Background information to VOICES IN THE DARK

Mike Batt has always been a musician who also sought to achieve visual representations of his work. Even at a very early stage he developed in parts complex scenarios that went beyond simple music videos. The project Zero Zero from 1982 is an example for this. For this he produced sketches of the costumes, the sets and for animation.
Of course, he also composed and produced the music. Mike created lights shows, theatre designs and projection graphics.
When he finally entered the new Hamburg Planetarium in 2005 for the first time, and the technical possibilities were presented to him, he was fascinated by the idea of developing a show for the planetarium sky.
Already on his return flight from Hamburg to London he drew first sketches in his notebook. However, his numerous other projects meant that he would only return to this subject over a year later. Straying from the original idea for this project, which was to write a new work for several orchestras, the idea of composing a new dramatic and exciting selection of works from the great store of Mike Batt’s works emerged, which was supposed to serve as an inspirational source for completely new visual worlds in the context of the planetarium. For this, different works from Mike’s most different artistic periods were selected. What is striking is that among them are also numerous orchestral works by Mike which were created under his direction with the London Symphonic Orchestra and other well-known orchestras.

Over the course of several conversations, e-mails and meetings with Terry Rudat and Sven Meyer (Dramatico Germany) different ideas for the show, which Mike named after one song he wrote VOICES IN THE DARK, were discussed and developed.
It was Mike’s wish to “create something really new and surpass visual limits”. After jointly choosing the music Mike explained to Terry Rudat his ideas behind the works, the background to the songs and visual associations. During the dialogue with Terry, who had already had experience with productions for the planetarium dome and thus, 360° video, first 3D sketches and preparations for the visualisation of the songs were made. After talking to Mike, these formed the basis for the further development of the show.

Both agreed to fuse the space of the dome projection area and the music in one complete work and in doing so connect different technologies and art forms.
That is why in VOICES IN THE DARK there are spectacular combinations of dancers and 3D animations, of super slow motion takes with up to 1,000 pictures per second and the most elaborate image constructions for which high-performance computers need up to 45 minutes for calculating one frame. One second of “movie” consists here of 30 frames. An exciting mixture of artists and machines come together for this project.

Working material included numerous computers with all together 150 processor cores of the newest generation (software, such as: After Effects; 3DS Max; Cinema 4D), as well as Full HD cameras. But above all, it is the product of the unique combination of people involved. A few, apart from Mike Batt, are mentioned here just to give an idea:

Svenya Höhle: Ballet dancer, studied ballet at The Cologne University of Music and dances for example at the Theatre in Dessau and at the Opera in Cologne. She has worked with renowned choreographers such as Robert Pool, Robert Cohan, Mark Baldwin and Philippe Talard.

Jakub Moravek, artist: Installation, video, photo. Jakub was born in 1971 in the Czech Republic, studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and has already received several awards for his work. His works were shown in numerous gallery exhibitions such as the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, Center for Contemporary Art Linz and at the Haus der Kunst in Munich.

Terry Rudat, a man of many talents. He founded, among others, in the late 1970s the underground avantgarde band Sticken In and ran a recording studio. In the early 1990s he dedicated his attention to the development of multimedia applications and was responsible for the computer game SHINE as an author, director and producer. Afterwards, he worked at and for numerous media productions, for example he produced music videos for artists such as Thomas D (Die fantastischen Vier), commercials for the computer game industry (Sony) and animations for TV productions. In 2002 he produced e.g. the planetarium show “Madou und das Licht der Fantasie” with and for the German singer NENA. This show has attracted more than 60,000 visitors over the last few years.

Armin Ketter: 3D animation, received the 3D Design Awards Animago several times.

Remigiusz Pawlowski, illustrator and film maker from Poland. Graduated from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Göttingen. Lives and works in Berlin.
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