Phase One

Nikola Tesla sitting with his coil at Colorado Springs (double exposure image)Phase One of the Alternating Realities Project will be a workshop series involving designers, historians, engineers, writers, musicians, actors, and software developers. The workshops will be run in a venue in Sydney over 2013.

Each workshop will be run over a number of days and will focus on a key aspect of the Alternating Realities project. The workshops will be open to a select number of creatives and technicians, and are intended to foster an open-ended collaboration across multiple disciplines.

Workshop 1

Workshop 1 will be presented by John Galea and Robert McMahon and focus on primary source research and sifting through the historical data surrounding the life of Nikola Tesla. Consideration will be given to the many conspiracy theories surrounding his life and work as well as the cultural legacy of his work. How to frame these ‘Alternating Realities’ and present them to the public?

Workshop 2

Workshop 2 will focus on Robert McMahon sharing the technical expertise he has already developed in recreating the devices and effects that Nikola Tesla pioneered, and allow Ausgrid apprentices to learn and contribute to the recreation and development of various Tesla devices with a view to creating original stage effects.

Workshop 3

The third workshop will be presented by Dr. Anna Kamaralli and investigate the role of meter and verse in contemporary drama. It will especially focus on how different English verse structures can be used in a dramatic script, in order to echo the harmonic and periodic patterns in electromagnetism which Tesla was investigating.

Workshop 4

Workshop 4 will be presented by Victor Spiegel and Chris Davies and will focus on sound and music, especially the interaction between electronic instruments (e.g. the theremin) and Tesla’s technology (Robert McMahon has developed a prototype musical Tesla coil which will create sound and music by directly vibrating the air with artificial lightning)

Workshop 5

Workshop 5, presented by John Galea, Karl Cook and Elizabeth Elwell-Cook will involve an exploration of the visual world of Tesla: the aesthetics of 19th century technology; period costume; the influence of Tesla on Steampunk and other creative subcultures; the art nouveau and art deco movements. The workshop will extend the concept of harmonics and periodic patterns to the visual sphere, developing design elements influenced by Tesla’s physics that can be used in set design, costumes, hair and makeup design, and marketing material.

Workshop 6

Workshop 6, presented by Victor Spiegel, Hannah Courtney and John Galea will be an acting and movement improvisation workshop. Actors, creative and technical attendees will inhabit the historical characters involved in Tesla’s story (Duka Tesla, Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, Katherine Johnson and others) and use various improvisational techniques to explore the relationships between the personalities who shaped the Twentieth Century.

Phase One Outcomes

Printed workshop diary and social media-connected website presenting research and development findings, including periodic documentary-style progress videos for the general public. The public will also have a say in the direction of development via social media and feedback mechanisms on the website.