In conversation with: Cris Mollee on the visual art of the DGTL Dome

In conversation with: Cris Mollee on the visual art of the DGTL Dome
Published: March 14, 2024

During DGTL Amsterdam, you’ll be able to experience the DGTL Dome — an interactive installation in which music, dance, visual arts and public program converge. For the visuals, we joined forces with Cris Mollee. We sat down with her to talk about her work and our collaboration. 

Cris is a creative technologist. She designs interactive and reactive scenographies for live performances. Cris works with realtime visuals and light design for musical performances, but also interactive graphics for theatre or dance performances. “In my work, ‘live’ is a main component. I enjoy the ephemeral nature of the performative arts; creating something that only really exists in a specific moment, in a specific space, shared in its pure form only with those who are there in that moment, is something special to me”, Cris says.

When asked what her favourite visuals are to create, Cris answers: “I love to work with people and digital bodies. A big part of this is the computers’ perspective, how algorithms alter our looks and how our bodies can morph into inhuman shapes. The technological world offers many options for existing differently. Working with interactivity amplifies this, connecting the physical body to the entities, forms and colours that exist in the digital. Placing all of these things in a live scene, like a festival or theatre, I think it can bring not only beauty but also a new perspective thats’ beyond our human selves.”

The visual storyline

Cris created the visual art for the DGTL Dome. She talks about the idea behind the concept and the visual storyline. “The work in the Dome is all about connections. The starting point of the story is the audience — their presence alters the look of the visuals: more people means more energy, means more life and vibrations in the visuals. We start off with a simple visualisation of the people in the space. Every human is a tiny entity and as more humans enter the Dome, these little entities become connected into one big shape. As energy builds, the Dome becomes coloured. First the entities and their shapes, ending in a big colour wash taking over the whole space. In this world of colour, we end up close. Shapes of humans and faces appear, anonymously, and get washed away again. Their traces engage new waves of colour, allowing for all entities to exist in unity. The design and realisation of the interactive installation is a collaboration with Tristan Gieler and Sem Schreuder, with support of Light-Up Collective.”

Interactive part of the visuals

The interactive aspect of the visuals forms a unique feature of the DGTL Dome. Cris explains on this aspect and talks about the techniques she used during their creation: “For the visuals to connect to the audience we are using motion tracking, more specifically OpenCV to identify the humans in the space. Their spatial data and movement is analysed in realtime. This stream of data influences the particle system made in Unreal Engine that we use and makes it change shape according to the position of each audience member present in the space. During the performances, the visuals are responding to audio input, letting the musical performers influence the worlds that we designed specifically for their show. Additionally, the performances are live operated, allowing for a more human and improvisational flair to the whole.”

“For the live A/V show with Coloray, who I’ve been collaborating with since last year, we are taking it a step further. The visuals are synced to the different musical scenes, consisting of field recordings that correspond to movement and effects in the virtual world. Here we are sharing envelopes and triggers between Ableton Live and Touchdesigner to blend the two universes into one”, Cris says.

Personal connection

We spoke with Cris about what she hopes people will feel when they see the visuals in the DGTL Dome: “While visiting the Dome, I hope anyone will feel a personal connection to the visuals, and experience that their presence adds a valuable part to the visual world. Moreover, I wish this creates a stronger connection between the audience itself, towards the digital world and with the performers in the space. For me, the Dome is an opportunity to experience a collaboration with the machine, to perhaps see it not only as a mere tool, but as an entity with a perspective and a beautiful way of unlocking new experiences and connections.”

We invite you to discover a new artistic realm on March 30th & 31st, an initiative of ABN AMRO & in collaboration with Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.


7 – 8 – 9 APRIL 2023