Disaster Reaction

Made by Fred Qiao, Jonathan Merrin, Cloud Tian and Nazli

A multimedia performance showing two different reaction when facing a disaster.

Created: November 16th, 2015



Leap Motion, projector, cello, imovie.



Detail what you created. What methods or techniques did you use? What tools and technologies were involved? Include images, code or video.

For the background video, Fred chose scenes from several different movies and cut them together. He tried to connected different movies smoothly, so when he connected different movies, he used similar scenes. For example, Fred chose sea views and skyscrapers to connect 2012 and other movies to make them look more integrate. In addition, to let the video have interaction with performers, he also changed the tones and speed of movies in different times. When the cello goes wild, the tone of video was adjusted to be more red and the speed was increased. When the music becomes peaceful, the background video is more blue and cold. The whole video was created to cooperate and interact with performers and viewers.



Write about the big ideas behind your project? What are the goals? Why did you make it? What are your motivations?

The intention of this project is to deliver an understanding of how would people react to a doomed death. So the scene I came up with is the disaster background where normal people (who's not as lucky as the people who get rescued in the movie) are in and it won't be long before they figure out they will be dead sooner or later, for they can't fight against the end of world. According to my knowledge in psychology, people could have several psychological states when facing death. So in our performance, I designed two different reaction: the cellist who face the disaster naturally, accepting his doomed fate peacefully and playing his last piece with great focus; the second performer, who's a normal person, go through a lot of psychology state including shock, denial, panic, praying, completely freaking out and finally, acceptance. This design has several visual contradictions: if we divide the performance into two half, front and back, we have complete chaos in the back while order in the front (classical music and human behavior, although a little bit of craziness). And if we divide the front stage into another two half, left and right, we have a peaceful cellist on the left and a crazy performer on the right.



Our project directly connects to music, Cloud was playing the cello, it connects to drama, Jonathan was acting and we had the video of the disasters where the disasters were clips of movies. That's why, our project was related to many fields. If we look at the music side, Cloud played Bach Cello Suite No 1. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGQLXRTl3Z0). This relates directly to the classical music culture in our lives. We had acting going on stage. It relates to theatre, which has been part of human life for many years. Also, since we didn’t have dialogue, this acting is also in the category of pantomime. Lastly, we had video. It relates to movies since our video was created by taking out clips from other movies. If looked at part by part at the distinct features of the performance, it is very easy to find precedent projects. For the combination, an example could be Nary’s Journey (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1Wu3Ruk9c4) which combines the theatre and the movie and Merce Cunningham Dance Company at BAM: BIPED (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHeoYdDMbLI) which combines dance and movie. We wanted our project to have all three, so we combined them while writing our own story.


We first started with choosing a theme: End of the world. We wanted to have a performance that would have different features such as both a musical performance and acting performance. Our initial idea was the musical and the video in the background. We were planning on using Leap Motion to connect the two. As Cloud plays the cello faster, the video would speed up. When Cloud played slower, the video would also slow down. However, that didn’t work out since we couldn’t find the library we were planning to use to connect them. Then we added acting to bring a different view to the performance. The performance now represented two types of people; the ones that give up without a fight and accept the facts immediately, represented by Cloud, and the people that try to make things better and fight against it, but become tired at the end, represented by Jonathan. 


We were a group of four: Nazlı Uzgur, Cloud Tian, Jonathan Merrin, Fred Qiao. Cloud played the cello and worked on the movements for the acting performance. Jonathan worked on the Leap Motion and was the acting performer. Fred compiled and edited the video. Nazli worked on the movements for the acting performance, message of the whole performance and the tech things.
The Leap Motion in the end wound up not working in time for the performance.



I think this was a great project. I really liked how we were able to connect three different performance styles; music, acting and movie; and we were able to combine all of them into one performance. My inner critic is happy.


Reference any sources or materials used in the documentation or composition. 




(Also some videos in Fred's hard drives)

Share this Project


A multimedia performance showing two different reaction when facing a disaster.