Haydn Space Opera – WIP

Explore Haydn Space Opera in Mozilla Hubs

For a quick experience (around 5mins), go to the most complete room, The Phyllida Barlow Playground here » https://hubs.mozilla.com/boG8E2Q/hso-barlow-playground


Explore the whole piece (usually 20mins or longer) starting at the Warm-Up Room (please bear in mind that this is still under development and some rooms may not be functional yet) » https://hubs.mozilla.com/niSUXry/haydn-space-opera

How to move around the piece

To move around in a Mozilla Hubs room like Haydn Space Opera, first you need to enter the room (setting various microphone/video permissions and making sure you click Enter Room even if you can hear sound already), use the WASD or arrow keys on your keyboard for forwards, left, backwards and right.

To turn, Q and E will turn your avatar 45 degrees to the left or right respectively.

To look around, or to adjust your left/right angle more fluidly, click and hold your left mouse-button while moving the mouse (or trackpad equivalent).

Some rooms also have a ‘flying’ option where you can explore the room from up high or below ‘ground’ level. To enable this, open the chat window and type /fly – the chat will confirm that you have turned on (or turned off) flying.

Haydn Space Opera - avatar selfie in The Apocalypse
Avatar-selfie in The Apocalypse room

About Haydn Space Opera

Haydn Space Opera is a virtual reality piece that considers generative spaces of the composer’s practice – her notebooks, rehearsal rooms with her Bastard Assignments colleagues, cafés where she often writes about pieces in progress – and the piling up of ideas, which are sometimes closely tied to the environment they are generated in. To this end, the content of the piece (which is experienced in a unique way for every visit by the way they move through the space, experiencing localised and roomwide sound, turning sounds on and off) includes pages from Caitlin’s notebooks which have been used as graphic scores for improvisation recordings such as those found in The Apocalypse and Phyllida Barlow Playground, snippets of rehearsal banter, videos of sugar sinking into coffee and other detritus from the experience of creating the piece, alongside custom-made 3D objects which reflect ideas that were being explored in the notebooks.

The work comprises five rooms which are accessible from a central space. The rooms are:

  • The Warm-Up Room – the hub of the work, containing gateways to all the other spaces and recordings of Bastard Assignments vocal warmups. Yet to be added: videos of the members of Bastard Assignments undertaking ‘warm-up’ tasks – more vocal warmups, physical stretches, ironing, putting on make-up, etc.
  • The Phyllida Barlow Playground – focused around an improvisation created by using the notebook page that forms the floor of the room as a graphic score. The 3D structure reflects work by Phyllida Barlow which the composer experienced at the Royal Academy’s 2019 exhibition of her work, cul-de-sac, which was influential on Caitlin’s piece Quiet Songs. Videos of the eyes of Bastard Assignments members while talking about pieces in progress are ‘hung’ on the structure, and additional sounds are the mumbled thinking-out-loud of the group’s composers.
  • The Corridor – incomplete, but will contain clusters of audio files extracted from recordings of the early rehearsals of this work, which visitors can switch on and off, creating their own soundscapes out of these behind-the-scenes moments
  • The Apocalypse – like the Phyllida Barlow Playground, this room is focused on a single improvisation which used the notebook page that is fragmented into an animated cloud of pieces in this room as a graphic score. Yet to be added: additional localised recordings of percussive sounds (key clicks, vocal percussion) distributed about the fragmented field, to be encountered as the visitor moves around.
  • The Café – a quiet space about coffee and working in cafés
  • The Blank Page – a play space where visitors can experiment with Hubs’ inbuilt features including being able to place objects, videos and audio files, draw, take selfies, etc. It reflects the messiness and play of how Caitlin uses her notebooks


Huge thanks to my colleagues in Bastard Assignments, whose performances and conversation make up the bulk of this work.

Thanks, too, to the places represented here: The ‘Casio Cave’ at Centre 151 in Haggerston, London where we recorded most of the rehearsal material and The Premises Studios in Hackney, London where the rest of it was captured; Replay Coffee in Turramurra, Sydney where several of the notebook pages used here were created (and the coffee videos were filmed); the Illy Café near South Kensington tube station in London was the venue for the writing video.