HEARTFELT live performance, Village Underground, London. Photo by Benjamin Ealovega

10.06 – 23.07.2015

Robotics. Interactive lighting. Beethoven.

Ana worked with the Sacconi Quartet to commission, produce, and lead the creative development of HEARTFELT: a radical re-interpretation of an iconic Beethoven string quartet which dissolves the boundaries between audience and performer. Heartfelt connects performers and audiences by translating ECG data from performers’ heartbeats into an immersive lighting design, and haptic, handheld technology.

HEARTFELT at the Village Underground, London. Photo Benjamin Ealovega

HEARTFELT is fully immersive performance of Beethoven’s String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132  combining sound, light and touch. Upending traditional presentations of quartet music, in HEARTFELT audiences are invited to hold haptic devices which pulse with the live heartbeat of a quartet performer. Bathed in a lighting design that responds to both live music and the quartet’s ECG heart rate data, audiences can stand, sit or circulate around the quartet to view the performance up close or from afar.  

This innovative performance project grew out of an artist collaboration Ana fostered between London’s Sacconi Quartet, Britol-based robotics studio Rusty Squid, and interactive lighting designer, Ziggy Jacobs-Wyburn. Heartfelt was the recipient of an Arts Council England Grant for the Arts and was performed at the Village Underground (Spitalfields Festival), Bristol Old Vic (Bristol Proms) and the Lichfield Festival.

Testing an initial prototype of a ‘heart’ device. Photo by Benjamin Ealovega

“What does it feel like to be a musician?” Developing Heartfelt through prototyping and testing

HEARTFELT was developed iteratively through cycles of creative development and testing. Using a collaborative and audience-led model, Ana worked with the Sacconi Quartet to design a process that brought the quartet, robotics, and lighting collaborators together with test audiences to develop the work. Though prototyping and performance workshops the experiential elements of the performance and its design for emotional resonance and impact was developed and refined.

Final wooden, handheld, haptic, ‘hearts’ that transmit performer ECG data to audiences. Photo Benjamin Ealovega

The initial collaboration between Ana, the Sacconi Quartet, and concept for Heartfelt grew out of Hack the Quartet, a two day hackathon produced and hosted by Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio in July 2013 in association with The Sacconi Quartet, Bristol Old Vic and Universal Music Arts and Entertainment as part of Bristol Proms.

Artists: Sacconi Quartet
Collaborators: Rusty Squid; Ziggy Jacobs-Wyburn
Creative Producer & Commissioning: Ana Tiquia
Project Manager: Emilie Giles
Artist Management: Ikon Arts
Original Robotics Concept: Silas Adekunle
Funded by: Arts Council England