Research Project

I'm really struggling to word my question, I know what I want to get across and what I want to create but I can't find a way to sum this up...

How can visual imagery for performance effect audience mood through projection and lighting?

Synaesthesia has been explored throughout history, Plato, Pythagoras and Aristotle all explored the relations between music and colour. This research project intends to look at how colour and music are linked and how these links can be used to create projections for performance. How do audiences react when unexpected effects are used? Does it make the music and atmosphere more intense or does it cause confusion? As an example, BeyoncĂ©’s performance at the Billboard awards in May 2011 which was designed by New York creative consultant Kenzo Digital. The performance received rave reviews partially due to the visuals created by Kenzo Digital, in which a variety of novel animations created an interactive with the choreography on stage. Animation, colour and lighting were used to draw the audience’s attention to different parts of the stage, then distracting them with special effects – adding to the performance on stage. The performance pushed traditional lighting effects and brought forward new ideas for set production and how projections can be used. Traditionally stages use lighting set ups which highlight or dim, and project colour, drawing the focus to a certain area of the stage, however with digital projections a new realm of colour and imagery can be used to manipulate the size of the area and change the performance completely.

In 1994, Patricia Valdez from the University of California’s department of Psychology lead an experiment in to the effects of colour by shade, hue and brightness which based on a scale of pleasure, arousal and dominance. The study, which is found in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, confirmed emotions which were felt when subjects were shown colours, proving that colour has a definite impact on mood and atmosphere. Mentioned within the notes of the experiment is another experiment carried out by Alexander Schauss in 1979 at the Naval correctional institute in Washington State, in which compounds were painted a pale pink shade, titled Baker-Miller pink, which had an extreme calming effect on inmates. The Navy’s report on the experiment states that "Since the initiation of this procedure on 1 March 1979, there have been no incidents of erratic or hostile behaviour during the initial phase of confinement". This confirms how colour can change mood and atmosphere.

This research paper intends to find how colour, light and imagery can be matched to music to change how the audience reacts and feels as a result of the audio visual projections. The research will be carried out on a small scale with the intention that the results will easily translate to other more elaborate or technically challenging locations. Results will be collected through a series of focus groups of between 1 and 10 people, who will be asked to respond to a series of artefacts designed to provoke a reaction either through shocking imagery, colour or lighting. By shocking it is not necessarily implied that the subjects will be gross or sexual but rather unexpected. The aim of the study will be to show how individuals perceive imagery along with music and how the results could be translated into different medias such as television or live performance in a club or larger venue, taking inspiration from light shows and projections and current technologies readily available in clubs and concert venues.

No comments: