online video

Creators Project in San Francisco

Last weekend the Creator's Project garnered significant attention from national media.  From the mission statement on the website "The Creators Project is a global celebration of art and technology." and "The Creators Project is a new kind of arts and culture channel for a new kind of world."   As an intersection between art and tech it seems appropriate that the blog weigh in and take a look at what they did, how they did it, and the implications.  The Creator's Project has major sponsorship from Intel Corp and VICE with significant online free content focusing on mostly short form interview of Creator associated artists.  This Project offers similar promise to other ventures to offering culture and arts online to ideas such as On The Boards TV and Jacob's Pillow Virtual Pillow but is already operating on a much larger scale than either of these.

The Creators Project offers arts and culture online at a scale that is extraordinary for such a young institution.  The levels of participation on information sharing that is happening through their website looks unparalleled and should be looked towards as a model for successful integration of technology and the arts.   The Creators Project was started in May of 2010 by VICE and seems to have two major interfaces with the public.  There is a exhibit/show that has toured around the world each year and an expanding web presence that now counts video downloads in the millions.  The content is broken out into six different categories:  Music, Film, Art, Design, Gaming, and Fashion and has engaged with artists from all of these areas to provide content online and for the annual festival.  They will be rolling out content collected from the event last weekend (March 17-19, 2012) in the coming weeks.

Current content on the website is a mind blowing array of new directions taken by artists in each of the fields.  One of the standout artists at the event last weekend was a new work from visual multidisciplinary artist Chris Milk.  The installation called the Treachery of Sanctuary incorporated user interaction with digital transformation to look at elements of flight.  Visuals of this can be found here.

Anther fascinating example that was found on the Creator's Project website was the Electronic Shadow from France.  Electronic Shadow uses imaging technology and software to generate interactive 3D maps of people places and objects.  These images then can be used and manipulated in artistic fashions.  The implication for this technology would, for instance, be a game changing one for other art forms such as dance.

Exchange of ideas such as Creator's Project bring together the bleeding edge of Technology and the Arts and as such should be a point of engagement for institutions that are looking to modernize and include new audiences (and younger audiences).  The artists involved have obviously successfully engaged these audiences already and by following the lead of these success stories arts leaders at more conventional organizations can find hope in a new direction in reshaping structure and content to address the demands of a more complex world.





Performing Arts Legacies Online

Recently the Merce Cunningham Dance Company shut down following the death of Merce Cunningham.  The action taken by the founder are somewhat unique in the world of the arts and there have been observations of what this means.  Meanwhile the content of the Merce Cunningham Company, at least in part can still be found online through various video projects and the archive left by the company through the Living Legacy Plan and maintained by the Merce Cunningham Trust.  The continued availability of this content is carrying on the legacy in the true spirit of its founder who frequently wrote of the transitory nature of his performance and was a student of Buddhist philosophy.

Further performances have resided online for years through projects like On The Boards TV which is currently celebrating its two year anniversary with a sale of online content.  The content can be accessed through one time rental, purchase, and through subscription and is high quality, having been shot on 4-5 hi-definition cameras.  Through content providers like On The Boards TV  and do it yourself online venues such as YouTube and Vimeo the amount of online performing arts content has grown significantly.  Artists are gradually recognizing that real content online is critical for accessing new audiences and maximizing market penetration.

Innovation in the field of dance and theater can go deeper than this.   Critics have noticed a trend at fringe festivals of micro-performances and intimate theater.    While artists seem to be taking advantage of physical spaces for the time being, the possibilities for using digital spaces are increasing everyday.  The idea of doing live performances online has certainly received attention.  The growth of services such as Skype make interfacing virtually and therefore using these same services as a performance venue more likely every year.


SOPA and PIPA - Fighting online piracy or stopping innovation? Open source alternatives to common utilities.

This Wednesday, 1/18/2012, WikipediaReddit , and Boing Boing will go dark in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act that is being considered in US House and the Protect Intellectual Property Act in the US Senate.  These protesters are asking for the US public to call or write to their elected officials regarding the proposed legislation.   Bloggers in this forum have taken a stance against limiting open source and net neutrality in the past and these two bills pose no less of a threat to the innovative culture that is open source.

Although there has been a healthy open source community for decades, legislation like SOPA or PIPA would exclude open source software opportunities to developers in the US if passed.  These bills would essentially lock down portions of the internet to users in the US by creating a federally kept blacklist of internet sites that internet service providers would in turn prevent from being served to their US customers.  This would prevent the US public from accessing the steady stream of free content from the open source community that has been continuously redefining the online world for decades.

Open source has been the frontier of technological innovation for decades and by passing this legislation the US Congress will simply ensure that the next Facebook, Google, or Amazon simply never get off the ground from US soil.  In celebration of Open Source a list has been compiled with some great open source alternatives to common commercial software packages that can be downloaded for free:

1)  OpenOffice:  Similar functionality to MS Suite with modules for word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentation and drawing

2) Dia:  Produces charts and flowcharts like MS Visio.

3) WordPress and Joomla:  WYSIWYG web page builders that compare favorably with aspects of Adobe Dreamweaver.

4)  An image editing program with much of the some of the same functionalityof Photoshop.

5) Pidgin:  A messaging aggregator, useful in communicating with all the disparate messaging programs out there.

*) Foxit:  A pdf reader that won't bog down your system and won't update every six hours like Adobe Acrobat does.


Is it time to adopt 3D?

Today 3D cameras that deliver a professional grade product can now be bought for as low as $1,500. Most new TVs sold today are 3D ready. Game consoles and playback devices are also 3D enabled.  Is 3D a fad or is it a trend?  We can only speculate, but the fact of the matter is that this technology is now becoming affordable for individual artists and arts organizations.  So is it time for you to start recording in 3D?  Here are some advantages and issues to consider before taking the leap.

1)  Market penetration is reaching a critical mass.  3D enabled devices now dominate the market and are poised to become a standard feature of home entertainment. 2)  The cost of buying 3D enabled devices has gone down.  TVs, playback devices (game consoles, dvr devices, etc), and cameras are more affordable than ever. 3)  3D Tech is now making strides into mobile devices with Nintendo, Google, and Motorola notably making devices and content for 3D mobile. 4)  The tech offers solutions to art forms that heretofor were previously poorly served by older 2D imaging technology (aka dance and opera)


1)  3D on film has been linked to nausea and headaches and even in video there have been questions about eye strain although these problems only seem to afflict a small portion of audience members.  Evidently the trick is to not focus on out of focus images on the screen if you suffer from these problems. 2)  It will be a couple more years before the majority of TV’s and Mobile devices can run 3D  content.  As with any technology there is only a point to which it will grow as people are reluctant to buy a 3D enabled HD TV (or playback device) a year after they shelled out for a new HD TV set. 3)  There is the possibility that another breakthrough will be made in imaging that will make current imaging technology obsolete.  For now, however, the long-term outlook seems to be favoring the current technology’s dominance for the next 6-8 years. 4) You still need those pesky glasses (for now at least).

One could argue that 3D still has a ways to go.  The cutting edge of the field however offers the potential for much much more spectacular devices.  Now that it is becoming fiscally accessible some artists and organizations have waded in and started experimenting but the potential remains largely untapped. Whatever happens, it will pay to keep a watch on this technology

10 Takeaways From the 2011 Emerging Practice Seminar

CultureLab, a partnership between an informal consortium of arts consultants and the Cultural Policy Center (CPC) at the University of Chicago, recently held an 'Emerging Practice Seminar' in April. The organization was formed to break down the silos of research, policy and practice, and create a new capacity and approach to tackling challenging issues. The topics at this year's seminar were:

  • Uses of technology in audience engagement
  • Revenue management and dynamic pricing

The seminar's website features all of the speakers' presentations (both videos and slides) and is an extremely helpful resource!

Here were my top 10 takeaways from the 'Use of Technology in Audience Engagement' portion of the seminar.

1. Embrace technological innovation, there's nothing to fear! Tim Roberts of ARTS Australia provided an introduction to the day's topics. Tim's introduction called attention to the unfortunate fact that any arts managers and organizations still view technology as something they are fighting against. He quoted NEA chairmen Rocco Landsman as saying "the arts are battling the technology invasion". Roberts argues that many also believed cable television to be the death of television and photography to be the death of painting and that technical innovation has not caused the death of an artform but has contributed to its spread and created new audiences.

