domingo, fevereiro 02, 2014

digital witness

People now look upon scenes never before within their range, they see politics as practiced, sports as played, drama as enacted, news as it happens, history as it is made” (Dunlap 1947:8)
- as quoted in Liveness - Live Performance in a Mediatized Culture (2nd edition) by Philip Auslander
Following Orwin E. Dunlap’s early thoughts on television and considering that, what at the time were the medium’s main properties – immediacy and intimacy –; a bridge is established to this new era of connectedness where things are perceived even more within the range of people’s accessibility.
As I watch between yesterday and today livestreams of ongoing theater shows and today's Forced Entertainment's performance #12AMLIVE

I get back at writing this post that follows some thoughts already meant to be written a few days ago; concerning the theme of livestreaming and the way I feel it's a subject of importance not only for the way we live but the way we are used to perceive things. 

Going back to Auslander's book:

In an essay 1937, Alfred N. Goldsmith, an industrial engineer, compares television, film, and human vision in these terms:´
As far as ocular vision is concerned, a real event can be seen only at the instance of occurrence ... Accordingly all the historical past is lost so far as the direct vision by human beings is concerned. The motion picture suffers from no such limitation ... the motion picture may be at any time and shown at any later time ... Television with direct pick-up of an actual event is as dependent on its time of occurrence as is the eye. (Goldsmith 1937:55)
... Television rapidly became a medium for the motion picture, a medium of the camera (Bretz 1953:3) and not, as it was first envisioned, a reproduction of the live performance or home theater.  We can start drawing interesting conclusions if we start to change the word television and place the word internet. Although the internet was not envisioned to provide the spectator with live image it (also) rapidly became a very popular and well received possibility. The user has often chosen quantity versus quality and so the Big Screen rapidly went directly to the computer screen as soon as it the bandwidth allowed it... and then quality started to be a demand. 

Our direct vision and perception of things are constantly changing and adapting and the possibility of watching things at the moment that they're happening (Anywhere, Anyplace) allied to the discontinuity (Sontag 1966:29) of the cinematic storytelling asks for the redefinition of what is being livestreamed. 

To rethink the broadcasting techniques means at many levels redefining the concepts of cinema, theater, television or even performance. The immediacy of a live performance is what makes people leave their comfort zone and dislocate physically to a room where the event is taking place. The experience of experiencing something live is not the same of the one watching it through a mediation channel, nor it's the same object we're seeing anymore. 
The livestream must be thought in terms to trigger a different kind of experience.
The live event must also be thought to those watching it in a mediatized format.
The broadcast must be thought as a part of the whole experience.
The camera no longer replaces the eyes on location, if in that case it serves only one requirement of the medium.
This medium must not try to replace or replicate the one it's capturing... or at least not only. 

Otherwise we're just this:

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