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Virtual Reality Opera Explores Consciousness, Sleep at U-M

Columbia College Chicago Professor Paul Catanese is a 2019-2020 visiting artist at the University of Michigan, where he will further develop his new opera, Century of Progress / Sleep. An exploration of the mysteries of consciousness and sleep, the opera is written to be experienced by a Virtual Reality audience. Act I of the opera was staged for planetarium dome at Colgate University during the 2018/19 school year – a studio recording of Act I will be released as an LP later this year.

During the visit organized by the Stamps School of Art & Design, Catanese will work with the Sleep and Circadian Research Laboratory at Michigan Medicine to collect his own personal sleep research data to sonify as part of his composition process. Working with the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Catanese will produce and record the opera's spatialized chorale singing.

At the Stamps School of Art & Design, Dr. Jane Prophet, Associate Dean for Research, Creative Work, and Strategic Initiatives, will work with Catanese to produce the virtual reality components of the experience, including virtually generated cloud, fog, mist, and atmospheric terrain.

Additionally, Catanese will participate in the New Media Caucus Symposium hosted by the Stamps School of Art & Design, with an introductory Touchdesigner Workshop on Saturday, September 21 at 10:45 am in the Art & Architecture Building (2000 Bonisteel Blvd), Room #1410.

Act II of the project is going to debut in July 2020, with details forthcoming over the course of the academic year.

Learn more about Paul Catanese and Century of Progress.