Tutorial:

1. Invest in a good microphone.
2. Use a tripod.
3. When using a computer look for 2MB out connection. (If on mobile 3G network will do).
4. Call 0505729743 and I’ll give you tips and passwords to use our channel.
5. Remember to take the necessary extension cords and transducers with you.

(Connections as low as 0.22MB has been tested and proofed to work.. You however need to lower the image quality).

 

Our Channel

The Culture Events live channel on http://www.tehdasry.fi/home/live-channel/ page is intended for streaming video from culture events from Finland and beyond. As an initiative of artist/curator Janne Rahkila 2008 it was originally designed to show the Perfo – Performance events, held four times a year at Telakka (Tampere) and now it has expanded to meet the needs of Perf festival and events hosted at 3h + k(Pori). Experiments with the same software and equipment have been made around Finland in events like the Blacksmith Festival RautasulkaAlkovi Gallery openings and projects in Helsinki and Satellite Platform discussion events held in Hämeenkyrö etc.

The live-channel site is embedded with two separate channels both are made using the Swedish bambuser.com service. When the streaming project begun 2008 only one feed was broadcasted. At that time we used the now dead floobs.com service.

Our current channel page is embedded with two separate simultaneous broadcasts which cover happenings from different angles. This is a milestone for the project. Broadcasting two separate streams of the same events helps us with stability issues. As we often work with unreliable internet connections this solution ensures that at least the other stream will stay healthy. The other stream is handled over the mobile-phone network and the second trough wifi/router. Also the nature of live-arts is better served by providing two (or more) viewpoints of the happenings. For artist talks and such the other stream may show closeups on slides the presenter uses while the other focuses on the presentation, for music gigs the second may show the work of the VJ while the other covers the music. Using two iframed channels on one page we also have the possibility to broadcast feeds from two separate events or locations at the same time or to combine pre-recorded material with a live material. For audience feedback we use a shout-box which runs independently from the stream. All of the services in use are free and the costs of streaming are low. At minimum you need a computer with a webcam, access to internet and you are good to prod-use.

The culture events live channel is currently hosting mostly performance events but will meet the needs of other culture events if requested. You may also load the page html/css to get started on your own system but please consider using our site for your events. We hope to develop it into a cross-disciplinary broadcasting channel which will collect the scarcely streamed culture events behind one fixed URL. We hope to develop the site into a hub which will collect an audience base and a semi planned broadcasting schedule. If you are already streaming events you organize please consider joining our efforts. There is strength in groups. We are looking for grassroots organizations working for free and open culture events, discussions on creative practices, ecology and peer-society. We do not store the stream online due to copyright issues and also because we hope to maintain the spirit of the live event. Please bare this policy in mind if you are considering to hook up with us. The stream you send may later on be downloaded from the service providers servers and you may transfer this recording on your own site/channel.

All the necessary information on how to get started is found in this text and on the http://www.tehdasry.fi/home/live-channel/ site and please don’t hesitate to ask for face-to-face consulting regarding the art of streaming video and technical pointers. The image here shows the streaming system used at Perfo – Telakka. The current recommendation system we use is simpler. Rest assured it is a one wo/man job suitable for a person with only basic experience with computers. In the current system we use the DV-camera both for the streaming and for documenting the event. The system kills to birds with one stone: Broadcasting while documenting.

Idea (Illustration).

Not an event goes past with out me ending seriously questioning our efforts to stream performance art and other culture happenings. My biggest concern is that edited video analyzing happenings would be more fruitful to view then raw live video… Yet every time Perfo is organized or I’m invited somewhere else I’m tweaking the system and talking about it’s development non-stop. As a reward for our efforts we have build a regular audience base and on an average broadcasts gather 60 viewers. At it’s peak we Perfo has had 327 viewers for a single stream, at it’s lowest only some 15 viewers have bothered to stay tuned. These statistics come from the host service but unfortunately it is not know how long individual viewers stay tuned, how many times they refresh the browser (which is the service counts as a new viewer) nor is it known who the viewers are socially or geographically. Data is limited but discussions with friends on the sites shout-box and chats have given some insight on viewer experiences. Most viewers enjoy the stream and people use it to check out a happening before coming to the site. It functions as an online lighthouse guiding people to the event and generally stating that we are alive, kicking and doing it publicly!

