The Sydney Opera House has released the inaugural Outlines season, a collection of digital works showcasing boundary-pushing artists and technologists, and it’s all available free and exclusively on Stream, the Opera House’s online streaming platform for world-class performing and digital arts. 

The Sydney Opera House’s Digital Programming team has engaged with an international audience of millions since its inception almost a decade ago. Led by Stuart Buchanan, the year-round programme of livestreams is a platform for emerging voices, diverse local communities, and iconic artists presenting new work.

Stream is your virtual front row seat to Sydney’s iconic Opera House, no matter where you are in the world. The programme includes livestreams of new performances, documentaries, talks and concerts from the archives, presentations by resident and international performing arts companies, as well as mind-blowing original digital content created exclusively for Stream.

And there’s certainly a lot to explore: enjoy over 50 hours of free programming across more than 100 performances and events which are available now to watch on-demand, with new content announced monthly. A subscription to Stream is also free, with additional exclusive access to ticketed performances and events available to rent.

Apotheosis from Soft Centre and Serwah Attafuah is the latest digital original available on the platform, and it’s one not to be missed. The real-time motion-capture piece was filmed in the Opera House’s Utzon Room, utilising real-time rendering, game engine interactivity, world building, and set design. Follow movement artist Lydia Kivela as she explores a hyper-real 3D environment created by Serwah Attafuah, her every movement instantly mirrored onscreen by a digital avatar. Attafuah’s animation style has been celebrated internationally in recent times, garnering considerable attention in the NFT space. Apotheosis is the first-ever presentation of her work with real-time functionality.

Inspired by both the neon ambience of Spring Breakers and the thrilling possibilities of cyberpunk, Apotheosis invites audiences to enter a kaleidoscopic landscape populated by demons, abandoned Western Sydney landmarks, and mysterious NPCs. We are witness to three acts as the Main Character embarks on a quest through unreal worlds: cryptic encounters and intense fight scenes with monsters present obstacles in a radical story of self-acceptance. It culminates in the Main Character’s ascension through self-doubt to a God-like status: apotheosis. The film is backed by an exhilarating original score by DJ ptwiggs, otherwise known as Phoebe Twigg.

Apotheosis is about a lone character exploring a deconstructed, hyper-real Western Sydney,” 3D artist Attafuah explained. “She isn’t really aware of where she is or who she is but she is invited to explore and embrace her darker feelings and thoughts in the surreal landscapes. The character encounters NPC’s and manifestations of her own inner demons in a world that is a metaphor for one’s psyche.”

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The film was produced in partnership with the critically acclaimed Sydney-based arts organisation Soft Centre, who traverse experimental electronic music, performance art, contemporary dance, and creative coding in an attempt to encourage radical reclamations of disused space.

“The whole reason for this performance is to integrate new technologies and live technologies and although we could have pre-animated all the virtual cameras, you wouldn’t really get the sense of it being and feeling live. Being able to interact with the space and characters more gives it more of an authentic kind of feeling rather than something that looks like it could have been pre rendered.” Soft Centre Technical Director, Sam Whiteside.

“It’s an ensemble display of technology and all of these things come together for a very special show”, Soft Centre Motion Caption Technician, Matt Hermans

Apotheosis is joined in the Outlines season of digital works by three other exciting and diverse pieces. Using Omelia, a revolutionary new storytelling technology developed for Hollywood and gaming, R+J RMX sees a group of performers and dancers take on Shakespeare’s beloved play Romeo and Juliet and generate new story possibilities, all done in real time; Dream, a presentation by the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, combines theatre, music, and technology within the virtual world of the forest from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, complete with narration by Australian icon Nick Cave, an interactive symphonic score by the Philharmonia Orchestra and a cast of fairies; and Beyond Black comes from the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company and challenges the fundamental elements of the creative process, by employing South Korea’s first dancing Artificial Intelligence to choreograph an entirely new work.

Apotheosis is available on Stream throughout 2021 and can be found here.

Go behind-the-scenes of Apotheosis: