cyberspace echtzeit-20sec webcasting
DIE KOSTBAREN KURZEN MOMENTE DER ECHTZEIT & WIE HEILIG SIE SIND
Station Rose/STR startete mit dem projekt webcasting „www.stationrose.com“ im zuge der ausstellung „crossLinks“ in berlin im januar 99. nach dieser webcast-active woche (no.1-6) mit live mixing von soundz & visuals sowie dem ersten „STR im gespräch“ wurde das studio in frankfurt zum ort des „echtzeit-geschehens“. von frankfurt in den cyberspace senden auf regelmäßiger basis ist die updateversion der öffentlichen station rose in wien 88-91.
echtzeit – 20sec. ist der zeitbegriff (20 sec. dauert es, bis das encodete webcastmaterial im internet verfügbar ist)
Station Rose - the manifestion of webcasting, in our own words.
(originally published in Kunstforum 151, 2000)
cyberspace in realtime-20sec webcasting
the precious short moments of realtime & how holy they are.
Station Rose/STR started the webcasting project during the 1999 Berlin exhibiton <crossLinks>. Following that very active week of webcasting, the Frankfurt studio became the location for the <Echtzeit happenings>.
Webcasting from Frankfurt into cyberspace on a regular basis is the updated version of the public Station Rose (Vienna 88-91).
Realtime-20sec. is the concept of time. It takes 20sec. to have the encoded material available on the web. Live@home is the place. Cyberspace is our land. STR streams on and on, going further & further.
Topics are: Multimedia Jam Sessions, MIDIlive, STR in conversation, Nature is cool, STR_Digital Archive,Webcast Marathons, Gunafa Clubbings & Performances.
Webcasting is one of the crucial points of STR in LAH (Life After History), more at home, and less on the road. Synchronized audio- & videocasting straight into the net is made possible through webcasting, this formerly restricted to TV and radio stations. STR plays animations, soundz, slams text messages during the webcast sessions LIVE. Those realtime-compositions are the artistic output of STR as hypermedia band, initiated in 1988 as the 1st open multimedia-lab in Vienna, put to the test live with GunafaClubbing since 1992, and now refined as well as radicalized with webcasting. Even MIDI-triggered multimedia compositions are being cast straight out of the STR studio, right at the moment of their creation. Acoustic & visual information (samples from the permanently expanding STR archive) are, via sequencer and sampler, woven into fluid realtime art.
The isolation of the multimedia studio, needed for artistic creation, is morphed from time to time into a webcast situation, which opens virtual rooms, glimpses into sound & animation rooms, as well as into the studio itself via connected cameras. The mastery of the technique to produce hypermedia art is fundamental. STR webcasts over a specially configured encoder as well as the <Gunafa Server>, without being dependent on large teams.
The <acting in front and behind the cameras>is a special challenge. The encoder being placed in the studio theoretically & practically offers the possibility to webcast at any given time. The amount of shows has levelled out to 2 times a week, but can be raised, changed or even lowered if need be. The webcast style - only being created while doing it - is clearly visible & audible. A continuity of webcasts is seen as important to STR.
Realtime as the ultimate zeitbegriff & the playing in it & with it.
Topic: The new Zeitbegriff is formed on the way to, and inside of realtime. It is strengthened and destroyed, morphed and updated. Fluid cyberspace is tough in the sense of calling for data, change, speed, updates. In the ideal case it flows into realtime.
The fleetingness of hypermedia art is especially becoming visible in forms like performance and webcasting. In realtime art, time continuities and breaks are born through slow motion, fades and wipes, zooms, flips, reviews, fast forward, flashbacks, stills, freezing, feedback as well as repetitions and time stretching = spanning and morphing. The frequency stands for the ultimate unit of tempo, exaggeration, the ultimate flow of tempo. But also the moment of repetitions a la Teletubbies, and even non-action, is given its place in webcasting.
Important:// can there be talk of infinity and/or finiteness of realtime? Will there one day be an infinty of realtime ? Can we assume that digital images and soundz are durable, assume their supposed infinity based on their binary structure & immateriality ?
