A CINEMATIC work for immersive environments

The Key To Time, Scene 11 "The Time Song"

The Key To Time (a.k.a. Shape Of Things To Come) by media artist/filmmaker Roderick Coover and composer Krzysztof Wolek is an immersive, cinematic art experience designed for immersive cinematic experiences like 360 cinemas, CAVES, domes and VR Headsets. The work explores contemporary theories of time, simultaneity, rhizomes, environmental catastrophe and quantum physics through visual and musical expressions of time-space models, technological time-devices and human conditions of time like longing, waiting and decay. The operatic work bridges 1920s silent cinema and virtual reality. The surreal narrative criss-crosses time and addresses how historic choices echo in troubled landscapes of the past, present and future.

The work has elements of surrealism and opera, and the scenes are driven by song, sound and dream-like narrative sequencing. When Anna and Tanek were young lovers, an accident involving a time-travel machine prototype and Anna’s strange glass hand propelled Tanek into the future at the end of time. Floods and contamination have led to wars, and new war technologies threaten to destroy the world. With no other means to travel, he can only reach Anna through dreams. But his plans go awry, and he arrives in a parallel universe in which his doppelgänger is trying to use Anna’s powers for his own gain.

The 45 minute work is in English with subtitling available in French.



Visually The Key To Time makes a bridge between the aesthetics of silent era and emerging cinematic forms. This is driven by a story, which concerns time-travel and dream travel. The characters drawn in graphic-novel styled form and the design uses this play of graphic form and gaming to to further explore the dream-like conditions of immersive form. Dialog and song and performed by the singers and layered upon the dramatic action performed by actors. Some scenes are layered upon seemingly natural settings of a dystopic future, or, in black and white, on historic settings. Others are layered into digitally designed settings.




THE KEY TO TIME/ Scenes 3 and 4


THE KEY TO TIME/ Scene 18a

More samples available on request


The Key To Time features the performances of award winning vocal artists Joanna Freszel, Emily Albrink, Katherine Calcamuggio, Chad Sloan and Jesse Donner and actors Natalia Kalita and Paweł Smagała. The scenes were recorded in a green studio and layered upon designed backgrounds. It was filmed at the renowned CETA studios in Wroclaw known for works such as the Saragossa Manuscript and Loving Vincent and the actors are members of TR Theater in Warsaw.

The project is written and directed by Roderick Coover and the soundtrack is created by Krzysztof Wołek. Both are award-winning innovators in emerging, electronic form. Coover is based in Philadelphia USA and in the Rhone Valley in France. Wołek is based in Louisville, Kentucky.

The work exemplifies a collaborative approach to creative invention. Coover and Wolek exchanged materials in stages over an 18month period, developed concepts, production strategies and, in post production, an immersive, mulimodal experience. The collaborative process extended into the production. Coover brought on FX artist Logan Gardner to join in the production in Poland. An initial audio track was recorded with vocal baritone Chad Sloan and soprano Emily Albrink in the USA. Rehearsals were conducted with actors from TR theater who would perform the scenes in the green stage. A special rehearsal recording session in Poland was then arranged with soprano Joanna Freszel. The work involved the participation of personelle at Insitute Adam Mickiewicz, TR Theater, CeTA, Temple University, University of Kentucky and others.


Director/Visual Artist

• Roderick Coover (b. 1967) is an award-winning filmmaker/media artist who has been a leading innovator in emerging cinematic works since the 1990s, creating new forms of interactive, algorithmic and panoramic digital cinema. The recipient of Fulbright, Whiting and Mellon awards, among others, his works are shown in international art venues, film festivals and public spaces.


• Krzysztof Wołek (b. 1976) is a composer, improviser, and installation artist. His compositions received a number of awards, such as the Prix for Mobile Variations at the Concours Internationaux de Musique et d’Art Sonore Electroacoustiques- Bourges – 2007. They have been presented at various festivals of contemporary music and art in Europe, North America and Asia.

Lead Actors

• Paweł Smagała is an award winning actor based with TR Theater Warsaw who has performed in several dozen films, television series and plays.

• Natalia Kalita is award-winning actress based with TR Theater Warsaw who has performed in numerous plays and films.

Vocal Artists

• Soprano Joanna Freszel has performed in the Teatr Wielki – National Opera in Warsaw, the Grand Theatre in Poznań, the Estonian National Opera and Teatro Lope de Vega in Seville among many other venues. She was winner of the Golden Orpheus awarded by Académie du Disque Lyrique for the best contemporary music interpretation on her debut album Real Life Song.

• Baritone Chad Sloan has worked with the Kentucky Opera, Arizona Opera, Lexington Philharmonic, Flagstaff Symphony, Ballet-Opéra-Pantomime of Montreal, Opera Memphis, Tacoma Opera, New York City Opera, and Bar Harbor Music Festival among numerous others.

• Soprano Emily Albrink made her Carnegie Hall debut opposite Dawn Upshaw as Nuria in Ainadamar with the Orchestra of St. Luke and has worked with with venerable composers and conductors such as James Levine, Plácido Domingo, Robert Spano, Marin Alsop, Jake Heggie, and John Musto.

• Mezzo-soprano, Katherine Calcamuggio is recipient of top prizes in the American Opera Society, Palm Beach Opera, Bel Canto and Shreveport Singer of the Year competitions; and has awards from the Chicago Women’s Musician’s Club and the Anna Sosenko Trust. She has performed with Syracuse Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera among many others.

• Tenor Jesse Donne performed was a resident artist at Lyric Opera of Chicago from 2014-2017, and has performed with the Chicago Philharmonic, Dupage Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera, Chicago’s Civic Orchestra among others. He is recipient of the 2015 Luminarts Fellowship, Bel Canto grand prize, 2014 George Shirley Award for Opera Performance, and the 2012 Michigan Friends of Opera Competition.


The Key To Time offers a 50 minute experience.

The master is 16k 360 3D cinema with ambisonic sound. It is formatted for a range of venues including 3D 360° and 180° cinemas, immersive media venues like domes and cave automatic virtual environments (CAVES), projection mapping and virtual reality (VR). The sound formats are ambisonic sound, 5.1 and stereo.

While it can be viewed on individual viewers in a gallery setting, because of its length and narrative structure, Itis best viewed as a dedicated screening/performance in a venue with seats. A technical rider is available on request.


This project is one of the +100 works organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of POLSKA 100, the international cultural programme accompanying the centenary of Poland regaining independence. POLSKA 100 is financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017–2021. Polska 100 is a project of Adam Mickiewicz Institute which is responsible for international celebrations program of the Polish independence centenary. +100 has been conceived by Roderick Coover, and produced and co-curated by Katarzyna Boratyn under the institutional direction of Anna Szylar at the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. This work is a co-production of Chouette Collective, Instytut Adama Mickiewicza and Centrum Technologii Audiowizualnych.