SPARK! Symposium Tests New Interfaces for Art & Technology

SPARK! Symposium Tests New Interfaces for Art & Technology

USITT's first SPARK! event will showcase new ways for performers to interact with projection and lights -- and that's just the start of the new ideas, new technologies, and new possibilities for entertainment technology to be explored in North Carolina this September.

Tupac Martir, the British visual designer, is already generating excitement with his idea to combine the interactive Mogees app, created by Italian computer scientist Bruno Zamborlin, with the Pandora's Box server from coolux to create new forms of performance art.

The collaboration will debut at SPARK!, the Entertainment Innovation Symposium convened by USITT to explore the latest in entertainment technology and move beyond even that cutting edge. The three-day symposium will be held Sept. 7-9 at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Register and find affordable hotel housing here.

Opening Pandoras Box with Mogees will be a lead-off event at SPARK! Mogees uses a contact microphone to turn any surface into a playable "keyboard" by translating micro vibrations from taps or gestures into music. Combining it with Pandora's Box media and show control creates limitless possibilities for live entertainment, Martir said.

"SPARK! will be the first time that the integration of Mogees and Pandoras Box will be fully tested," Martir said. "Bruno and myself have been looking at ways to expand what Mogees can do -- not only allowing for the freedom of the music, but also of how it can control video and lights."

"Imagine dancers making music with their gestures, and triggering lights and projections as part of their performance," Martir said.

SPARK! brings innovators from a broad spectrum of disciplines to interact in both formal presentations and informal brainstorming sessions so participants can explore today's state of the art ideas and move them into the future.

Morning Exploration sessions will bring small groups together for intensive hands-on exploration of new and developing products like Mogees and Google Glass. Afternoon SPARK! sessions will invite all participants to Engage in wide-ranging discussions led by innovators such as Martir and Google Glass pioneer Thomas Rhodes, whose field tests inspired the first operas using Glass for supertitles this year.

The three days of SPARK! will allow exploration sessions to be repeated, making content available to more participants who can create their own connections. 3D projection, wearable technologies and white space issues, and the ever-expanding roles of social media in live entertainment will all be up for discussion.

"Because we want all segments of SPARK! to be cutting edge, new presenters are still being identified and invited," said David Grindle, USITT Executive Director. "Emerging technologies and the challenges they present to us as we adapt them to our performing arts are absolutely where we are heading. "

"Having creative thinkers and problem-solvers see what has been created and adapting it for their own is what this entertainment innovation symposium is all about," he added.

USITT will be updating details at and sharing information virally as it widens the audience for SPARK!

USITT, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, is the national association for technical theatre professionals. USITT membership offers access to a 4,000-member network, hands-on training, career opportunities, new products, grants and awards, and the Annual Conference & Stage Expo. For information, visit

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