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Nov 2020
Development, VJ
Unity
AR Livestream Performance x Independent Project
Out Of Sync is a mad idea, an experimental performance formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. So obviously in 2020 many artists across the world are unable to perform to audiences of more than a handful of people (at best), and those countries where audiences can gather in numbers have achieved this largely through (sensibly) strict border restrictions, meaning they are unable to invite international artists to come and play. In addition to this, the global climate crisis remains – albeit backgrounded a bit by the pandemic.

The idea is that a performer in Iceland (at the time gatherings were limited to 10 people or fewer) would live-stream to a club in Taipei, Taiwan. There, a full audience of dancing people (Taiwan had no gathering restrictions at the time) would enjoy the party. However, we had two dancers, or “eyes” inside the club, using mobile phones to provide a two-way video stream back to Reykjavik, where two people at a time would experience the party on the other side of the world inside large wooden booths specially built for the purpose.

Event Production : Uta Reichardt, René Boonekamp, Aephie Chen
AR Graphics : Owen Hindley & Yuli Levtov (Volta)
Performer : Hermigervill / Sveinbjörn Thorarensen
Camera : Yuli Levtov, Uta Reichardt
Video Editing & Titles : Owen Hindley
Now a 90 minute performance, regardless of how great the music is or colourful his onesie is, might not be the most visually interesting experience if it was a simple camera setup. Luckily, I had been working for several months with my long-suffering collaborator Yuli Levtov on an exciting new project called Volta, which aims to make it easy for performing artists to create visually engaging livestream experiences, either for 2d video streaming or in VR.

Even more luckily, the month before, we had integrated Keijiro Takahashi’s outstanding Rcam2 system into Volta’s existing visual system, allowing us to do a full AR performance using only an iPad Pro and a laptop running Unity + Touch Designer.

We’re super happy with the results, which you can watch above, and excited to see where this new medium can take us. Since then we’ve incorporated a user-facing editor into the Volta product, which you can read more about below. In addition, this same team has applied to produce several more events during 2021 to investigate alternate means of performance and audience experience – both as the world recovers from the pandemic, and as we look forwards to ways to reduce the burden of extensive travel on artists wanting to perform outside of their home countries, whilst still making it a party!

Project page : link
Volta : link
Rcam2 page : link


©
Owen Hindley 2016