Augmented La Traviata: Remediating Opera Through Augmented Reality Technology

Augmented La Traviata: Remediating Opera Through Augmented Reality Technology

Alessandra Marasco (Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development (IRISS) - National Research Council (CNR), Naples, Italy), Barbara Balbi (Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development (IRISS) - National Research Council (CNR), Naples, Italy) and Donatella Icolari (Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development (IRISS) - National Research Council (CNR), Naples, Italy)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/IJACDT.2018070104

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to explore how the components of the opera can be remediated and enhanced through augmented reality. To this end, a multidisciplinary approach is adopted that integrates studies in the areas of humanities, design technology and marketing and a framework is proposed that identifies the relevant components for the remediation of opera. Based on the framework and previous studies, the case of La Traviata is analyzed in its several declinations through early and new media to discuss the requirements for a meaningful remediation of opera and the strengths of augmented reality in this context. Based on previous research and the case analysis, it is argued that augmented reality can be a powerful medium for opera, enhancing and encompassing its multimodal structure and multiple experience dimensions.
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Introduction

Recent years witnessed an increasing interest in the potential of digital technologies for the creation of new experiences and for audience development in the performing arts (Bakhshi et al., 2010; Bakshi & Throsby, 2010, 2012). However, given their unique features, live performances are less easy to translate digitally (Bakhshi et al., 2010). The remediation of performative arts through new digital technologies poses very specific challenges for the translation of all the distinctive components due to the multimodal aesthetic nature of the cultural experience (Bolter, 2000).

This study focuses on a very complex case of remediation, namely opera, through augmented reality (AR). Within a project aimed at developing an AR application to support the live experience of opera, this study explores how opera can be remediated and enhanced through AR. Opera is continuously and traditionally addressed by new forms of digital experience (Morris, 2010). Over time, the opera, typified by multidimensional resources, has been remediated in multimodal languages. Today, this transformation revolves around digital technologies. Although it is still considered as a green medium, a digital solution in an “Alpha Revision” (Lichty, 2018, p.159), AR technology has potential for innovate and improve audiences’ cultural experience in this context.

However, to the best of authors’ knowledge, studies on the remediation of opera through AR are lacking. Therefore, there is the need to better understand how the components of the opera can be passed down through AR technology to create an innovative and valuable experience. With this purpose, this study considers AR as a new media experience and explores the “augmentation” modalities and potentials for opera through an analysis of its declination in earlier media forms. In particular, the modalities of remediation of opera in films, stage productions and TV programs are taken into account as the basis for the exploration of AR features for opera. The analysis is developed through a multidisciplinary approach that integrates studies in the areas of humanities, design technology and marketing. Based on this approach, a technological transfer framework is developed that identifies the relevant components for the remediation of opera through AR. Based on the proposed framework and previous studies, the exemplar case of La Traviata is analyzed to discuss the requirements for a meaningful remediation of opera as well as the strengths of the AR medium in this context.

A comprehensive list of definitions of the concepts used in this article and their application to the specific context of opera is presented in Appendix 1, Table 2.

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