Interactive Live Performance: Involving the Audience!
The Austrian Event Award 2015 ceremony took place at Design Center Linz, honoring Austria´s best event agencies. Netural took the occasion to demonstrate a new Netural Lab technology for innovative show events.
Developers Markus Pargfrieder and Martin Zeplichal have managed to create a link between mobile web and stage equipment, two up to now strictly separated technical universes.
During an impressive dance performance by Tanzwerk Wels, the audience was invited to use smartphones to access a very simply designed website where viewer were invited to sketch a face on the screen. The resulting individual faces appeared on the stage screen in real-time, becoming integrated part of the dance performance.
Enthusiastic participation quickly filled the screen with countless colorful dancing faces, involving the surprised audience with a substantial contribution to the show and creating a truly memorable show.
In the immediate aftermath of the event which had been organized by the agency Eventwerkstatt, Netural received first inquiries, mostly about how we managed to run the application without first installing an app. Part of the answer is the huge amount of know-how and experience gathered in the Netural Lab.
Developer Martin Zeplichal is one of the precious few Austrian specialists for the software tool required here. His long experience enables him to apply this technology in a wide variety of projects. The underlying technology – DirectX – is used in latest computer games, offering speedy development, high flexibility and reliable stability.
VVVV – the widely applicable key to success
VVVV (spoken as V four) is the framework used by the developers to control the real-time graphics, synchronizing them with the music of the dance performance. The Netural Lab built on this, creating an application with a web interface accessible by browser. All data input is forwarded to the stage equipment in real-time as an active part of the show. That said, VVVV offers wide possibilities for application in 2-D/3-D animation, multi-screen setups, motion graphics, projection mapping, data visualization, sound and physical computing.
„When designing interactive live performances, we avoid distracting the audience by app downloads, keeping thresholds low“, comments Markus Pargfrieder.
VVVV – where and when?
General answer: wherever you have to control equipment and/or need to visualize varying types of data. Potential fields of application for the related web technology are conferences, gala shows and presentations. Beyond that, think all kinds of entertainment: music, dance and theatre.
What are the chances for Netural here?
Complex media systems like interactive trade fair booths and all kinds of smart environments (real-life environments with computerized elements) offer chances for flagship projects.
Direct interactions between performing artists and their audiences are another fascinating field of application. Real-time polling and voting are really interesting options, with results visualized interactively and in real-time. Interactions between audience and stage or cooperation and competition between groups in the audience are exciting visions which Netural could make come true.
It is even possible to interactively script plays and shows, turning out a new ending with each performance. There are literally no limits to interactive staging, sophisticated storytelling provided. Markus Pargfrieder describes the focus of this innovative approach: „The audience´s contribution should add to the show in real-time without causing distractions.“
Netural Lab´s concept for VVVV application has the potential to bring new excitement to all kinds of live events, turning passive audiences into active participants and taking them to the center of the stage in the middle of the action.