The Rise of the Digital Dome

The Rise of the Digital Dome

It’s nearing summertime, and with the winter thaw, the warm air, and the summer sunshine comes the events season. Music festivals, corporate retreats, conventions, expositions, weddings, and parties parties parties. Logistically, it’s a cutthroat industry, with 32% increase in competition among event planners in 2017 (Eventbrite 3rd Annual Pulse Report). Invariably, organizers of these events are always looking for ways to stand out, seeking with dedicated hunger the latest and greatest entertainment that the world has to offer.

One medium for entertainment that is globally on the rise is that of the Digital Dome – an immersive domed environment that is projection mapped to display 360° visual content, usually accompanied with equally immersive audio systems. Akin to the ever-evolving Virtual Reality technology, where participants can slip into an altered reality of light and sound, the Digital Dome unlocks new potential for event organizers to captivate attendees with the all-encompassing content of their heart’s desire.

Want your 200 person audience (actually, domes can hold many more people than that – we’ll get to this later) to experience summiting the peaks of Mt. Everest, diving into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, or dancing on the surface of the moon? All of the above? Digital Domes make that possible.

Geodesic Dome Projection, Obscura Digital

May this blog post serve to evangelize this unique medium and educate those thirsting for the bleeding edge of events entertainment.

Evolving from the early days of your favorite neighborhood planetarium, Digital Domes have come to cater to many different types of uses beyond the realm of science and astronomy; from brand, launches to live concerts to video gaming and training simulations. With the rise of technology, possibilities are becoming limitless for the types of environments that Digital Domes can create.

Sizes of Digital Domes can vary from a few feet, perfect for a single person, to two hundred feet, capable of holding thousands of people. They can be permanent fixtures embedded into architectural designs, or temporary pop-ups perfect for trade shows and ephemeral events.

L’Hemisfèric, The City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain. 110 meters long, and 55 meters tall.

With this new medium on the rise, artists and producers from many backgrounds and industries are experimenting with dome activations. Recently, major festivals in the music and entertainment industries have found major success with domes, including;

Panorama Festival, NYC (2016)

Lightning in a Bottle, California (2017)

Black Rock Desert, Nevada (aka Burning Man)

Coachella, California (2017)

With massive gatherings like these thrusting Digital Domes into the forefront of entertainment, it is an exciting time to be in the know about this evolving medium.

But that is not the end of it. At the beginning of 2018, the Madison Square Garden Group announced their plans to build a MASSIVE permanent events dome in the heart of Las Vegas, Nevada. This dome is reportedly going to be an 18,000-seat arena, built specifically for music and entertainment performances, and also could host esports competitions and possibly boxing and mixed martial arts.

Artist rendering of the “MSG Sphere”

It’s clear: the Digital Dome is on the rise. The question now is how to get in the know with this new medium and start using it to your benefit. As an artist, a fan, or an event producer, there are more ways than ever to get up to speed on Digital Domes.

The following resources are recommendations for all those who are interested.

Dome Artist Resources: http://www.denverartstech.org/dome-artist-resources/

Includes a list of workshops, events, groups, festivals, conferences, blogs, tutorials, and more.

How to Create a Fulldome / Digital Dome Master:

Fulldome Database: http://www.fddb.org/

A website dedicated to fulldome shows, domes around the world, organizations, and events.

If you are an artist or fan in the Colorado Metro region, please join us at MORPHOS Digital Dome Programs including workshops, an artist in residency, and art show. For more information, please visit our sister nonprofit organization Denver Arts and Technology Advancement (DATA).

If you are an event producer who is interested in bringing a pop-up Digital Dome to your next event, you are interested in purchasing a dome, or would like some content development, don’t hesitate to contact us at Alt Ethos! We will be happy to assist you with any and all of your fulldome needs.