The past is experiencing its update in realtime. Repetitions are important as a phase of reminiscence, for realtime artists as well as for the audience. One thing not given in realtime_art is a <preview>. Preview belongs to the field of post production, and hence has a closer relation to the early past than realtime, where the jump into the fluid material must be.
Synchronized jamming with soundz & visuals is given special emphasis. Also the speed of images versus hi-res layout design is a main theme here. Variation jumps into the position of layout. Layout is (almost) obsolete with webcasting, because the framework moves into the background. Layout comes into play only for what is around STReaming art, meaning: websites, flyers, posters, covers, logos, which are altogether important on the product level. There are no phases of testing for webcasts, because no preview is possible. In the moment of realtime there must be action. Power as well as mistakes are immediately visible and audible, new mistakes and unexpected results appear through encoding and transmitting.
History as topic: The past is updated during realtime. When feeling a loss of our roots, STR brings in amiga grafix, originally generated between 87-97 - especially february 92-may 96 - and native Sixties soundz, which are integrated into an updated version. They become part of a new creation this way.
LAH/Life After History was created as a term by STR during the production of the book <1st decade="">. This term stands for timelessness and realtime, as well as for non-stories.
The room, the studio, cannot be entered from the street, and minimal Real Life/RL distraction. This is the neuro-mantic aspect of home, defined by using various benchmark figures. The neuromantic artistic couple changes the field of activity in seconds. The artist is object, subject, conceptualist, performer & technician at the same time. The MIDI connection of the workstations in the hypermedia studio move to the next level via the encoder and the net. Exposure is given through the<live-situation>.
Exhibitionism in cyberspace. The neuromantic aspect gives the intimacy needed for exposure. There are interactions between STR and the cameras: posing, contacting, being watched only during acting and working, making announcements, operating the mixers, slamming text samples. This performing artist <aktionismus> and<anti-aktionismus> is of an ambient kind. The webcam window as plug-in in the studio. Exhibitionism in cyberspace with the filter of being digital and streamed through the net is an important artistic moment. The opening and closing of the STReam of information has to be finely adjusted. The change between action + ambient installation is elementary in realtime_art. The mixers, cameras, animations, morphs and soundz play together.
Monologues are not wanted. Instead, conversations are more exiting, alternated with pure jam sessions. Attention is not principally given to the word. Its precise sound is a must. With text, sound counts as much as content.
Longer breaks between STR in conversation and jam sessions are needed. In between <Nature is Cool> sessions appear as the best possible ambient setting, these during summertime in the version <indoor=outdoor>, with camera close ups of plants i.e. Der Kuenstler als Gaertner.
Another reason for the STR studio to be neuromantic is that it includes hi+lo tech. It is not sterile, it is confronted with permanent improvement and change. There is no waiting for the optimal technical equipment for webcasting. <Waiting is the enemy of realtime>. No matter if something is missing, which could be seen as a mistake, webcasting has to happen. According to Professor Weizenbaum of, every action to correct a failure creates a series of new failures anyway. Meaning, if some hard- or software is updated in the studio, in surge for a better situation, new bugs are sure to occur, which will lead to changes of realtime moments. Everything is in the flow. This is why each moment is what it is, correct in the process. Even old equipment like VHS cameras or analogue synthesizers get a chance to make a contribution to the whole (picture).
The STR studio becomes a Webcast studio for some hours per week. The neuromantic situation is suitable for webcasting. Being in realtime is like a bath. This is why for us as artists the wish for duration, the wish to stay is always as big as the way to it is long.
Ambient situation at home - in front of and behind the cameras.
