Electric Sky Blue resulted from a year-long collaborative exploration of storytelling through sound, visuals, movements, and technology with pianist and movement artist, Caroline Owen. In 2019, Owen and I produced a work called Life Suite, a multidisciplinary work for solo piano, dance, and fixed media. We developed this idea of combining dance and piano with technology further, resulting in Electric Sky Blue, in which piano, electronics, visuals, and movements are in constant dialogue and interaction via motion-capturing and amplitude following technologies. Owen's unique background in piano and dance, my passion for creating new experiences, and imaginative narration all motivated us to create this work. Inspired by a poem Owen had written about the color electric sky blue, I decided to use this text as the basis for the work’s structure. Set in ten scenes, each of which is based on a line of poetry, the piece abstractly follows the poem’s surface narrative while simultaneously outlining a broader journey––one that evolves from themes of birth and innocence to anxiety and struggle, finally leading to a sense of newfound resilience and authenticity. This narrative structure aided us in constructing ideas about the dialogue between music and other media throughout the work.

After nearly two years of limited arts performances due to the global pandemic, Electric Sky Blue is a new way for people to connect with live music, dance, and interactive visuals/audio simultaneously. Electric Sky Blue ties into themes of contact, communication, and collaboration with its interactive intermedia approach. This approach engages multiple human senses, allowing both the performer and audience members to experience the artistic work in a multidimensional way. Rather than remain in separate spheres, the media can interact with one another to contribute to a complete work of art. The interactive visuals created throughout the work rely on human movement; through Owen's dancing and piano playing, she communicates with the motion-capturing and amplitude-following technologies that are used. Electric Sky Blue also fosters connection and engagement with audiences; its multi-dimensional visual projections and multi-channel audio create an immersive experience. We also have implemented flexible seating options on the ground and stage in hopes of making audiences feel less separated from the performer and instead drawn into an intimate artistic experience.

Badie Khaleghian