Live from Beijing: Audiovisual Broadcast Today, and a Platform for Conversations and Education

Artist gogo (Sheng Jie ) in Tokyo.

Presenting artists from around Earth to viewers around Earth, a center in Beijing has found a way to do live performance for a sleepless world without waking the neighbors.

Let me start out by saying this: if you read CDM from China, say hello. We’re in the wrong language, we have no translation, and I seriously doubt our Texas data center is delivering this site with any speed (until we upgrade to an international CDN), but the only reason I still run CDM is in order to reach people, and to hear from a wider world that knows things I don’t, and imagines things I can’t. And if you’re not in China, we still get very nice, high-quality video streaming. Think about that for a second: we’re on a planet that has a circumference between poles of about 24,860 miles (40,000 km), and we can share video and recording as if we’re in the same room. That’s pretty ridiculous; almost more impressive than recording itself. (I had similar thoughts a few years ago, somewhere in the jetlag going from New York to its nearly-furthest point on the globe, Perth, Australia.)

Shan Studios is a platform for artist conversations, residency, audiovisual performance, and learning. If you’re in Beijing, China, this center is forging connections between European audiovisual practice and China — and it’s a place where you can go to learn tools like Ableton Live, SuperCollider, and Max/MSP/Jitter. But if you’re anywhere else in the world, tonight/today you can watch a performance of audiovisuals. (That’s 11:59p Beijing time, 4:59p London time, 11:59a New York time).

The best part of this: by broadcasting to the Web but being silent in person, the performance won’t disturb the neighbors.

Using an array of webcams, DIY synthesizers, medical equipment, projectors, busted radios, and many unconventional instruments, the performers will create a completely immersive audiovisual experience in the Shanstudios sound laboratory. But the actual performance space will be silent – as to not wake the neighbors and simultaneously experiment with the best distortion box ever created (the Internet!) – all sounds will be processed digitally and virtually. The event is entirely exploratory and will hopefully lead to greater investigation of the Internet as a viable medium for other such experimental performances.

Shan Studios is the brainchild of multimedia artist Sheng Jie (gogoj), who returned from studying in France with artists and education to share with young people in China.

That pattern is very familiar. In fact, it’s hard to imagine where we’d be now without international exchange. First, research centers exchanged knowledge and technology – think, for instance, American Miller Puckette visiting Paris’ IRCAM to go on to create what would become Max/MSP, but also investigations spanning Brazil, Japan, Australia, and so on. With more democratized access to technology (read: s*** gets cheaper), that’s gone beyond any centralized locations to knowledge and artistic ideas that cross all six populated continents.

Whereas this was once one-directional – even in the US, aspiring artists often headed to Europe – now I think the compass could spin in all directions.

Anyway, I should be quiet so you can go watch the video:

gigonline on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

http://www.livestream.com/gigonline (something interesting happening there already, and I think they’re just warming up)

http://shan-studio.com/?lang=en [English Shan Studio info]

Side note: if anyone is interested in making a Mandarin-native site companion to CDM, do get in touch. We’re not, ahem, sponsored by Intel, but I can see what we can do. Hell, I’d be pleased to have one page, or content in English that does a better job of what’s going on on the other side(s) of the globe.

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