Uses of Technology in Audience Engagement - Tim Roberts from Cultural Policy Center on Vimeo.

2. Engagement is an ongoing process: Technology is least effective when it's not used in a proper context of engagement. This process of engagement often begins prior to the audience coming through the doors. Likewise, the process shouldn't end after the performance or visit ends. Technology can help to provide context to a piece of art or performance, personalize the experience and even augment the experience. There are many options when it comes to sustaining a deeper level of audience engagement.

3. Layered Arts Experiences are cool! This type of technology has been extremely underutilized in the performing arts sector. Layered Arts Experiences offer audiences options for real-time assistance imperative during arts programs. They can come in the form of supertitles for opera and dance performances. The Columbus Symphony Orchestra had a device called the 'Concert Companion' which enabled patrons to read something about the piece they were hearing as they listened to the concert.

4. Museums continue to lead the way when it comes to adapting technology: Another common theme during the seminar was the overwhelming lack of technological innovation in performing arts organizations. Even though there were examples of organizations using layered arts experience tools and mobile interactions, it seemed as though they were few and far between and many had even stopped using these tools.

5. The verdict is still out on Tweet Seats: A 'Tweet Seat' is simply a seat reserved in a theater for Twitter users. Tweet Seats have many benefits, including: encouraging a younger audience demographic to get involved in the performance, having this demographic spread the word about the performance to their Twitter followers, and cutting down on distracting other audience members by blocking off a section for Twitter users. The question, however, remains whether or not people can truly become immersed in a performance if they are multi-tasking with other technological devices.

6. Mobile Interaction isn't just limited to QR Codes in Museums Ron Evans of Group of Minds had some great ideas about ways to engage audiences via mobile devices. Evans suggested placing a QR Code on tickets for previews of the show. Evans also suggested distributing digital keepsakes after shows. He also discussed the importance of using these mobile technologies in the proper context of audience engagement. Unfortunately, most technology has focused on the pre-performance and pre-sale with the sole intention of making the sale and increasing attendance. Engaging audiences should also involve increasing their understanding and appreciation of an artform. The 'during' and 'after' is just as important to leading people to the next experience.

Mobile Interaction: adding content and context - Ron Evans from Cultural Policy Center on Vimeo.

7. Location Based Servies has a long way to go: Devon Smith presented the findings of a research study she conducted on arts organizations using location based services. Location Based Service is simply a service that uses the geographical position of a mobile device (Foursquare, Yelp, Google Maps). Applications like Foursquare can be useful in providing real-time analytics on the demographic of those who are "checking in" to a venue. Smith's study found that only 36% of the 76 nonprofit theatres she tracked, had properly claimed their venues on Foursquare, yet 97% of the venues had a mayor. Even though claimed venues had 3% more activity, the real-time analytic information could be very useful to any organization.

8. Blogging Isn't Dead!: Thomas Wickell of Malmo Opera shared one of the most interesting case studies of the day. Wickell emphasized the importance of viewing the stage from the audience's perspective as opposed to looking out at the audience from the stage. With this key distinction in mind, Wickell and his team found that the audience they wanted to attract was not responsive to traditional channels of advertisement (newspapers, television, etc). Since most of their target audience were highly engaged online, the team created a blog that was centered around the life of a character in an upcoming opera. The blog became so popular, at one point in time, traffic to the blog surpassed that of the company's main website! The staff even invited readers to a ceremony for the character (since she does not survive) and over 100 people came to pay tribute to her life. The blog can still be found here!

9. Technological Innovation Often Requires a Culture Change Within an Organization : Linda Garrison and Thomas Weitz at Steppenwolf Theatre gave an overview of helpful practices for creating video content. An important theme during this presentation was the importance of finding allies when seeking to implement any changes. Whether designing a new video campaign or placing QR codes on marketing material, implementing new technology can often mean a culture change within an organization. Finding out who your champions, advocates and contributors are beforehand can make a world of difference when proposing any sort of change. It's also well worth your time to watch the Steppenwolf videos here.

10. Know Your Target! The Steppenwolf and Malmo case studies highlighted the importance of understanding who the target audience is prior to implementing any of the strategies and tools listed above. Steppenwolf researched and found their audience tended to be highly educated, comfortable with direct marketing and confined to a very specific geographic location. As a result, Steppenwolf decided that an online video campaign could be effective in engaging their audience. The Malmo Opera worked backward and began by envisioning what type of audience they wanted to attract. Either way, this process is extremely effective when the target audience is clearly defined.

