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‘Shakespeare’s Garden’ comes to Northern Virginia

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Category: culture Video duration: ‘Shakespeare’s Garden’ comes to Northern Virginia

“Shakespeare’s Garden: An Immersive Sound Stroll Through His Sonnets, Soliloquies, and Scenes,” is now open at the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Target Gallery in Alexandria. The exhibit is presented by Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) and the City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts. The installation enables visitors to explore an immersive sound and visual experience as they follow a meandering path through the space and listen to Shakespearean texts performed by Virginia Tech students. The Target Gallery is typically open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily with occasional 5 p.m. and holiday closures. The exhibition runs through May 26th.

We're excited to continue to be working with Virginia Tech, especially ICAT, to do these exhibitions and performances and great events. Now we're moving into Shakespeare's Garden. This project first came about when Amanda Nelson, who's in the School of Performing Arts, stopped me in the hallway and said, would you be interested in doing something with typographic projection? And I said, tell me more? And so it was a collaboration with the School of Performing Arts, as well as ICAT and Charles Nichols who did the sound design. It's a lot of fun seeing the room transform from an empty gallery space to the final working exhibit and seeing it come to life. Shakespeare's Garden is really interesting and unique because it utilizes a lot of loudspeakers and immersive projection to tell Shakespeare's stories. So we have directional loudspeakers that you can stand right under, and you'll hear sound. You'll hear spoken word. 'But thou among the wastes of time must go.' And as soon as you move away from that, you won't hear it anymore. Meanwhile, there's also ambient sound all around you. You're immersed in an acoustic environment. One technical challenge was taking this piece from the Cube, which is a much larger venue where we use bigger screens. It has its own 140 channel loudspeaker system already installed, and all the other kinds of technology is already there. So we kind of had to invent our own universe and build it out, make smaller screens, do some testing and prototyping, and fit it to the venue. I really hope that they hear Shakespeare's language in a just new and interesting way. 'Sermons and stones...' Seeing how far that it's come is really exciting to me. I mean, I feel like it's hitting so many different people in different types of audiences and that to me, is really exciting. We're in partnership with the Torpedo Factory and the city of Alexandria to really showcase the world at the edge of the arts and the sciences and design, and engineering and how these worlds actually connect together. It's been really wonderful to get to share your work with different audiences. And the people that would come through the Torpedo Factory is in general a much different audience than just walking through the Moss Arts Center. I do think dissemination of research and ideas and sharing what you're doing is a really wonderful part of what we've been doing. And by being in Northern Virginia, you're getting to reach a broader and different audience.