There are different approaches. The studio is online, using 2-3 camera positions, while the camera installations are more or less fixed. Since STR performs in front of the cameras as well as produces on the workstations simultaneously, only subtle changes like zooms operated through remote control are possible, but not multiple pan shots or other movements. When guests are invited, one of them might operate one of the cameras, which creates an additional camera style. This way extra movement comes in. Playing with cameras is a new field at STR, and even includes cameras taking shots of other cameras. Using the video mixer, constantly new native realtime images are created out of all the inputs like cameras, computer animations, video sequences and effects. Static and wild camera movements generate different aesthetics. A camera can become the main player and move to the foreground, getting all the attention exclusively, pushing away animations & morphs. The person behind the camera may move in front of it, which almost never happens in televison broadcasts, where there is a strict line between the front figure and the technicians. This separation becomes obsolete in an STR webcast. Fixed ambient shots for example are: 1-2 cameras adjusted specially for the webcast > movements by STR indoors or a panorama view outdoors :// those ambient shots create something like a <doku-soap of a web-life>. Seemingly unobserved acting creates room for voyeurism. Although one opens a window, one does not react to that directly. During ambient shots even details seen through the optics of a camera get a special meaning. They always go back to an intentional selection. This way <macro regions/segments> might move (shift) into the center of the anti-action. Macros can be keyboard, control knobs, segments of a wall, a leaf of a plant. An exaggerated play with a camera would come really close to the objective: going into cyberspace, even with eyes, mouth or body parts only.
The indoor/outdoor experiment switches between the inside of the studio, digital home, and the outside. STR outdoor scenes, on the 16th floor with a panoramic view over Frankfurt, stay for a transition from <Nature is Cool>, or the artist as gardener, to a metropolitan <indoor> office, studio, home. The project<playing now world tour´99> offered the opportunity to morph a performance tour on the road into home webcasts, and this way for the first time bridged the break between being on tour and in the studio.
On the Road and Gunafa Clubbing II
Webcasts in clubs are harder to put together, mainly because of the light situation. Dancers and visitors do not want to be flooded with strong analogue light, which is crucial for most cameras. Besides that, those extra light sources destroy the virtual club created at Gunafa Clubbing. The visitor stays in the dark for the benefit of the virtual space and the chance to dance. So this extra lighting destroys the sensible digital space and therefore is not wanted.
Topic:// Archiving versus + - 8 hours
The net offers the possibility of dislocated and direct access to data. Time zones lose their importance (example: time zone Germany means - 8 hours later than SF, and + 8hours to Tokyo). For webcasts this situation is given in a limited way only. The dislocation is still in effect, not so the all-time access. LIVE-webcasts are not yet files, as long as they are not recorded and uploaded, which makes them transitory and volatile, meaning that if a webcast is not recorded and converted into a file, it disappears out of cyberspace with the end of the cast. Archiving and making files would mean for the artist : working with a larger team and with/in the past, needing larger budgets and having to expand in general. But multi/hypermedia itself demands all the time for the realtime output. So this time cannot be sacrificed for archiving. Even interactivity must still step back for the benefit of speed and the STReaming. Only after prudish academism regarding interactivity is overcome, will it really get interesting. CuSeeMe session, started by STR in 95 , could be thought of again here. Webcasting is not a service affair, but a new performance art in cyberspace. This is why the laws of live-acting and performance count.
Art production, originating out of realtime
After the streamed material has - this only in case it has been recorded - developped a slight patina (of some days or months), videos, prints, lightboxes, multiples, installations, vinyls, CDs, CD-ROMS are created out of sequences. Realtime art is confronted with the very own speed of the market. But, to position oneself as multimedia artists means to talk about two markets, the one of art and the one of music.
INSERT MUSIC: by Gary Danner
In his/her studio enclave, the composer of electronic dance music has to be so far ahead of the times, that, when his/her product hits the shops 3-6 months later, the music recorded and conceived back then now matches exactly the zeitgeist of the buyer.
Which means: the composer is in a time structure of his/her own during the creative process.
Webcasting makes it possible to convey this structure live and in realtime (without delay). In contrast to a live concert, where the Techno musician normally works with prefabricated samples and sequences, Webcasting allows the musician to compose a new piece on the fly, the process being streamed to the Net simultaneously.
