Project Description

ÜNI Public Art at Boston Ballet

MASARY Studios combined sculpture, dance, theatre, sound, and abstract art to create an immersive 360 installation for Boston Ballet.

Earlier this year, Boston Ballet approached MASARY Studios to collaborate on a touring public art piece which could showcase their dance videos within a 360 dome display system and be installed within one day. As the project evolved, ÜNI Public Art became a large-scale public installation featuring lit sculpture and multi-channel surround sound.

MASARY’s team began with the idea to add a sculptural pavilion and immersive theatre for dance and abstract media with an overall goal of bringing free, cutting-edge dance to the public. Rather than forcing over-the-top visuals on their audience, they chose a quieter approach, hiding the dome within the rest of the piece and inviting the audience to discover it.

One key to their success was iteration: MASARY tested over forty designs for the overall structure. They trialled dome content through a VR headset before building the structure for an in-person experience. The team then created most of the audio in Ableton Live. They made the visuals using green-screen footage of Boston Ballet dancers, which they pieced together with Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and Notch.

With Notch’s native 3D environment, MASARY could maintain a constant conversation with the dome’s geometry. They set particles to make procedural decisions and behave according to the logic of the dome. In one scene, for example, they adjusted particle attraction levels, turbulence, and rotation of the 3D hemisphere with a MIDI controller. 

“This was my first time using Notch more as a creative suite to export clips rather than perform in real time. While working with particle systems, having the ability to tweak in real time to sound and export quickly probably saved me days of working and waiting.”

Sam Okerstrom-Lang, Founder & Notch Designer, MASARY Studios

Additional press coverage:
Forbes, The Boston Globe.

Client: Boston Ballet
Production Company: 4wall
Production Design: MASARY Studios
Creative Direction: MASARY Studios & Boston Ballet
Project Managers: Grace Fo & Karen McConarty
Notch Designer: Sam Okerstrom-Lang
Structure Designers: MASARY Studios & Caleb Hawkins
Video Director: Ernesto Galan
Lighting Designers: MASARY Studios, Kyle Stetson, & Jeremy Stewart, PhD
Screen Production: FullDome Pro

Animators: MASARY Studios, Sam Okerstrom-Lang, & Ari Weinkle
Sound Creation: MASARY Studios & Ryan Edwards
Sound Mastering: John Escobar
Photographer: Aram Boghosian
Boston Ballet Artistic Director: Mikko Nissinen
Boston Ballet Chief Marketing Officer: Deborah Moe
ÜNI Design Director & Strategic Advisor: Denise Korn, Yellow&
ÜNI Brand & Site Design: Gensler
Website Development: Will Jardine
Community Engagement: Justin Springer, Outside the Box Agency