Flaherty brings interactive ‘The Dial’ to Carson Center

Peter Flaherty’s “The Dial” will be at the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts Oct. 27-Dec. 1. A new form of storytelling, “The Dial” combines an interactive narrative with augmented reality and projection mapping. Courtesy photo.
Peter Flaherty’s “The Dial” will be at the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts Oct. 27-Dec. 1. A new form of storytelling, “The Dial” combines an interactive narrative with augmented reality and projection mapping. Courtesy photo.

Flaherty brings interactive ‘The Dial’ to Carson Center

calendar icon13 Oct 2023    

Peter Flaherty
Peter Flaherty

Peter Flaherty, a director and interactive artist whose work has shown in more than 100 international venues, including theaters, galleries and museums, will be at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts on Oct. 27. His interactive piece, “The Dial,” will be on display at the Carson Center from Oct. 27-Dec. 1.

In addition to giving workshops to emerging media arts students, Flaherty will give a public lecture at IGNITE on Friday, Oct. 27 at 12:30 p.m. in the Carson Center. The event is free and open to the public. 

Public hours for “The Dial” will vary with later hours available on Friday, Nov. 3 and Friday, Dec. 1 for First Friday. Free tickets are required. For tickets and available times visit https://go.unl.edu/dialtickets.

“I’m excited to be able to bring ‘The Dial’ to the Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts and to engage with such an advanced group of student creators, the faculty and the local audience,” Flaherty said. “The goal for this project was to make an exciting, accessible project that gives audiences an opportunity to engage with rhizomatic, interactive storytelling in an intuitive way. I want them to have a surprising, fun and thought-provoking ride."

“The Dial,” which originally premiered at Sundance New Frontier in 2019, is a new form of storytelling with an interactive narrative combining augmented reality and projection mapping. Told from shifting perspectives, including the neighbors, the police and the omniscient house that sits at its center, the mystery about a formerly wealthy American family begins with a late-night car crash. The viewer controls time with their body in the rich, visual tale, unraveling what happened that fateful night. Move clockwise, and time passes normally. Move counterclockwise, and time rewinds. To see a video trailer for “The Dial,” visit https://go.unl.edu/thedial.

“We are so excited to have director and interactive artist Peter Flaherty join us at the Carson Center and bring his interactive narrative ‘The Dial’ to share with our community,” said Assistant Professor of Practice in Emerging Media Arts Anna Henson. “Peter’s work is exemplary of the kind of multidisciplinary, boundary-pushing artwork that makes meaningful use of emerging technologies that we teach here at the Carson Center. He works across cinema, interactive narrative, live performance, XR and installation—all areas that resonate with the classes I teach here and the work I do professionally as well.”

Henson said “The Dial” was especially relevant to her Projection Design and Principles of Interactivity classes.

“This piece, utilizing projection mapping and augmented reality, is a very successful example of both areas of design coming together to create a compelling experience for the audiences. We’re very lucky to have Peter do a class visit, IGNITE talk, as well as deliver a hands-on workshop for students while he’s here. Students will have many opportunities to engage with Peter and ‘The Dial’–from assisting with the physical install of ‘The Dial,’ learning the ins and outs of how the piece is constructed, and how the interactive system works, to experimenting in his workshop with forms of telepresence and embodiment using technology in live performance scenarios, to participating in a deep dive discussion on his creative and technical processes for his projects spanning The Metropolitan Opera to the Sundance Film Festival and beyond. As we further connect our Theater and Emerging Media Arts programs and create learning pathways for Projection Design and many forms of emerging interactive narrative as well as increasing opportunities to collaborate across disciplines, Peter Flaherty’s visit fits right in with our work here. During his time with us, I’m hoping students will gain insight into professional applications for the skills they’re building at the Carson Center, how their coursework can be translated into real-world projects, reaching audiences of all kinds across the world.”

Johnny Carson Endowed Director Megan Elliott said students and the community will benefit from seeing Flaherty and his work

“Peter’s work and career exemplifies the crossover between emerging media arts, live performance and theatre,” she said. “It’s at the very nexus and is hugely compelling to audiences. I was lucky to experience ‘The Dial’s premiere at Sundance in 2019. It’s an absolute coup to have it here in Nebraska as part of its inaugural tour.”

Flaherty is a professor in the Interactive Media for Performance program at CalArts. He created and directed “The Surrogate,” a groundbreaking virtual reality narrative that melds 360 video with a computer-generated explorable environment, which was a SXSW Interactive Innovation Award Finalist in 2016.

In 2019, he was the creative director for Marvel Studios and Disney’s “Eternals AR,” a companion piece to Chloé Zhao’s feature film. He is currently completing “Empire at Sea,” a Solarpunk AR drama about climate scientists who colonize an oil rig after an environmental catastrophe, which will premiere in 2024. 

He created a massive, five-hour video projection for “Parsifal,” which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 2013 and would be the first of three shows he created at The Met that are still in their active repertory. On Broadway, he created the video and projection design for Roundabout Theatre’s “Sondheim on Sondheim,” which was later adapted for HBO’s documentary film, “Six by Sondheim.” 

His large-scale video installation, “Pass Back a Revolver,” premiered at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. He has designed video projections and interactive art for installations, performances and concerts that have toured the world with The Builders Association, Complicite, Big Dance Theater, Basil Twist, and many others. His video art has been shown at such venues as the MIT Media Lab and the home of Agnes Gund (President Emerita of MOMA). He has received grants from the Rockefeller MAP Fund, The New York State Council on the Arts, Doris Duke Foundation and the Jerome Foundation, among others.