In the early days people gathered around the camera and send their greeting back home. Artists asked for the URL of the stream as they wanted to show their friends what they are up to. Particularity foreign artist were psyched about the possibility share the stream to colleagues back home. The moment they begun performing direct links to their facebook wall/etc social media sites where shared. At that time we only used one camera which was pointed at the computer monitor displaying event info when there was a break in the show. Those days we didn’t use a site where the channel(s) was embedded so people had to find the URL from the bambuser.com service. URLs where changed for every broadcast and embedding the stream inside a fixed site has solved these issues. This development has also made me consider the system more as “a channel” with it’s own culture, traditions and ideological viewpoint.

Web 2.0 media sharing sites have become important channels to share news and events which groups working on counter-culture projects produce. Such groups have a strong foothold in the social media sphere but we need to remind our self’s that the struggle to stay visible online requires active work. National media companies like YLE of Finland are already researching how to use the same services we work with. In time they will start to produce content which may be used to determine us from their institutional perspective. I’m sure we can learn from each other but before we reach for dialogue we should develop our understanding of streaming media and build systems and tweak them to work as we need them to, so that when we start to barter we’ll have more chips (knowledge, followers, experience and professional assets) on the table.

The general fear is that the plurality of online content is threatened as national and business institutions with gigantic funding for marketing lure viewers to their channels. The majority of the content they produce force viewers into ideological positions which serve the current political and economical regime. By default their normative, aesthetically and politically narrow media strategies position mixed cultural activities to the “marginal” in hopes to preserve status quo. Every broadcast we make is noise which affects the processes on how cultural movements are defined and we need to keep making noise. If you do an online search for “counter-culture” do you want interested parties to see BBC documentaries defining such movements as historical projects or would you like them to see events happening live? Live presence online is needed to ensure that we will be able to use these tools in the future.

Execution. (Photo)

 

Benefits of streaming performance events

The following part is intended especially for people interested in streaming performance-art events but might proof interesting for others too. It tells a little bit how the camera affects live situations, reflects my personal views on streaming and gives some insight on the evolution of the system we now use.

I was personally introduced to the art of streaming by the late Simon Häfele of sonance.artist.network (http://evolve.sonance.net/). He had already 1998 build a server system (emails, subdomain websites, streams, storage etc.) which multiple artist in Vienna used to promote and host their events on. Their system is build on open source software and run by the community which uses it. As we where making a durational (24h) performance happening with the “Temporary A/B Ensemble” at the Draakoni Gallery in Tallinn the idea of streaming the event online was discussed. As the performance was so long the idea of opening the site for audiences around the globe was introduced as a method of keeping us as performers constantly aware of our actions being visible and public. So even if the good folks of Tallinn where a sleep there might always be someone watching us and evaluating our actions. The idea was influenced by the work of Estonian artist group Non-Grata which had used a monitor placed outside the performance space to share actions from inside. Live video running simultaniously with live events reallocates the viewers gaze and enables viewer to analyze the performers non-verbal communication (etc.) with out engaging in communication them self’s.

I feel that streaming events works best for long site-specific minimalistic performances.

Photo by A. Harmaala, showing live stream of seven day long Heroes of Art performance.

 

The stream opens performance art for new audiences and lures people to the event. It will never replace the experience of being actually present but it provides audiences the opportunity to take part/support an event even if they do not have the opportunity to visit it. Culture institutions hope that streaming their events will enable them to be more “accessible” and for grant applications, sponsors etc. offering the possibility for audiences to view your event online is possibly a luring catchphrase. This is a typical sales speech on why it’s good to stream your event but there are other benefits too.

You might instinctively feel that the nature of performance art is such that providing a live stream does not serve the point. Such events are intended for live audiences, for real life flesh and blood bodies sharing an experience. This is true. But critically speaking there are already so many cameras at live-art events that the illusion that things are live has been shattered. Performers work for the camera and this shapes the nature on performance art. It is only honest to admit that artist produce “images using their bodies” precisely because they want to look good in still photos which will later on to be posted on facebook, catalogues and portfolios. There is nothing wrong with this it is just that we have become so skilled in posing that our skills have turned agains the nature of live-art. Artist are more concerned with the documentation then of the audience. This fixation on photographic (and later video) documentation comes from the art forms gene pool – Conceptual art is primarily produced for catalogues and documentations are used as proof of consept. It is however NOT mandatory to produce documentations during a performance… Artists (like Vito Acconci) are known to have staged documentations after a happening has ended and solutions like this should be seriously considered.