Aluminum Foil Stage Curtains & Other Oddities

While cruising the net, trying to find the latest and greatest when it comes to arts management and technology, I tend to run across some pretty strange things. They often don't fit into the realm of the arts management focus of our blog, but dang it, they're just too awesome to keep to myself: I

The most stunning stage curtain, ever.

Artist Pae White has created for the Oslo Opera House what could arguably be the craziest main stage curtain to ever grace a stage. White scanned a piece of crumpled aluminum foil and then used a computer aided loom to weave the curtain out of different colors of cotton, wool and polyester. When standing up close, one can see the individual threads, but stand even just a few feet back and well.....well, just look at the picture below:

Image via

I went to Barcelona, and all I got was this crappy mini replica of myself.

BlablabLAB's Be Your Own Souvenir is a far cry from some of the cheap junk that you'll find at most souvenir shops. The group hacked a few Kinects, and with the aid of a 3-D printer, gave tourists on Barcelona's La Rambla Street the chance to scan themselves and create their own miniture statuettes. Check out the video below to see some of the results:


Theater? We don't need no stinkin' theater!

Ok ok, I'm sure that was not the sentiment that Urbanscreen had when they set out to make WHAT IS UP?, a virtual site-specific theater piece. The piece is a pre-recorded performance, projected onto the wall of a typical dutch dwelling house in Enschede, Netherland. What makes this a projection a site specific piece, also called Lumentecture, is that the projection perfectly lines up with the architecture of the building. Using this technique, Urbanscreen creates an optical illusion of the building's walls giving way to a hidden theater within. Watch the trailer below to get the full effect:

Arts and Technology Round-up: Museums and the Web Edition

Happy Friday everyone! For this arts and technology round-up we decided to try and hone in on a few of the awesome projects that we saw at the Museums and the Web conference last week. Up first are our picks of some of the best and most innovative projects. After that, the winners of the Best of the Web 2011 awards from the conference.

Technology In The Arts Picks

Zooniverse - This group marries together the researching needs of the scientific/historical communities and the power of crowdsourcing. By creating a series of interactive web portals, Zooniverse creates communities of "Citizen Scientists".

PhilaHistory - Philly based GIS firm Azavea worked with the City of Philadelphia to create a platform for linking historical photos of the city to their real world locations using geo-location and augmented reality.

One To One with the Artist: Ai Weiwei - A simple idea with a great effect, this project from the Tate allowed museum visitors to record and upload a video in the gallery and have a video dialogue with the artist Ai Weiwei.

The WALL - The Museum of Copenhagen's giant multi-touch multimedia screen installed in one of the central squares of Copenhagen.

ARTfinder - A new recommendation engine for artwork, this site works very much like, taking your current interests and using them to introduce you to new works.

The Collective - Sounding a little bit like a bad 50's sci-fi flick, The Collective is the Denver Art Museum's interactive website/online programming space and a new way of connecting and bringing in the Denver community.

MoMA Learn - An extremely in-depth arts education web portal, the Museum of Modern Art's education department went all out on this one.

ARtours - The Stedelijk Museum's innovative augmented reality program.

The Best of the Web 2011

Education & Best Overall: The ACMI Generator

Mobile: The AB EX NY iPad app

Innovative: Nationnaal Historisch Museum / Museum of National History

Museum Professional & People's Choice: Smithsonian Web and New Media Strategy Wiki


Research/Online Collection: Portable Antiquities Scheme

Audio/Visual/Podcast: Access All Areas podcast

Project by a Small Institution: ASI: Archaeology Scene Investigations in North County Louth

The Coming of the Mininar! (Mini + Webinar)

Technology in the Arts is proud to announce that we are starting a series of "mini-nars", short videos that tell you not only the basics on new tech trends, but also how to actually implement them yourself! Hear more about mini-nars here:

Mininar Preview from Technology in the Arts on Vimeo.

The first mini-nar will be released soon with info on what the heck a QR code is, how to make one, and how to track one. With screenshots! And costumes. Get excited.

We are looking for ideas for future mini-nars! If you have an idea for a subject that we could cover in about 5-10 minutes, please comment below or suggest one any time via Facebook or Twitter.

