Concept: Extended Play Spaces
This concept emerged from a series of virtual discussions we had with artistic-technical producers during the COVID lockdowns. One challenge they all face is the lack of physical rehearsal spaces for working on net-based, interactive, quality-assured art projects. So why not start fixing the problem at the grassroots level? In Austria, that would be the music schools.
Austria's 370 music schools teach about 190,000 music students. Music schools are not only important educational institutions, but also indispensable for regional cultural life - on the one hand as concert organizers, on the other hand to train young talents as junior staff of regional cultural associations, choirs and orchestras.
Especially in rural regions, music schools also serve as structurally important event and cultural institutions and as places for cultural encounters.
Music schools are therefore perfect starting points to improve three things in one swoop:
- increase the number of networked rehearsal rooms,
- raise public awareness of interactive art productions,
- familiarize young people with the technologies used
in a playful way.
That is why a group of experienced sound engineers, musicians, composers and IT specialists got together in 2021 and developed a concept for an impulse project based on three components (see below). The project is intented to enable music schools to provide permanent net-based teaching and collaboration.
Initial talks have already been held with music school directors. However, this project can only be implemented sustainably in close cooperation with teachers and students.
In order to create an equivalent, efficient environment for acoustic/electronic music production at and between various locations, music schools need similar technical equipment. Therefore, the first step is to develop a modular technical rider that can be easily adapted to different spatial/technical/acoustic conditions. Based on this, a detailed user manual is to be created - with descriptions of hardware/software, high-bandwidth connection scenarios, correct microphone placement, optimal camera positions, ...
The impulse project starts with three to four music schools from different Austrian provinces, which at the same time expand their offer with digital art production. An interdisciplinary team of artistic-technical experts introduces teachers and students to the new technical environments in a series of hands-on workshops on site. The focus is not only on technical aspects, but also on opening up capabilities of artistic expression for young musicians in the context of net-based art production.
As the crowning highlight of the project, an ensemble of young musicians located in different places will come together virtually and playfully explore their new technical opportunities to rehearse and realize a joint multi-site concert: live - online - analogue - digital - simultaneous - interactive!
Afterwards, the entire project is comprehensively documented. The technical equipment remains with the participating music schools for permanent use.