“Documentation is not a neutral list of facts. It is the conceptual creation of events after they are over.” (Eleanor Antin).

With this in mind I think we should force ourselves to think critically on how to document performance art. Digital cameras have been capable to produce near same quality images for ten years now and it is impossible to determine from which era still photos are from. The gruesome reality is that they all look the same and the only way you may see time passing is when you recognize a particular artists aging. Try something different. There are bound to be art students with strong live drawing backgrounds in the audience, why not apply their skills for documenting the event or audio recordings, 3D animation etc etc.

Live streaming is a great tool to hinge performers out of their comfort zone. Every moment of the event is streamed so a performer has to consider all of their actions to be visible. The “money shot logic” of a still image showing the most dramatic sequence of a performance does not apply when the entire event with it’s preparations, audience reactions is also shown. The presence of “the internet audience” superimposes the artists a feeling that audiences which they are unable to control will evaluate their gestures critically. The stream embodies the idea of the other. An artist is pointed by a camera which streams events for unspecified and radically different audiences. A camera streaming online becomes a representative of audiences which you cannot seduce by editing your afterimage. This is a great challenge. If there is to be only one camera at a performance event this camera should be the one broadcasting.

Still images and video have been used to proof that a performance has actually taken place. As evidence that something has truly happened but such images are no longer needed as proof. A camera streaming an event is not an other camera on site it is the ideologically correct tool to compensate on the over abundance of documentation technology currently present in performance events.

Streaming performances also haves some pedagogical benefits. Fresh generations of performance artist need not browse trough ubu.com/ archives, download torrents from karagarga.net/ or wonder trough youtube and vimeo in search of inspiration and understanding for their work. Instead they could simply tune in and find their peers performing live. They may also stream their own events online using the same channel/venue. The place where a live camera is mounted automatically creates a venue around it’s self and this venue may be reproduced anywhere in the world. People start behaving more cautiously in the presence of a live-camera as they become aware of their gestures being visible. Also for building confidence as a performer an stream online is a easy first step.

3

Screenshot of Perf11 stream. http://www.tehdasry.fi/live at work. On the right first time performer Elena Nestorova preparing for her performance at 3h +k. On the left Non Grata doing their thing at Viikkarin Kyläjuhlat.

 

Aesthetics of streaming video

When working with live streams it does not help if the broadcast is streamed trough a 100mb connection as people viewing it will anyways see it compressed and optimized for low bandwidth connections. But I don’t think image quality is a problem. Rough image gives events a sense that they are really live and differentiates us from mainstream medias. If we’d be working to produce HD-quality streams we’d be in the same category as all the other TV channels and if the image quality is close to standardized TV people begin to expect TV like structures from the stream. To replicate such quality is not necessary as we are not orchestrating an event into a studio setting, we are adapting into the site as it changes. The current robust system we have designed can handle changes, mood-swings of performers and surprises during a happening better then conventional TV-broadcasting tools do. The radical idea of broadcasting two separate feed from the same event is an example of such developments. Also the sizes of cameras we use are smaller and seemingly less professional which helps people act more relaxed in their presence. Creating streams in DV or HD quality is seducing but I don’t think that aiming for image quality serves alternative culture events like Perfo.

Glitch serves live online events well

The quality of the image and camerawork have to serve the spirit of the happening. I’m pretty convinced that lifelines is not enhanced by producing “life-like images” (true HD true COLORS true 5.1), the construction of such illusions has been made vain by early 1900 impressionist. I feel that the liveliness of live events is in the element of danger, non-censuring mistakes made by the performer(s), pushing the camera operator outside her/his comfort zone and working with hazardous technical devices and beta-software. Such explorations inevitably results to glitches. Which is good. Pixelated image stresses the eyes and demands a different logic of viewing. Watching something aesthetically unpleasant forces the viewers to make sense of things them self’s. A “new media gaze” is being crafted. People on computers consume different sorts of media on the screen simultaneously. The textual elements of a performance (placed on the shout box or webpage) might be read during a pause in stream or the viewer might engage in a chat. There is currently no data on how or what people watch during a live stream. The viewer logic is being constructed based on what we offer.

