As other examples/models of telematic performance, I was involved in a
number of satellitecasts when I was still based at Rensselaer. We
commissioned artists to make pieces that took advantage of the fact that
they were being broadcast across the continent, otherwise giving them carte
blanche. Perhaps the most successful of these was a piece called "Empire"
by Robert Ashley, in which Ashley used a narrative text from "Now Eleanor's
Idea". A small group of performers in the studio acted as the chorus, but
the words for the chorus part were also shown live on screen. Viewers of
the telecast were invited to call a number, also shown on the screen, and
"join in" the chorus in any improvisatory way they chose. These
contributions were broadcast live, but were also captured as digital audio.
A MAX patch then used these recording as material to build an
ever-expanding and quasi-random bed of voices placed into the entire sonic
environment. Less successfully, an IRC chat was also setup inviting
responses to the piece as it progressed (this was a 90-minute broadcast).
This form of spontaneous, improvisatory telematic participation seemed to
make some sense -- and it was important, of course, that those
participating from a distance were also "audience", were watching and
listening to the evolving piece even as it contained their own
This piece was satellitecast in 1992. A number of other commissions
included work by Pauline Oliveros and Ione, and Guillermo Gomez-Pena.
R i c h a r d P o v a l l
Assoc. Prof of Computer Music and New Media
MPO Box 0332 TIMARA/Studio 5
Oberlin, OH 44074-0332 USA Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Voice: +1.216.775.1016 Oberlin College
Fax: +1.216.775.8942 Oberlin, OH 44074 USA
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