Caleb Hall

Performer • Creative Technologist • Set and Costume Designer
Caleb Hall is an Actor and Design Technologist who is fascinated by the intersectionality and interplay between both mediums. When not creating live Viking Funerals, his work ranges from Game Development through Live Theatre to Video Production.
Thesis Faculty
Ernesto KlarAlexander KingMelanie CreanSamuel LeighGloria DuanAyodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde

Ethereal Delay

Ethereal Delay

Ethereal Delay is an interactive, interdisciplinary live Nordic Viking Funeral for Shakespeare’s tragic lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Utilizing Touchdesigner, the performer must direct the restless spirits from purgatory to Valhalla, as a means of cleaning up the chaos left at the end of the play. In this way, the gothi, or Nordic priest, will both reunite the lovers and prevent further hauntings that occur in every other Shakespearean tragedy.

As the project developed over the past year, its subtext slowly and subconsciously changed. While the previous themes remain central to the performance, more subtle themes emerged involving personal introspection on the death of a grandparent, the processing of loss and mourning, and an overall positive yet complicated relationship with the university and its administration. Ethereal Delay has become an unconscious Viking funeral for the artist’s time and experiences during his years at Parsons.

The Logistics

The technical aspects of this project connect two projectors. One represents water, the other sky. The water projector is mounted to the ceiling and attached to a Kinect. This allows for generative feedback where the ground reacts to the performer’s movement, creating a real-time water ripple effect. Values are also customizable in both the sky and ground projections, specifically speed, intensity, color, and “craziness.” These values can then be saved as scenes, transforming Touchdesigner into a powerhouse for staged performances. The objective is for stagehands with little programming experience to be capable of utilizing this backend. This project’s Touchdesigner backend has completely replaced Qlab as the artist’s primary staging software.

The coffin boat was built as a real-world physical interactive component for the viewer. The original goal was for it to be carried by volunteer pallbearers in the show space, while the video and projections are displayed and interactable in the showroom. Once the coffin enters the showroom, the performance begins. The costume was created from pieces of inherited fur and objects from my grandmother. The crown was built out of tree bark and sticks found in my grandmother’s yard in New Jersey. The CRTs in the video are the TV monitors from my late grandmother’s house, an integral part of the artist’s childhood.

Special Thanks

I would like to thank PPPANIK and TIMGERRITS for providing base TouchDesigner tutorials and databases for Northern Lights and Wavetop respectively. Their work acted as a starting place for this project.

Additionally, I would like to thank all the faculty members at DT, Lang, and Copa, as well as my parents, brother, and aunt for advice, feedback, and support during this project.