Interactive Technologies and Audiovisual Programming for the Performing Arts: The Brave New World of Computing Reshapes the Face of Musical Entertainment

Interactive Technologies and Audiovisual Programming for the Performing Arts: The Brave New World of Computing Reshapes the Face of Musical Entertainment

Eirini Markaki (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Ilias Kokkalidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0264-7.ch007
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While many scientific fields loosely rely on coarse depiction of findings and clues, other disciplines demand exact appreciation, consideration and acknowledgement for an accurate diagnosis of scientific data. But what happens if the examined data have a depth of focus and a degree of perplexity that is beyond our analyzed scope? Such is the case of performing arts, where humans demonstrate a surplus in creative potential, intermingled with computer supported technologies that provide the substrate for advanced programming for audiovisual effects. However, human metrics diverge from computer measurements, and therefore a space of convergence needs to be established analogous to the expressive capacity of musical inventiveness in terms of rhythm, spatial movement and dancing, advanced expression of emotion through harmony and beauty of the accompanying audiovisual form. In this chapter, the new era of audiovisual effects programming will be demonstrated that leverage massive participation and emotional reaction.
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It was inevitable that the awakening of digital technology as a substrate for global progression would have its ramifications influencing all sectors of human activity. In the space of arts and visually striking performances the tendencies of modern-day technologies would guarantee the creation of original and impressive spectacles asserting accomplishment in music, whether these advances concern the awareness of music and rhythm or the musicality of stage performances in general. The growth of computer systems and the developments in computer music offer the possibility of producing more and still more ostentatious works that bolster the theatrical-like character of live performances with significantly lower costs.

The term “performing arts” is used interchangeably for the description of a wide category of events of human expression: it may indeed engulf performance in the flesh, with the artists seen on stage, but it may also include a perforated event, where some parts of the musical scene are prerecorded or performed by automata, while the remaining rest is indulged with live enactment of artists, technicians, DJs or the participating public itself (Cox, 2003).

In this sense musicality is considered to be a basic axis for theatrical enactments since every major performing activity, from voguish fashion exhibitions up to the movies, relies on the arousal of fantasy that influences the audience's strong emotions. With this manner spreads out a tree-like lineage of spectacles that indomitably promote its ritualistic essential substance, even though sometimes in its modern expression globalized forms of music masquerade this persistent underground. Despite the big differences that occur in music performances in the synchrony of our world, the common denominator is the presence of a live public, which vibrates and reacts according to the streamed or performed music. (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

The participatory climax of audiovisual events for small audiences. Left: Professional dancers performing choreographic music in a club, commencing the show. Right: The clubbers’ carousal, spontaneous “ignition”, after 2-3 hours of audiovisual meditation: they dance and sing.


The participation of the public during a performance is of vital importance for its own success story. Every stage incarnation initiates a unique relationship between the artist and its audience, and this relation (in computer science terms: a transaction) yields the human interaction to the event. In case some kind of machinery is involved, which is duly prompted nowadays, then we have

Human-Machine Interaction (or its subpart Human-Computer Interaction) elaborating on the subaudition of the performance. In audiovisual arts terminology reciting is transformed to a virtual screenplay that emphasizes on act instructions and scene directions (Cox & Warner, 2007).

Even if we lacked the modern computer technology which is accountable for the technological transformation of the performing stage and scene, the panorama of contemporary renditions includes in its evolving strategies the reactions of the public: indeed, the audience is a factor that has to be subjugated to a desirable physiological response ranging from a warm applaud up to getting “wild”, as is the case, for example, in heavy metal recitals. In any case, what is taken into account is the timeline of events, which includes tokens and slots for the public interactions. Since most of these events are televised, it is basic to have tactical plans for carefully directing the huge assembly of spectators so that the strict timing criteria for telecasting are met. Sometimes, although striking, it is more important to comply with the strict lapses of the televised time offered than to tame the spectators (Figure 2).

Figure 2.

The spectators' point of view. From huge audiences (±100,000 assembled spectators). Left: To global audiences. Right: Formatting new ways for mass participation. The former mold the mood, the latter follow through and in some occasions, as is the Eurovision song contest, vote.


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