RUR (Rossum’s Universal Replicants)
Mini-Web Opera by Martin Rieser and Andrew Hugill
A new genre of opera is emerging from digital culture: a new way of telling stories and generating new audiences. The RUR mini-web opera provides an explosive encounter between new technologies and the long-established tradition of opera. RUR transforms the way in which operatic works are produced and consumed. Audiences are engaged in active participation through Social Media, and the roles of the collaborators in a production are changed. The operatic experience becomes intermedial, networked, asynchronous and immersive. Built around coordinated social media delivery relating the story, it will be presented as a series of live newslinks and updates: using sections of song and conversation; fabricated CCTV histories and news feeds will be combined as Twitter feeds, Facebook postings, blog posts and Youtube materials to the signed-up audience’s mobile surfaces and social media interfaces.
As in Karel Capek’s visionary 1920s play, this mini-opera will explore the theme of science used for profit without thought of consequences, where ‘robots’ are actually organic physically-indistinguishable replicants of human beings.
This Mini-Opera , whilst based on Capek’s original work is designed for dissemination through both web and live performance. Brought up to date in a contemporary setting, it is designed to work as a hybrid form, using either adaptive scenography online with Youtube “mash-ups” provided by either artist or audience or on stage using image-mapping projection techniques. Most of the background images are sourced from Youtube or created as online flickr images, which have been animated by the artist through morphing software.
In future incarnations the authors envisage using theatre-in-the-round through 3D technologies, embedded in an app working with devices such as Occulus Rift, putting the audience in the centre of three-dimensional scenography and motion-captured avatars, enacting the opera, as in their earlier work “Secret Garden” http://www.martinrieser.com/Secret Garden.htm