In the project "realtime" artists in three different studios play music together. The physical studio-space is broken up in its dimension. The musicians stage a performance in three different locations bridging the distances with a network of electronic space.
Three architecturally identical studio centres of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) in Innsbruck, Linz and Graz, linked together by a dense network structure of video, audio and data links, were taken over for use as a common work site for an interactive "live" project for television and radio; a unified, simultaneous performance by artists at all three centres. Electronic space as avirtual stage for real-time interaction between the artists - a telematic, simultaneous event.
Simultaneously cast live on radio and television (Kunstradio Live, "RoundMidnight"). As a further development of previous telematic, simultaneous projects, particularly TRANSIT's "Chip Radio" of 1992 (see Prix Ars Electronica 93), the performance was to be staged for television as well as radio this time, toinclude the TV viewer as well as the radio listener.
The clash between the different media qualities presented a laboratory setting suitable for studying cultural techniques for a networked society - a test case for the communicative potential of the mass media.
The emphasis for the more than six month long planning phase was the search forstrategies which connect the diametrically opposed demands of the linear one-way media (above all, TV), with the natural laws governing open communications systems, the essential task, being to compose the image out of the network, to go beyond a mere TV documentary of the event itself.
The chosen plan was based on considerable independence between the image and sound layers. The two channels for radio (L-R) and the single channel for television made up a common 3-channel projection surface for the acoustic interpretation of spatial constellations (real spaces - telematic spaces).
Accordingly, the listeners / viewers were called on to use both radio and television together, if possible, in order to take advantage of this extended reception situation. For the visualisation of the interaction and production processes between performers gathered together in far-flung places, custom body interlaces and robots were developed and built. The possibility of being immediately tele-present in any other place, to be able to take part in the events taking place there, is determined by the choice of the technology used. However, the different versions arising from this working method (i. e. the live setting in the studio, radio, TV, radio + TV) are not merely sub-plots of the event, but are all to be seen as fully valid in accordance with the structural pluralism of networked activity.
Three days were available for setting up the real spaces (the foyers of the three regional studio centres) and the common virtual network spaces.
While TV technicians under Michael Kreihsl's direction were busy co-ordinating the 12 camera positions and lighting in the three locations, sound technicians were helping Andres Bosshard carry out the acoustic tuning, positioning the microphones and loudspeakers according to meticulous plans they had drawn up earlier via intercom. At the same time, Horst Hörtner, Martin Schiter and myself, were integrating the entire interactive layer for body interfaces and robots into the network structure between the studios. We worked almost around the clock for three days and were all constantly connected by means of these networks.
We could see and hear each other all the time, the computers were networked, and software was exchanged via modem, and developed further. The result was a unique "laboratory situation" for us. None of us had ever spent such a long time in almost continuous immersion in a virtual space of such immediate tele-presence before.
HW: PC, Macintosh, Atari, Custom Interfaces (Data Gloves, Robot Instruments)
SW: Mostly Artist's Proprietary