The lyrics to Daft Punk’s “Technologic” – “Touch it, bring it, pay it, watch it, turn it, leave it, start, format it” – allude to the omnipresence of technology in our daily lives and the many different ways in which we engage with it. At a Daft Punk live show, however, it’s predominantly the artists themselves that interact with technology, through musical interfaces. The audience, by contrast, passively observes or dances but rarely touches, brings, starts or formats any of the technology involved in the performance. Yet there are artists who explore technology’s potential to radically break with the traditional performer-audience relationship.
According to Chris Salter, the concert hall has shifted “from a passive arena of listening to an interactive zone of improvisation between sound-making technical apparatuses and their players” (Entangled, 2010). The exciting new modes of performance resulting from this shift have recently gained much attention in publications and conferences. Exactly how these new performance modes affect the performer-audience relationship has however hardly been explored. What does it mean to be an active listener in an “interactive zone of improvisation”? And what does the audience gain from it all?
This edition of Test_Lab will showcase new technology-inspired modes of live musical performance that radically transform the performer’s relationship with the audience. While some of these projects and performances, such as CrowdDJ - Tom Laan, and Nomadic Sound System - Ben Newland; turn the audience into co-performers, others, like Microscopic Opera - Matthijs Munnik, Evolving Spark Network - Edwin van der Heide and SPASM 2.0 - V2_Lab; give rise to entirely new modes of listening. As always at Test_Lab, you can touch it, bring it, pay it, watch it, turn it, leave it, start, format it…
Test_Lab: Active Listeners (2011) from V2_ on Vimeo.