction, unfinished gestures, and random outcomes. An art - and a politics - in which optimism is restrained and nihilism kept at bay. The film itself is part of a series of projects that deal with despair in this era of disappearing utopias,” stated its creator, William Kentridge.
“Les Champs Libres are among the first French institutions - notably the Théâtre National de Chaillot, the Comédie Française, or even La Scala - to believe in the artistic and perceptive added value that the new spatialization-linked sound technologies could provide. As such, in 2016 our auditorium was equipped with an advanced immersive and sound localisation system, built around the Holophonix spatialization processor developed by the Amadeus company,” explained Olivier Le Du, head of audiovisual and digital exhibitions at Champs Libres. “Given the artistic depth of William Kentridge's work, its immersive character both visually and sonically, it seemed obvious to us, in consultation with the creators, to evolve the sound creation towards a dynamic, object-oriented approach.
“We wanted to go beyond a stereophonic left/right approach, by bringing this work into a totally spatial dimension where the sounds would be in movement, following the silhouettes of this macabre dance, arising in front, behind, and above the spectators, with nuances, reliefs.
“We were also aware of a development project at Amadeus, concerning a software version of the Holophonix solution for the macOS platform, which we were able to preview and even suggest various ergonomic improvements for the software app,” revealed Dewi Seignard, general manager of the Champs Libres auditorium.
Convinced of the added value offered by these new technologies, the Champs Libres teams then proposed a new electro-acoustic and technological device to Kentridge's teams, who showed great interest and agreed to rework the sound dimension of this work. Gavan Eckhart, Kentridge's sound designer, and sound engineer traveled to Rennes from South Africa to work with Dewi Seignard for a week.
“Based on the new Holophonix Native sound spatialization software and 22 loudspeakers - including 16 Amadeus PMX 5 point-source loudspeakers installed on two levels, four Amadeus ML 12 subs, and four acoustic horns - the new electro-acoustic configuration created more possibilities for presenting the original sound recordings, fortunately, preserved by Gavan Eckhart, to imagine a three-dimensional mix, totally object-oriented,” added Seignard. “The system allowed us to perfectly synchronize the sound materials as the procession progressed, only when needed, because the correlation between the image and the sound is not automatic in the artistic proposal.”
It should be noted that the entire sound installation is based on the AES67 protocol, including virtual sound cards, amplifiers, AD/DA converters, etc. "The video sequences are projected using 8 Barco G60-W laser light source projectors, each with 7,000 lumens. Seven projectors are equipped with 0.75/0.95:1 focal length. One projector is equipped with a 0.95/1.22:1 focal length. The synchronization of the video and audio tracks is ensured by a Crestron Electronics automation system,” said Le Du.

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