A multi-site performance is an event where performing arts and technology work hand in hand. In order to connect artists around the globe live and in real time, state-of the-art technology is required.
You could write a book on the technology involved: The proper placement of microphones; problems with codecs; sound mixer consoles; interface cards; LED walls; circumventing firewalls and what not. Without fast high-performance networks and very special audio and video software solutions boasting truly low latency capabilities, multi-site performances are simply not doable in real time.
The transmission of mainly uncompressed audiovisual signals produces a considerable amount of data. To ensure that the signals arrive in the same quality as they were sent, powerful and resilient fibre optic backbone networks are required. This infrastructure is provided by National Research and Education Networks (NRENs).
The previous net:art productions have been realized by the Austrian NREN ACOnet, in cooperation with the respective NRENs of the various venues and many other partners (for more information please see the project documentations under "venues" and "partners").
The main venues and partner venues of net:art performances need to have high-bandwidth connectivity (1-10 Gbps, at least temporarily). However, sometimes artists are located in places where only low-bandwidth access is available. In such situations, we always try to follow the artists. This approach is also expanding our capabilities.
software & hardware
With the emergence of faster and more dependable transmission methods, network latencies as well as jitter could be reduced significantly. Meanwhile, transmissions of audio and visual data over digital networks enjoy a quality that allow for performers to interact in real time, even across great distances.
The low latency technologies we currently use, LOLA and UltraGrid, have also been developed in (resp. in cooperation with) the research labs of NRENs. Both technologies are also deployed for e-learning at art universities, distance teaching of masterclasses etc.
For more information on low latency technologies please see useful links.
interactive livestreams, livestreams & streams
For a multi-site performance, we need them all:
- Each venue is connected via high-speed networks, the signals of the artists are processed with low latency technologies (interactive live streaming).
- Artists at locations with low-bandwidth connection may participate via livestream. The signals are integrated in the artistic concept, but no real-time interaction is possible with the rest of the ensemble.
- Our audiences have access by visiting real venues, and also via livestream in the World Wide Web.
- Afterwards we use the recordings for documentation and for streaming (on demand).