Which Reminded Me Of…

I was reading Adaptstration today in which Drew McManus was talking about seeing an orchestra program which was specially designed to show off the technological advantages of HDTV. It reminded me of another article I read back in February where students from MIT were dreaming up ways that technology could enhance an arts attendance experience. One of their ideas was to project a hologram of a conductor in Germany in front of an orchestra in Miami and have them make music with half the world between them.

When I originally read that article in February, it reminded me of some musings I had years before on the future of theatre. With the trend of people deciding to receive their entertainment at home, theatres would have to adapt by presenting their product across the same delivery channels. Arts on television currently doesn’t have much of an audience. However, I was thinking that an emerging holograph or virtual reality technology could provide the answer.

My wild idea was that people could choose to plug in to watch a live performance from home. However, they could not only choose to watch from an audience’s point of view, but also from the point of view of each character via a small camera mounted over the ear like a body mic. In this manner, they could experience what it was like to be up on stage in front of an audience, what it was like waiting in the wings or rushing around to enter from the other side of the stage. Some costume changes might have to be censored out depending how much they revealed.

There would be, of course, the added thrill of taking the point of view of one of the actors who about to be kissed by the celebrity sex symbol so that you feel you are being kissed yourself.

This is the advantage of live creative arts over film. Movies might be able to provide people with the point of view of being in the actual movie. But because films are shot out of order and there are long periods of inactivity for those involved, they can’t provide real time behind the scenes insights and interaction.

When I first envisioned this idea, I figured technology might make it viable by the time I was 70. However, it appears the bright minds are moving ahead faster than I gave them credit for. Be interesting to see how soon it is a reality.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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