MORPHOS Immersive Interactive Video Dome Art at Fort Collins and Denver

MORPHOS Immersive Interactive Video Dome Art at Fort Collins and Denver

BETA emerging technology arts and Fort Collins Museum of Discovery invites you to MORPHOS, an immersive audio-visual experience featuring the world premiere of new experimental immersive video art in the Otterbox Digital Dome and Gates Planetarium. MORPHOS will take the audience on a unique digital journey from generative graphics, a hypnotic experience, and live digital mash up as art becomes life in the immersive world. This unique 360° experience will have two shows Friday, October 16, 2015 at the Fort Collins’ OtterBox Digital Dome Theater and Sunday, October 18, 2015 at Denver’s Gates Planetarium. Doors open 6:30pm, show starts at 7pm and runs until 9:30pm.

 MORPHOS will highlight six international artists in residence’s new work and a reel of international artwork curated by Ethan Bach and Ben Gondrez. MORPHOS is a collaboration between BETA emerging technology arts and Fort Collins Museum of Discovery as a way to expand visual arts into the immersive dome. The OtterBox Digital Dome and Gates Planetarium are two of the first domes in the world to house software which allow artists to expand on the immersive experience through easy playback, interactivity, and audience generative art allowing artists to display generative art, use gaming engines, and VJ – a must see emerging immersive platform for digital artwork.


[metaslider id=7006] The International Artists in Residence include Daniel Wiklund (Sweden), Solongo Su Tserenkhand (Denver / Mongolia), Omolara Abode (Los Angeles / Nigeria), Dan Bruce Arnold with Rich Clements (England), and Oscar Sol (Spain). Each artist arrived in Denver and began their digital dome artist in residence on September 21. Artists receive training, access to equipment, and individual support in transforming their concepts and artwork into an amazing 360° immersive experience. We are excited to introduce this year’s MORPHOS Dome Artists in Residence projects:

Allergen by Daniel Wiklund

Daniel Wiklund (http://www.hypnorama3D.com). Allergen by Hypnorama3D is a hypnotic journey through a transformational audio-visual color space, where the audience will explore the strange molecular world of allergic reactions.



Solongo Su Tserenkhand

Solongo Su Tserenkhand (http://tssolongo.com/). Solongo’s work represents the fusion of Western and Eastern visual arts. Eastern art is represented by the symbol of Yin Yang and Western art is represented by mathematically computerized visual art. These two ideas are blended into each other to depict the merging of these two diverse cultures.


#Omorado by Omo Abode

Omolara Abode (https://instagram.com/yungvjomo/). #Omorado is a mash up of digital images performed as a live visuals as an abstract audio-visual exploration of blackness in the growing world of digital immersive art.



A Murmuration of Light by Dan Bruce Arnold with Rich Clements

Dan Bruce Arnold with Rich Clements (http://cargocollective.com/thiscountryside). A Murmuration of Light is an immersive piece of digital nature created as a site specific installation for the dome, a sculpture made with light.



MORPHOS_Quadrivium_smOscar Sol (http://electronicperformers.in/index_en.html). Quadrivium is a generative realtime performance with high levels of synchronicity with sound and experimenting with realtime manipulation of 3D models that flow within the complex geometries of the 360º immersive dome.


MORPHOS will transport the audience from through a 360° immersive with live generative graphics, a hypnotic tunnel, to live video art mash up. The digital planetarium will never be the same. MORPHOS will take place in two shows; Friday, October 16, 2015 at the Fort Collins’ OtterBox Digital Dome and Sunday, October 18, 2015 at Denver’s Gates Planetarium. Doors open 6:30pm with a reception, show starts at 7pm and runs until 9:30pm.

