The David Project proposal
“The David Project” is a biography of Michelangelo’s “David” in an entirely original performance installation format. Using the narrative model of Joseph Heller’s novel “Picture This,” the story weaves together landmark moments in the lives of King David and Michelangelo with modern-day professor Marc Levoy — creator of the Stanford University Digital Michelangelo Project, which succeeded in scanning and rendering Michelangelo’s most famous statue to .25mm accuracy in 2002. “The David Project” recounts the history of the creation of the Renaissance masterpiece in holographic 3D coupled with live performance.
The main components of “The David Project” will be a half-hour 3D digitally animated film and a live performance that interweave the lives of King David as a young Judean hero and exile; Michelangelo as he sculpts the famously unsculptable slab of marred marble as a young prodigy; and university professor Marc Levoy as he and his team digitally scan Michelangelo’s 500-year-old statue in modern-day Florence.
Rather than projecting the film on a two-dimensional surface, it will be bounced onto an anamorphic cone of Eyeliner,™ creating a 3D holograph that can be viewed from all sides. The cone, because of engineering and projection practicalities, will be broken into three panels, creating an in-the-round triptych. Each of the three panels will have its own synched sound. Audiences will listen to the performance through wireless headphones, allowing them to freely circle the video sculpture as they would the “David” itself, and watch the “Giant” (as Michelangelo called the gigantic block of marble from which he freed “David”) transform into the iconic sculpture.
“The David Project” will be presented in a completely unique and bold new format. As discarded pieces of the marble fall from the “Giant” in the foreground of each panel of the triptych, the pieces will become vignettes from one of the three individual stories and/or all three at the same time. Shards of each story will be told simultaneously against the shared background of the continuing emergence of “David” from the marble.
“The David Project,” like my previous work, investigates a fundamental tension between live and mediated forms of artistic expression and encourages audience members to move freely around the work and enter into it where their interests lie. I am also expanding on the knowledge that I have gained erasing, dissecting, and recomposing elements from existing films and using this knowledge to compose my own completely self-produced content.
I am fascinated by the challenge of bringing a complex technical language to a broader audience. The story of King David and the life of Michelangelo are reference points with which an audience can connect. While Dr. Levoy’s work is more obscure, his story can connect the audience to the way in which the 3D imagery is being rendered and shown. While “The David Project” will be a complex visual and aural experience, it will also give each audience member the tools to personally decode the show’s narrative structure for himself or herself.