Fill in the ________: A New, Social Entertainment Website

myspace-logo-225MySpace, the original social networking site, has relaunched and re-branded itself as My_______ ,the world's first “Social entertainment” website.  The purpose of the website has shifted from a social networking site motivated by the slogan “a place for friends” to a site intent on “becoming the leading entertainment destination that is socially powered by the passions of fans and curators.” Essentially, the new My_______ focuses less on people and more on media and digital content sharing. The sleek new site combines the most popular features of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Youtube into a single media focused platform. Users can now follow artists and organizations on topic pages, similar to Facebook fan pages, while receiving real time updates on the music, videos and content being heard, viewed, or uploaded by them (very reminiscent of Twitter).

In this way, members will be able to see what music their favorite opera company is listening to as well as what they are posting. Users will be shown the media that their friends are consuming, not just the media that their friends and topics are posting. It opens a new opportunity for media recommendations, community building, viral marketing, and content sharing.

These updates appear on the new homepage now referred to as the dashboard which can be viewed in three modes: list, grid, or full screen.

The list mode looks almost exactly like a Facebook news feed.  The grid view integrates watchable videos, playable songs, pictures, and micro-blogs in a chronological collage of media tiles, and the full screen mode allows users to experience their media updates in an interface similar to iTunes coverflow.

Picture 3

My_______ has combined multiple features from across the web  that have never been offered in tandem before - creating a unique media viewing and sharing experience.  Some of the other new features include: interactive games, karaoke (Opera?), free music playlists creation (competing with Pandora?), and media trending.

The new interface and combination of features could prove very useful to cultural institutions and arts managers if the user base is willing to readopt a floundering platform.

The largest obstacle for the new My______ is the old MySpace.  The relaunch comes after one of the worst years in the company's history.  MySpace lost 50% of its user base between 2009 and 2010, a critical hit for the organization and a terrible loss for its functional use as a communications tool and social network.  The new My________ is much more in line with Internet usage interests and behaviors of Millenials, but it is not yet clear if they will return to the site.

Connect with FacebookIn order to make the transition smoother and help regain customers, My______ has paired with Facebook to create what they are calling a mashup, in which My_______ takes all of a user’s profile information, friends, and likes from Facebook and imports them into a My_______ page; making the process of setting up a new functioning account much quicker and helping users grasp the changes and full functionality of the site much faster.  This partnership bodes well for My_______ and provides a clear focus away from social networking and onto new media and digital content sharing.

For arts organizations and non-profits that are currently tweeting links to content on Twitter, uploading videos to YouTube, and sharing pictures and events on Facebook, the new My_______ offers a single platform that will combine all three. A one-stop shop for all of your social entertainment and digital media needs. The ability for pictures and videos to appear directly in a news feed like Twitter but with a usable interface like Facebook is very desirable and something that I believe has huge potential.  Pairing the interface with the content and media focus allows for a more streamlined experience that is not diluted by the social aspect of Facebook and Twitter.  The New My_______ is definitely trying to steer away from content that does not surround music, media or artists in some way.

The ability to create opera karaoke, post audio excerpts from a concert, or share video from a stage production or event that are instantly previewable and clickable in a media focused feed that is more graphic than Twitter, less convoluted than a YouTube subscription, and easier to deliver than Facebook is very enticing.  If users begin to adopt the new My_______, it seems only natural for organizations to follow. Only time will tell if this snazzy new facelift will take off, but the potential is definitely real.

NAMP 2010 - Day Three - Chip Conley and Providing the Peak Arts Experience

To conclude the 2010 National Arts Marketing Project Conference, Chip Conley delivered an inspired closing plenary to encourage arts organizations to provide "peak" experiences based upon their audience's hierarchy of needs. Conley is the author of Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow, an arts lover, as as the founder and CEO of the Joie de Vivre Hospitality. In his address, Conley shares his unique prescription for success based upon Maslow's classic Hierarchy of Needs. Conley illustrates how audiences are ultimately motivated by peak experiences and discusses how arts organizations can give those experiences to their audiences. Americans for the Arts streamed Conley's presentation live via Livestream. The recorded version is embedded below. (Skip to the 16 minute point to get to Conley's presentation.)