Fort Collins $20 link
Denver $25 link


Ethan Bach, Producer of MORPHOS, CEO of BETA emerging technology arts LLC, digital artist, curator, and producer. Bach is a founding member of IFAA (International Fulldome Arts Alliance). He served as Principal Investigator for a DoD grant developing interactivity for fulldome (which resulted in the open source dome art server software, vDome) and as research associate for an NSF grant developing tools and content for fulldome environments at IAIA. He writes and maintains the Art & Emerging Technology blog. Bach is also internationally known for his digital art which is primarily in immersive and interactive media. Bachs artistic expertise in experimental media won him awards from the Santa Fe Arts Commission, New Mexico Film Visions, and New Mexico Art in Public Spaces. www.ethanbach.com

The OtterBox Digital Dome Theater is located at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. The Digital Dome Theater displays breathtaking presentations on its immersive 35-foot diameter dome screen with surround sound. They offer daily planetarium shows during museum hours, DomeClub featuring evening shows of dome art and alternative content bimonthly, and biweekly DomeLab meetings where artists can learn production skills in the dome and develop their own dome art. http://www.fcmod.org/the-museum-2/digital-dome/

Gates Planetarium presents a view of the universe, using technology to tell science stories and help visitors experience the universe. The 125-seat planetarium features unidirectional, semi-reclining stadium seating, 16.4 surround-sound system featuring Ambisonic—a 3-D spatial sound system, and a perforated metal dome, 56 feet in diameter and tilted 25 degrees. The current Gates Planetarium replaces the older, dome-style planetarium. The planetarium will be fixed with a dome art server for this event.


For more information, please contact

Ethan Bach, Producer, BETA emerging technology arts



Digital Dome Interactive Gaming Art is Here

Digital Dome Interactive Gaming Art is Here

InteractiveDome_poster copy

This Friday, the Institute of American Indian Arts in association with the University of New Mexico’s Art, Research, Technology & Science Laboratory (UNM ARTS Lab) will present the culmination of years of research in interactive immersive digital art in the digital dome. Utilizing vDome, a custom made software and hardware configuration created at IAIA, artists and students came together to create the first immersive interactive gaming art for the digital dome (aka fulldome). The event will take place Friday, January 30, 7pm to 9pm. Tonight’s Interactive Dome Event at IAIA is POSTPONED due to the weather. The new date is Friday, February 6, 7pm to 9pm.

This event will feature work by Woody and Steina Vasulka and the 4th Movement of “Ursonate” by Dada/Intermedia artist Kurt Schwitters as performed by Jack Ox and Kristen Loree. Other work will be featured by Ethan Bach, Luke Balaoro, Robert Drummond, Felicia Nez,  Erin Schaefer, and Craig Tompkins. Presentation by researchers David Beining, Jane Crayton, Mats Reiniusson, and Charles Veasey.

[vimeo clip_id=117145755]

In 2012, the Institute of American Indian Arts announced the receipt of a $573,321 research grant from the Department of Defense entitled Fulldome Development for Interactive Immersive Training Capabilities. UNM ARTS Lab acted as sub awardees on this research.

The research project was built on an existing partnership between IAIA and UNM ARTS Lab. IAIA was one of two sub awardees, the second was Santa Fe Complex. In this 2010-2012 National Science Foundation Partnership for Innovation (NSF PFI) grant to the University of New Mexico (UNM) entitled A Consortium for Fulldome and Immersive Technology Development”.

The research developed from this grant provided new context for fulldome in terms of usability, diversity of content, and accessibility. The funding provided the resources necessary to create one of the first single computer user friendly, multiple application dome systems. This software, vDome, can drag and drop play large format dome masters as .mov files with slicing on the fly; allows for connecting various applications including Max/MSP and Vjing software along with external sensors for audience driven interactivity; and allows for gaming in the dome. This software is open source and be downloaded from github. Read more about vDome.

The IAIA DoD grant provided courses and month long paid hands on learning internships for students from IAIA and UNM. IAIA students are currently working in dome production. Students learned skills that fostered in creative, intellectual, technical, and self-esteem building development. To produce something for the dome was no small feat, but previous to vDome students also had to learn to write programming language in order to get their stuff to play or hand their work over to someone else to play it for them. vDome allowed students control over their own content in the dome and not just in the computer lab.

For more information regarding the progress of this grant and documentation of some of the research, please see the BETA blog research and UNM ARTS Lab Blog.