[Excerpt from The Beacon Herald (UK)]
We hear a lot about how digital media is affecting newspapers, television, even movies. Is digital media also affecting the performing arts? Or are the performing arts pushing digital media?
Artists and academics are pushing technology in new ways to augment their performances. As early as 2008, the drama department at the University of Waterloo was undertaking a couple such experiments.
In partnership with the University of Central Florida and Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., the University of Waterloo produced a new show with an old story — Alice Experiments in Wonderland. The show featured a high-speed connection (as much as 150Mbit/s), 2D and 3D sets, and simultaneous live theatre in three locations.
Thirty-three cast members in three different locations with different sets and audiences presented a few challenges including DVTS (digital video transport systems) connectivity, echo compression, sound and video transfer issues. But the three universities’ networking departments worked together to use more bandwidth and computing power to successfully broadcast at peak sustained broadband usage during the entire length of the show. Using existing video conferencing technology in a novel way created an opportunity for theatres all around the world to affordably replicate the experience. …
This September, an international community of cultural enthusiasts — including artists, academics, creators and developers — is coming to Stratford to explore how the performing arts are pushing the uses of digital technologies and shaping innovative artistic experiences. Through workshops, seminars and performances integrating digital media technologies, sessions will explore the limitations and challenges of arts and media, but also the opportunities.
The Challenging Digital Media: The Performing Arts conference is presented by the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus Sept. 28-30, 2011, in partnership with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and the National Arts Centre. For more information, go to challenging digitalmedia.zerista.com.