On a more materialistic level, this individual feeling of time of the composer, his/her "being ahead of time", is subdivided into different timespheres track by track.
For example, a song in itself might be tied to 126 beats per minutes on the time scale. The sequencer again divides the time scale into the chosen quantifications, which are passed on to the sound devices connected over MIDI.
These samplers, synthesizers and drum machines have, depending on their compexity, internal time scales of their own (arpeggiators, internal 16 step sequencers, looping functions, timestretching).
The dominant time scale of the master sequencer can be infiltrated and subverted by that. Common examples are layers of loops with different metrics, like 4/4 with 7/8 in Techno, or straight and "unclean" speed doublings of drum loops in Drum´n´Bass.
Similar to the freezing of images, slow motion and fade-out in films, the continuity of a track can be interrupted through breaks, the reversing of samples etc. on top of that, thus unexpectedly confusing the listener´s sense of time.
An especially interesting aspect of (MIDI) performances & webcasting is their fluidness & Prozesshaftigkeit. Working with digital ornaments still stands out, as well as frequencies, flickering, distortion, and now -<antidistortion>. The figurative aspect is a new element in the art of Station Rose, and was added only through webcasting, through the use of cameras. What interests me today is what comes after the fragmentation and dispersion of visual information. Will there be multimedia melodies, in a way that could never be listened to or seen yet? In cooperation with a musician, MIDI is the ultimate tool for synchronization. It offers unbelievable possibilities. Distorted pictures have already been used in commercials, and have therefore lost most of their appeal. It is basic to me now not to include too many samples into a composition, but to play with them in time, using morphs, stretching, freezing. Frequencies and digital ecstasy are in my focus, level for level.<It> has to flicker. The perfect adjustment, and if necessary, changes of tempo of the animations are in the foreground. Over and over again I decide in favor of frequencies instead of size and resolution of pictures.
://how long can a level of high digital ecstasy be held in our realtime session?
Facts: when performing live it is 20-50min. With webcasts it is 60min. During webcast marathons & Gunafa Clubbing there are calmer phases in between action. It is an up and down of the intensity of data. 30-40 min.is the optimum <old time-calculation> for a session without a break. Live performances are not predictable situations, where nevertheless during a process I focus the attention on certain points in a quantum process. Nevertheless it can happen that a special sort of prepared webcast can look stranger to us than a start-up sequence with <an empty sequence>.
Verbal statements have recently become a chapter of their own in the art of STR. Those are samples of announcements, or slogans, with an emphasis on repetition. I perfectly adjust the voice, effects included. It is a kind of <calling into cyberspace>. The voice as one more digitized/encoded instrument in a large network is an element of its own. It is also about the alienation of the <human material> to native, new samples.
://how long can a sample be considered <fresh>, how long do we want to work with it?
How much time do we have when meeting halfway, after having created soundz and visuals separately & parallel, to finally unite in one jam. Throwing around with, and morphing the new (im)material in realtime, it is always a race against time.
<on the edge> extreme situations of Echtzeit & Webcasting:
Starting with a <blank note sheet>, meaning having not prepared any soundz & visuals at the start of the webcast. The progress of the new <multimedia composition> happens in cyberspace in realtime.
Creating a (semi)analogue track in the moment of the webcast. Example: Vocals & text, sequencer & bass, analogue and digital all mix in the encoder directly.
A webcast marathon. Question here is, how long are we able to play LIVE ?
*template 04: contrast
Long setup time for a huge MIDI-realtime-performance (incl.4-8 screens),up to 2 days, in which the created virtual space comes to an end after a performance, that is 20-40 min later. The transitoriness of the installation seems to be extreme.
REALTIME IS AN EXPERIMENT.
* Hanging out in realtime is a credit system.
* Just linger and/or record the session is always the question.
* Webcasting is still small and trashy, but it is flowing, dislocated.
* The (im)material never becomes hardened.
* Freeform multimedia jam session it is!
* Cyberspace is Our Land !
www.stationrose.com - Webcast schedule & beyond can be found there.
text: Elisa Rose, 2000