A Place for New Music: A Discussion on Concert Hall Venues

8. Web-based Concerts

FRANK J. OTERI: Of course, now there’s also so much music on the Internet and this has turned people’s personal computers into a new kind of concert venue. Of course, at this point, it’s still mostly a very acoustically poor environment.

COLETTE DOMINGUES: Having had this 48-hour experience of it last weekend with the Cathedral Project, you know, the sound is only as good as the bandwidth and I think as soon, if we push the envelope, the development of a better quality sound will have to follow. It’s not a matter of the art following the technology, it’s a matter of the art pushing the technology so that the technology can meet the demands… This weekend we engaged, we haven’t got the stats yet, we engaged the audience interactively, so it wasn’t a passive experience sitting on the other end of a computer, you could actually start to work with a virtual instrument and have some input into the whole experience. So I think if we push the technology to meet the needs of the art and if we engage the audience in an interactive experience, then we’re creating this vast new audience that has the mindset to appreciate the sounds that the musicians are making on the Web.

RUSSELL JOHNSON: I can’t add anything to that.

LIMOR TOMER: Um, I guess I’m an old-fashioned girl. I just consider the computer the tool that I use for my work and I resent having to go to it for my artistic experience. And when I go to an art gallery or a visual art exhibit where there are computer terminals where you’re invited to engage in an interactive art experience, I just avoid it and I know it’s me and I’m probably old, and there’s a whole generation that has a completely different relationship with computers and digital technology, but I just can’t go there. And I consider the Internet absolutely valuable in archiving music, in making it available and all of those kind of library functions, but it’s not a venue for me and I resent it when it becomes the venue.

COLETTE DOMINGUES: In this particular project—I can only talk about this particular project—the venue was the hub. Every single performance wasn’t in the studio, it was in front of a live audience, in a real venue, Taipei Theater, Galapagos here in the States, and many other really live venues. No studio environments, the audience coming and going. So, for us, the Web was an additional audience development and outreach procedure. It wasn’t the only place. It was the place where people who were geographically ill-located or physically confined or in jail (laughs) could join in and be part of the audience.

LIMOR TOMER: It’s the great democratic tool and…

COLETTE DOMINGUES: Yes.

LIMOR TOMER: …and I appreciate that and I think it’s for sort of a perspective and a broadening, and all that, great.

COLETTE DOMINGUES: It’s not instead of, it’s as well as.

LIMOR TOMER: Right.

FRANK J. OTERI: I think the irony of course is, you know, I always like to say that the Internet is this great democratic tool but it only works if you have a computer or have access to one…

COLETTE DOMINGUES: There were people at public libraries in Portugal, public libraries in Africa who were using a public computer, with maybe 20 people standing around one…

FRANK J. OTERI: With a 28.8 modem?

COLETTE DOMINGUES: Yeah, 28.8.

FRANK J. OTERI: Wow!

COLETTE DOMINGUES: With all the plug-ins. I mean, yeah, RealAudio 8 and then sharing it within community environments.

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