4

System used at Rautasulka Blacksmith festival 2010. Left computer showing a “road-trip movie” of Blacksmiths talking about their craft. Movie was made on route to the festival. Right computer streaming material online. Computers covered with plastic to protect it from dust formed by forging.

 

My name is Eero contact me if you want to set the stream up on the Tehdas ry site. Thanks for m2hz.net producer Emmi Vainio, Helsinki based artist Timo BredenbergJanne Rahkila and Antti Pedrozo for ideas, technical pointer and inspiration.

List of “free” services for streaming:
http://www.bambuser.comhttp://www.ustream.tv/http://qik.com/

Resulsseja Suomeksi:


Opas mobiilivideo streemaamiseen.
http://softaajarautaa.blogspot.com/

Oppaita mediatuotantoon avoimen lähdekoodin ohjelmilla.
http://fi-new.flossmanuals.net/
Opas avoimeen media tuotantoon: http://fi-new.flossmanuals.net/avoin-mediatuotanto/index

Yleläisten ajatuksia tulevaisuuden toimittamisesta:
“Sari” (live-lähetysten mielekkyydestä): http://socialwebtoolsyle.posterous.com/livena-verkossa-vai-miten-haluatte
SOMA on Ylen ja Metropolian yhteinen kurssi sosiaalisen median hyödyntämisestä.
http://somakoulutus.posterous.com/

Isällinen toimittaja neuvoo nuorisoa toimittamaan.
http://atuubi.yle.fi/videot_ja_kuvat/id-100377
Atuubi luo lupauksia kansalais jounalismista mutta suodattaa yleisön tarjontaa valikoimalla näytettävät ohjelmat. Sopivuuteen vaikuttaa ehdotta aihe, tapa käsitellä aihetta sekä ohjelman laatu. Toimittamasi materiaali voidaan käytetään ilmoittamatta ja korvaamatta televisio ohjelmien insertteinä.

Suomen perinteikkäin ja vanhin verkkoradio:
http://www.hear.fi/

Resources in English:

Testing of mobile video streaming services (great post with latency tests etc.)
http://mobile-streaming.blogspot.com/

Regarding Bambuser mobile streaming.
http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/otih/?p=167

YLE – National broadcasting Company on Bambuser etc.
Round 1.
http://blog.bambuser.com/2010/01/bambuser-signs-finnish-public-service.html

Yles biggest project for crowd sourcing (nifty slogan on page reads: squeeze your stuff to the atube.)
http://atuubi.yle.fi/laheta_video_tai_kuva
Atubis progress on Dipity:
http://www.dipity.com/Atuubi/personal/map#timeline

“The generic esthetics of performance documentations and visual representations include”: (Thread started by Alexandra Smirnoff collected by Verena Stenke Pagnes):
http://www.facebook.com/notes (You need to log on to Facebook to see this)

On Glitch

“A glitch is like the wind blowing through a speaker’s hair. A glitch injects lived affect into the live utterance. Glitches arises from the immanent “world.” (According to Heidegger, “the world” consists of things connected to other things within being.) Of course, once we digitize and increasingly “mediate” our human language, then the coughing, sputtering, extra-semiotic forces of the world can more readily (and radically/rootedly) modulate our language, at increasingly deeper and more fine-grained structural levels. The static of the world gets trapped in our mouths.”

Curt Cloninger. GltchLnguistx: The Machine in the Ghost / Static Trapped in Mouths (2010)
http://lab404.com/glitch/

Ohjelmistoja / Software:

Use mobile phone as a webcam over bluetooth etc. (Mac – Etc.)
http://www.movino.org/
Patch audio between software (Mac – ?)
http://cycling74.com/products/soundflower/
FMLE Media encoder (Mac – PC – ?)
http://www.adobe.com/products/flashmediaserver/flashmediaencoder/
“Camtwist”. Mix video sources, effects and movies live (Mac)
http://allocinit.com

Muut linkit / Other links:

Helsinki based local TV
http://www.m2hz.net

Where the Counterculture Prevails – Peter Coyote
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zV3qLXhmSLQ

Pixelache presentation (2009) by Sara Sajjad of The Piratebay and others
http://vimeo.com/3998605

 

Please contact us and help us build the system so that it would suit your needs better!

 




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