How does a computer know there's an audience in?

  • last week i installed 2b4, had some crash problems during a tech day, reset my clock to September and tested my show patch thoroughly. spent the morning pushing the patch to its limits - no problems. the afternoon's dress run went smoothly. enter an audience for the evening show and boom! movie player starts playing slowly. nothing else seems wrong - i'm still getting 30fps, but my movies (jpegs @ 70%) are crawling along. i quit and restarted izzy halfway through a scene (confusing the dancers a little) and the rest of the show ran without a hitch.

    why do these things only happen when there's a paying audience present? could it be something about nervous energy effecting the hardware?
  • Beta Platinum

    Thats a horror story, dont tell it, it will haunt me in my dreams, hahaha!

  • Izzy Guru

    Was your machine sat idle for a few hours before the show? Not that it should really matter but I often restart and re-set everything half an hour before a show.

  • @dbini
    I bet you are not the only person who's experiencing this type of incidents. The more I do shows in Asia, the more I hear unexplained mysteries about computers acting abnormally during shows. What I learnt from them is that apparently there's a tradition that the producer or whoever is responsible for the show, would do a proper and simple ritual to "greet" the spirits in the space. I was told that it's a proper tradition when you come into their place, you have to introduce who you are, how long you'll be using the space, and when you will leave. You can say it silently, and bow to every side of the space, bring some kind of fruits or snacks, then place them on or near by your working station, don't move them until you finish the show. I know it sounds insanely superstitious, but who really knows what goes on in the spiritual world? So, if you've already did all the proper hardware/software testings, in every condition that you can think of, maybe this is the one last step to consider? Kind of fun to think about, isn't it? because in a way we might actually have a lot more "audiences" than we see with our bare eyes.

  • Some time it's happened to me should know...there a ghost in the shell....BTW out of joke, sometime on my patches was depended by errors (my error) in programmation, in particular where many scenes was recalled in action and not closed...Behaviours described seems something like too many memory allocated. Take a look to guide made by Mark about preloading here . 

  • @chimerik - nice! as it happens, the show is actually about spiritual stuff, shamanism and ancient ritual. The dancers prepare the space in a way we learned during movement medicine workshops, but there's no specific attention given to my shrine to technology. i shall incorporate my own ritual involving gaffa tape, a tangerine and a buddha statue.

    @Maximortal - i've been running that show for months with very few problems.
    @Skulpture - yeah - did a full shutdown and let everything cool down for an hour before the show, booted up and opened everything in strict order. the full 30fps thing was confusing me though - everything looked fine, but the projections were running slow.

  • @dbini
    wow... your show sounds fantabulous! do you have video documentation of it anywhere?

    maybe we should try to apply funding to do a project about spirituality with computational technologies, and the participation of any spirits would actually be invited/experimented during the process and shows!

    I've heard that theatres have very high density of spirits. they love the old theatres.

  • it's the creative tension between art and science

  • @chimerik

    i've seen numerous spirits whilst working in old theatres. the place we performed in on Friday night, however, is only 2 years old. i wonder what was there before? i often work in a theatre that was built in 2002, and as they were excavating the foundations they found the preserved remains of a 15th century [ship](
    there's a promo video for our show on the research [blog](
    i have plans to develop the digital shaman side of my work. as it happens, we're moving up to Finland next year and are aiming to set up international collaborations with various artists, working together online and streaming performance spaces together. if you're interested in collaborating on something we should talk about it sometime...
  • Izzy Guru

    I once seen a really weird shape on screen when using an IR set up in monochrome whilst doing my MA degree.

    Whilst looking at the screen and shouting 'background' to take a background picture when using the 'difference' technique.... everyone had moved off stage but a very obvious human form was stage left, myself and a few of the performers watched the shape move towards us and then disappear. There was no video delay or effects - it was raw feed. We left early that evening! 

  • wow - Isadora Ghost Hunters!

  • Beta Platinum

    thats a cool esoteric thread ;-)

  • I know many stories like this, I can assure you there are no ghost`s involved. Anyway this are the best opportunities s  to gain knowledge and experience as well and get prepared for the next breakdown, it made me the master of what I am doing without I would still be a pupil like most.




  • this is an interesting thread.

    i have experience of this audience bug.
    recently i've been looking at the uk [electricity generating website ]( statistics.  demand increases in the evening and the frequency of the mains does ever so slightly alter.
    in no way am i suggesting a connection to the audience bug. 

  • first show I ever did... I was terribly, terribly nervous. Lit a tiny piece of sage in the control booth! (I somehow got away with that!)... and the show ran perfectly.  ;)

  • @chimerik @dbini
    just watched your pechikucha via dbini's link
    thank you! 1999/2000 i gave away everything I owned and walk out the door.... for a year...
    I am very interested in collaborations around spirit and seeking, and realms beyond the material.

  • @dbini
    thank you so much for sharing the pechakucha talk that I did last year...! this is so heartwarming to know. I absolutely love the trailer for your project Beyond the Body. Amazing pacing, mood and stylistic approach. I really love how you started this topic, and it's getting deeper and deeper. we have lots of amazing, creative and open-minded ppl in this community.

    sometimes nervousness brought us to the right place eh? so interesting to know about using the sage in the control booth! it makes us not only media artists, technologist, but also cultural and spiritual practitioners.

    I find it a cliche and stereotype that people think technology is the opposite from spirituality, and that all people who involves with technology despises the spiritual side of humanity, more pragmatism, opportunist and western scientific kind of realm. Yet, there are people like us--somewhere between art, technology and spirituality :) I remember even the first time that I met Mark, he was talking about buddhist philosophies with me. It makes more sense the more I think about it...  Let's keep chatting about working together on a big spiritual art project!

    lots of love

  • Dear All,

    I didn't expect to find such an amusing thread about psychic energy and crashes in the forum today. Funny.

    Here's my small contribution: somehow I have a special relationship with machines. It has very often happened (in workshops mainly) that someone has a problem, and then I walk over to look, and somehow it has magically fixed itself -- seemingly due to my presence near the computer.

    Of course, the scientist in me wants to say that, in the hectic and often nerve wracking moments leading up to a show, we are likely to do something differently than the did when we were calmer in rehearsal, and that this is the real source of the problems we encounter.

    However, this is strongly countered by the small amount of Italian in my heritage, which leads me to believe in stuff like the "evil eye" and wonky gremlins that run around the theater trying to cause mischief. I blame it on the gremlins, those little bastards.


    (P.S. Sorry to make a blanket statement about Italians and superstition... that evil eye stuff comes from my grandmother.)

  • Beta Platinum

    A friend of mine told me about a farmer in the austrian mountains, who can shut down a computer without touching it. He was so certain about, that while listenig to him it felt like a fact: there are people who can do that no doubt about it.

    Would like to something live...but not during a performance ;-)

  • Oh that reminds me: In 2003, I was giving a demonstration of Isadora to a group of teachers, and -- no joke -- at the exact same instant I pressed the power button on my compute,r the entire northeast of the United States lost all electrical power. Maybe I should edit the Wiki and take responsibility for that one.