Outer Space, via Virtual Reality, in Prospect Park - The New Yorker

Outer Space, via Virtual Reality, in Prospect Park - The New Yorker

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W hat do we want from outer space? From here, on Earth, we marvel at its vastness and contemplate its black- and-white wonders. We thrill to the sight of cosmic funny business, such as an eclipse or a shooting star. We imagine going to space, and, perhaps, take solace from knowing that we’ll never have to. It can serve as a physical reminder of the unknowability of existence, the vastness of time and history, the ephemerality of you and me. Art and science that connect us to it—the moon landing, the wowings of Carl Sagan, the rollings of the Mars rover, the Treks, the Wars, Holst’s “The Planets,” David Bowie in general—can be imbued with some of its glory and mystery. Last Saturday evening at the Band Shell in Prospect Park, as part of the bric Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, the composer Paola Prestini, who is also the creative director of the performance space National Sawdust, premièred her work “The Hubble Cantata.” SARAH LARSON OUTER SPACE, VIA VIRTUAL REALITY, IN PROSPECT PARK By Sarah Larson , AUGUST 13, 2016 Julian Wachner conducting Paola Prestini’s work “The Hubble Cantata,” which premièred at the Band Shell in Prospect Park last Saturday, as part of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival.
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Space fever was in the air. The concert, a free outdoor event, featured a virtual-reality trip to the Orion Nebula, in the Milky Way. Space is silent, but this would not be: the cantata, conducted by Julian Wachner, featured the soprano Jessica Rivera, the baritone Nathan Gunn, and members of the Washington National Chorus, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the Norwegian string ensemble 1B1, and Trinity Wall Street’s new-music ensemble, Novus N.Y. We’d downloaded the V.R. experience, a short film written and directed by Eliza McNitt called “A Fistful of Stars,” in an app. When we a xed cardboard goggles to our phones, pushed play, and put the goggles on, the movie would provide a cosmic experience in three hundred and sixty degrees, re-creating actual images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Before the concert, a line of thousands of people snaked out of the park and down the block.
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