Kuva: Tuula Ylikorpi



Assembly Creative Tech’21 – going back to live

perjantaina 12. marraskuuta 2021

Assembly Creative Tech’21 brought together Assembly and the opera at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet last Friday.


For the first time in a spell, we got to truly go live at Assembly Creative Tech’21 at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet last Friday. The event itself was a fusion of two worlds, bringing together Assembly and the opera with Opera Beyond finals being hosted at the event.

Event general notes

The event was hosted at the prestigious black box of the Finnish Opera House, Almi Hall, sprawling out into the lower foyer as well. While the venue could easily give the event an air of posturing and gala, the Finnish National Opera and Ballet (FNOB for short) house and staff were very welcoming, and the Assembly crowd and Opera Beyond enthusiasts mingled with ease throughout the night. And while some of the demos elicited a few loud responses from the crowd (it has been a while since we’ve had a chance to shout “Amiga!” at the big screen after all), everyone was in high spirits and very accommodating.

Like all great events, Creative Tech would not have been the same without partners. We were joined at the Opera house by Supercell, Housemarque, Telia, Seriously, Remedy and UpCloud, who made the evening even more of a spectacle.

All in all the venue worked wonderfully for the event, giving the first “real space” event in a while an air of glamour, even if it was only for this one evening. The event schedule was smartly split by intermissions, giving the opportunity to mingle and chat. The whole event was also streamed and can be viewed online, with classic short interviews weaved into the breaks. 

Speakers: painting new worlds in the intersection of live and tech space

Kuva: Otto Jahnukainen

Kuva: Otto Jahnukainen

Both the evening’s speakers were veritable experts in their fields: the keynote speaker Sarah Brin giving a talk about metaverse and how we should all take part in shaping it, and Annette Mees sharing her experiences about how immersive technologies and working together with technologists can change the storytelling experiences of theatre.

Sarah Brin, in her role as Outreach Producer at Media Molecule, has seen a lot of how the creation of art can become collaborative with Dreams, Media Molecule’s game creation system. Even more interesting (at least for myself) was the talk about metaverse and how the concept is much older than the push for it in the tech industry, and how collaboration and reciprocity should be at its heart. If the idea of participating in the creation of new stories in and around the metaverse tickles your fancy or you want to learn more, you can view the whole of Sarah Brin’s keynote talk here.

Annette Mees has been working at the Royal Opera House’s Audience Labs, and a lot of her talk focused on Current Rising, an immersive hyperreality opera that they had put on just this year. Through this scope, she explored the participancy of the audience, the space and the technology into the storytelling and art of theatre. The talk then spun back to innovation, art and technology fusing together to create something better for our future. The entire talk can be viewed here.

Assembly x Opera Beyond finals: the future is here

After the speakers it was time to dive into the future of opera. Assembly and Opera Beyond had put out a call for innovations to CircOpera 2.0, and received absolutely mindbending ideas on how to change the scape of opera. The four finalist teams chosen out of all the participants - the introductions of whom can be found on the Opera Beyond site presented their concepts on stage.

Kuva: Otto Jahnukainen

Kuva: Otto Jahnukainen

All four finalist teams brought out new and different ways of enriching the opera performance through immersive technology, bending and blending the classical boundaries of the performance, the audience and the performers. Stunning presentations were rolled out in front of the audience, and all four teams were clearly set on transforming the opera experience into something more. From a virtual opera queen to blimps inside the hall, from a participatory gaming experience to motion mapping and visualization, all the finalists had an idea on how to make the opera into something even more.

In the end, even the judges had a hard time picking out the best in show: not one but two teams won, and will be collaborating in creating the CircOpera 2.0 for FNOB main stage for autumn 2022. Congratulations to Vitamin Studio and Violet Disruption, we will see you on the main stage of the Opera next year! If you want to get a taste of what’s in store, you can watch all the finalist pitches on YouTube.

Demoscene is back! (It never left)

In addition to the Opera Beyond finals, we had the honour of hosting demos on a big screen for the first time in a while. Trying out something different, instead of the familiar Assembly categories there were four different compos: Combined Demo Compo, Wild/Short-film Compo, Combined Graphics Compo and Intermission Music Compo. 

Even with the comparably short time for participation, all of the compos received quite a few entries of happily high quality. While the combined categories divided the audience somewhat and gave the compos something of a showcase feel at times, it was both refreshing and happily familiar to get to see the entries off a big screen for the first time in what felt like way too long.

You can find the full results of all the compos up on the Demoscene website, but here are the winners of each category as well:

Intermission Music:

  • 124 pts   Horizon by Alysius / Akustikrausch

  • 110 pts   Ear bud boogie by Defilus

  • 110 pts   Hyperman by Mergente

Combined Graphics:

  • 350 pts   Japanese monkey demon by Croaker / TPOLM^Halcyon

  • 333 pts   Artifact by Darkki

  • 296 pts   By the ruins by Partikle

Wild / Short Film:

  • 336 pts   HBC-00021: PULP by HBC

  • 305 pts   snäkätor by rawArgon

  • 299 pts   Vattu by hedelmae

Combined Demo:

  • 315 pts   Trippus Lunaticus by Extream

  • 303 pts   Death Room by TPOLM

  • 291 pts   E111 by IVORY

Kuva: Otto Jahnukainen

Kuva: Otto Jahnukainen

Huge congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to all participants. Amazing work all around, especially with the shorter than usual call for entries! You can find all of the entries in the scene archives or the compos on YouTube.

Going back to live

All in all, it was an amazing evening at the Opera: getting to meet old friends and make new ones, seeing something different in Opera Beyond and something familiar (but always also new) in the compos and learning from our magnificent speakers. But having tasted the possibilities of live events, we’re not content stopping here.

Yep, we’re going to be going back to live - and this isn’t just the stream operator speaking, we mean real meatspace. Creative Tech’21 was a great opportunity to both try something new, create something great, energize our minds and actually go out to meet people for the first time in a while. But it doesn’t end here. 2022 will be a huge year for Assembly (30 years, can you believe it?) and we will be going all out. Assembly Winter is already being planned and we will have news for you soon, so stay tuned. You can already save the dates for next year: Assembly Winter will be on 24.-27.2.2022 and Summer on 4.-7.8.2022.

Kuva: Otto Jahnukainen

Kuva: Otto Jahnukainen

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