The internet boom, that some thirty years ago started connecting networks of networks of digital data crunching machines, from its early days onward has inspired technologically gifted and visionary actors in the global electronic and electro-acoustic music scene to imagine ways to extend and cross-over their performance practice to the virtual. A fascinating example using the earliest available technologies for streaming audio, and again one close to my heart and personal practice, is the International Headphone Festival ‘Le Placard’, that was put on track almost twenty five years ago, in 1998, by electronic musician Erik Minkkinen. It was Erik who came up with Le Placard’s highly innovative concept, both artistically and socially, as an endless chain of global open-to-all experimental music events, using streaming audio servers to virtually connect performance spaces and listening spaces (the ‘placards’—French for ‘cupboards’) that in principle could be set up by anyone, anywhere and at any time.
The technical heart of a placard is a streaming audio server, like Icecast.
It is a fantasy, a dream of mine, to one of these days make this playing-apart-together set-up happen in a ‘round-and-round-the-world-we-go’ speculative performance, with participants not in merely two, but in all (seven or more) continents.
To extend this form of PATting into public events, it suffices to assign a PAT event-‘director’, who’ll be made responsible for the final mixing together of the different contributing audio streams. The director’s ‘final cut’ then is webcast by an n+1-th streaming audio server, now serving not the contributing performers, but their virtual concert’s audience.
Be well aware though, that this kind of musicking always will include jittering: time-lags. You cannot but play ‘out of time’. Or rather: each location has its own time. There is no such thing as ‘simultaneity’… Some lag already is inherent in the mere physical distance: a signal bridging a path like the one that separates Chuncheon and Paris—9000 kilometres as the crow flies—can not do this in less than 30 milliseconds. That’s the lower bound. That’s theory. In practice, though, the lag will be much more, and may run up to several tens of seconds. And due also to discrepancies in the buffering on different machines, it will take on different values in different places. In your playing-apart-together the streaming technology becomes a ‘creative’ actor, a crucial player, a pivot in what your audience is going to perceive.
Paris, December 2021
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The non-profit foundation Plus-X-Creative was founded in 2015 by three creatives from the Netherlands: J. Koolen (city council, banjo musician, Rotterdam), H. Kwee (photographer, Amsterdam) and X. Gottenkieny (musician & artist Rotterdam). They met during cultural events and shared the passion to perform and to spread music and art. With this foundation their main aim was to play an active and supporting role in building a platform for creative empowerment.
These are exciting but also challenging times for the creative entrepreneur. Apart from trying to keep up with the fast changing world of technology, we’ve seen the emergence of necessary initiatives such as the ‘Platform for freelance musicians’ and the ‘Fair Practice Code’. Inspired by these positive movements, we want to help stimulate the emancipation of the artist, musician, dancer, performer and many other creatives.. .
We focus on cross-border projects / platforms where different artists and media come together. We seek collaboration with organizations that work with groundbreaking (‘realtime’) software technology.. We invite musicians and artists to explore the possibilities of these platforms and to what extent it enables musicians in developing their professional practice. We challenge artists to experiment and create new work at an accessible level with innovative technology.. Now and in the future, we will be able to reach more places where music and art are less obvious.
On March the 8th we organized a special ‘Mesh it Up!’ edition at the MeshPrintClub. Besides fantastic concerts and performances given by Tinyloops & Monster 3D Incubator and Kanipchen Fit we also had a T-shirt competition! First prize shared winners were Margriet Killian and Juninho Wouter! The designs were printed by Eden Simhony.
There are no upcoming events at this time