Each semester, we have the honor of profiling some of the incredible professional artists involved in the TDM production. Our first artist spotlight this fall shines on Hao Bai! Hao is a multidisciplinary designer in set installation/environment/world building, lighting, sound, and video projection. Hao is currently working as the Production Designer on the fall TDM production. Check out more of Hao’s work at www.haobaidesign.com.
What inspires you as an artist and creative?
My inspirations come from deep listening, hearing, and understanding of what's around me, what people are going through, and what's going on around the world. I find so much beauty and complexity in both nature and humanities. As a designer and artist, I try to create design elements that open up our senses to possibilities of seeing the world/bodies differently, hearing the world/voices differently, and to find ways of understanding the world/nature/humanity more deeply. I'm deeply inspired by theatres as rituals, theatres as practices, and theatres as ways to open up our world views and personal values. I aim to make work that can make a change and build a community for healing.
What excites you about this original TDM production?
As a designer, I'm excited about the devising process for this production. It is truly a gift that I get to dream of the visual world before we have the text/script/structure, and such a gift to be able to experiment with visual worlds (the scenic, projection, and lights) in the rehearsal rooms with the whole team before the actual tech starts. I'm very excited about the stories, experiences, and rituals we are creating and offering, as we are creating a space to hold people, for people to meditate, to sit, and to breathe together.
As a collaborator with the students, I'm excited about finding the collective voices together and creating outside of the boxes together. I'm also excited about us finding artists' souls together through the intimate and personal creation process, we keep asking ourselves questions such as what healing means, what home means, what change means, what success means, how friendships hold each other etc.
What has it been like collaborating with the students on this project?
The students are a crucial part of this process, as they are the divisors, playing the role among being the theater makers, directors, dramaturgs, designers, and many more. The generating process is the process of exploring and creating together as a collective voice. We inspire each other and learn from each other. For example, one time the students were asked to imagine how to utilize the design elements or scenic elements to create moments for scenes, one of them created a beginning sequence with many potent beats. The offering inspired me to have more clarity on the lighting design arch in terms of how to use dramatic colors and how to use a single light source. One of the other students shared knowledge from her other class about cosmology and patterns of sunrise and sunsets, which inspired us to think about what time passing and patterns mean in this piece in different ways. We've all been excited whenever we have opportunities to exchange opinions/ideas/thoughts. We see stars shining in each other's eyes and we inspire each other. I'm really glad to see the students learning design elements through our process of making and creating. Thanks for their brilliance, generosity and curiosity.
What projects are you working on next?
As a multidisciplinary/hyphenated designer, I'm working on a project called Arden at the Flea Theatre (in which I'll be doing lights, sound, and projection), with incredible groundbreaking artists including Niegel Smith, Carrie Mae Weems, Okwui Okpokwasili, Peter Born, and Diana Oh. It's an immersive performance piece to explore the idea of collective liberation. I'm also very excited that Where We Belong by Madeline Sayet (that I've been working on as the production designer) is launching it's national tour soon, after we made the film at Woolly Mammoth Theatre and had it's in person premiere at Baltimore Center Stage. I'll also be working as the sound designer for 7 Minutes at HERE Arts Center.