Inspired by the Greek myth around Orpheus and Eurydice, Dimosthenis Gkantzos experimented with projection mapping and installation art for his diploma project. The result is the moving performance R U Still with musician Mona Yim. Sounds and images transport feelings of doubt and uncertainty and take the audience on an emotional journey.
Read on: Dimosthenis Gkantzos gives insights into the creation of R U Still and shares his very personal motivation behind the project.
Orpheus and Eurydice were in love, the one made for the other, but after the venomous bite of a snake, Eurydice died and went to the underworld. Orpheus, now devastated, decided to go and find her himself. He went to the underworld and asked god Hades to take her back. The god moved by the young man’s love for Eurydice, allowed him to take her, under one condition.
On the way back, Orpheus is not allowed to look at Eurydice. Not even once.
Walking up, however, hand in hand, Eurydice slipped and her hand slipped from Orpheus’s hand. He turned around in a second to make sure his lover was following him and so lost her forever. He got a glimpse of Eurydice before she was once again, drawn back into the underworld.
R U Still is about trust and losing it. Whether it is the relationship with yourself we are talking about or that with a partner or a friend.
We often have these feelings in relationships. The moment you start questioning everything. Is everything as it was? How much has changed?
Such a realization can lead to a whole new reality if of course, we are ready and willing to accept it and move forward. If not, it feels like the first crack which is meant to lead to a massive break.
After listening to Mona Yim’s album and her story, I thought of Orpheus and Eurydice.
I thought that the moment he turns and looks at her is for both protagonists the perfect R U Still moment. He is not sure his lover is still with him and she is not sure if she should go on with him or not. If he is still the man she fell in love with. They both questioned the strength of their relationship for their reasons, and thus destroyed it.
I wanted to experiment with Projection Mapping and installation art. I was so inspired by Mona Yim and her EP "R U Still". I was always intrigued by the insecurity of belonging to someone and them belonging to us. Mona Yim and her album inspired me more about the subject and so we started this project together to tell the story of such a situation and the feelings around it. We wanted to experiment and combine a concert with a projection mapping show and talk about trust through sound, light, forms, and movement. Past the technical part of it, the project came at a very fragile time for both Mona Yim and me and we both felt the need to express ourselves and learn from it.
We are a team that worked together. After creating the concept we went on creating a storyboard to move on with the visuals. While the project was slowly taking its form all parts were shifting and moving to fit together at all times in an agile way. We didn’t have much time as I started the preproduction early in December and we had to be finished by February. We worked with TouchDesigner because it was vital for us to have live visuals that were reactive to the sound and everything that is taking place during the performance. At the same time were designing the display everything would be projected on in terms of form, materials, and usability.
Things didn’t always go as planned as in many productions and we kept re-adjusting every step of the way and all members of the creative team had an understanding of that. For example, the final parts of the structure where the projection gauze would be placed, arrived one day before filming the trailer of the project leaving us little time to rehearse with it and adding a lot of pressure to everyone.
Without the hard work and support of each and every single one of the team members, we wouldn’t have made it. Zita with the focused dramaturgy work and the original costume design of Franzi, Serhat and his help with the sound design and devices, Timo and his help, Beni and the construction of the 6m x 2m display structure, Paulo and the inventive mechanism of the moving parts, Kathi, Christian and Niklas, the filming team who did such amazing job depicting the best possible version of everything and Alex who crafted the video material into the final trailers. I couldn’t be more grateful.
A special thank-you goes to Mona Yim, who worked with me and offered her precious, magical album “R U Still” and was always so supporting and inspiring along the way. Her voice, talent, and aura are an indispensable part of this project.
We wanted to give this ending. An ending in which you are no longer insecure about yourself or those surrounding you. An ending with hope and with trust. Just keep moving forward and everything will take its way. Trust in yourself, trust in the people around you, trust in life. It may sound cheesy and cringy even but I stand by it 100%. Embracing change in all its forms from a place of love, instead of a place of fear, makes all the difference.