What is your history with telematic, bi-located and or internet based performance?

  • As I am about to begin teaching a new semester-long course on internet related performance, I am finding myself curious about the work that I don't know about. Which is a lot. I will be introducing students to some of the history (that I do know) of such things as bi-located or telematic performance, and we will be making some of our own work.

    But along the way--would be great to know more about what folks here have either done, seen or might currently be working on. Have you made work for performers in two distant locations that are joined together in some way across a network? Have you played with live streaming of your performances to remote audiences? Do you know of other artists or institutions that are making telematic work in some way?

    I'm curious partly as it seemed like a lot of the telematic work that was going on in the aughts dried up over the last 5-10 years. There was a lot of institutional interest for awhile and certainly might still be happening but I'm not easily locating the work.

    Lastly, if you are engaged in telematic work--do you have reliable methods that you care to share? Local networks are pretty easy to wrangle but any success using things like NDI cloud?

    Not looking for long essays but any links to websites or images/video would be amazing. 



  • Hi Sheldon,

    I've played with telematic dance performance since moving from the UK to Northern Finland 4 years ago, and am currently developing a large scale performance project that happens simultaneously in 3 or 4 countries, with elements of each performance being broadcast into another. this project is still in very early stages.

    my experience is mainly with small performances. i run an organisation called TaikaBox with choreographer Tanja Råman. We have performed in a studio in Wales, skyped to an audience in a Polish art gallery. we have used facetime to collaborate with a dancer overseas and created a dual-location duet. we sometimes work with a musician in Denmark who plays live over Soundjack. currently i'm looking at NDI as a solution for geographically expanding a durational impro multi-arts performance project. check out taikabox.com for some details and video.

    in the current state of climate crisis, we are trying to cut down on the amount of travelling that performers need to do when working internationally, telematic solutions are one way of reducing carbon footprints and should be embraced and developed.

  • Beta Platinum

    @swda said:

    Not looking for long essays but any links to websites or images/video would be amazing. 

     Hi Sheldon,

    Here are links to some of the works we have been involved with. But as you suggest development has declined over the last few years. 

    Fluidata (2015)


    Intimate Transactions (2008)


    And this platform for telematic communication and performance that has now been archived, but you can access the recorded performances through a media collection:


    Igneous (2003)


    Best Wishes


  • Dear Sheldon,

    Troika Ranch had a lot of situations in which we worked with Telematics, primarily due to our association with The Electroniic Cafe in Los Angeles, and also with the Center for Experiments in Art, Information and Technology (CEAIT) at CalArts. All of this was between 1990 and 1996. CEAIT hosted a whole slew of the telematic events thansk to the funding from AT&T. This included performances/talks by Don Buchla, Terry Riley, Morton Subotnick and a whole slew of others.

    Herea are links to those works on Troika Ranch's website.

    The Electronic Disturbance (performed at The Kitchen in New York, The Electronic Cafe in Los Angeles, and Site Santa Fe in New Mexico.)

    An Adjacent Disclosure (collaboration with Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz of The Electronic Cafe; performed at the Electronic Cafe, 1991)

    Tactile Diaries (performed at the Electronic Cafe, 1990)

    A book by Neill O'Dwyer about Digital Scenography is on the way. The first chapter is focused Troika Ranch's contributions in those early days -- mostly focused on digital scenography, but our telematic work was all in that same era so it's in the chapter too. I can put you in touch with the author if you wish -- he may be willing to share the text (which has a lot of detail) even though it is not yet published.

    Best Wishes,

  • Have a look here: https://spiderwebshow.ca/



  • @administrators

    Sheldon, Here are some links to my work with telecommunications/internet performances:

    Performance Télématique, 1993
    Montreal-Toronto (340 miles)

     Nervous Orpheus, 1994
    Toronto-Vancouver (2800 miles, 4500 km)

    Technophobe and the Madman, 2001
    Frederick Loewe Theatre, New York City and iEAR Studio, Troy, New York

    There is a good quality video for the Technophobe performance, and I can upload video of the second one if you are interested.


  • @swda I have been involved in quite a few, but this list from Daito Manabe is a great resource - and on github of all places.


  • Wow everyone--thank you so much for these resources and all of your input. Will be incredibly helpful to the class. Also super helpful as at least the beginnings of an archive of this kind of work. Certainly there are some great books out there including Dixon's Digital Performance and Shannon Jackson's book on Builders Association. But how awesome to connect directly to the sources. Many many thanks!

    It will take me some time to digest all of this but may reach out to each of you individually soon.


  • Hi there, (apologies if an earlier reply shows up, I seem to have lost it in the aether)

    My friend and colleague Andrew has pointed me at this great thread, which is of particular interest to me as I was involved in a bunch of network performance projects over the past decade or so. It's true, that interest has waned in more recent times - perhaps ironic that as the technology advances and becomes so readily available there has been a decrease in artistic projects being made. This may have a lot to do with a return to the spectacular mode, with more interest in tech such as the (very expensive) musion holograms providing large scale entertainment. A far cry from the more nuanced work of e.g. Troika Ranch, Builders Association and Stationhouse Opera.

    I think Paul Sermon is still going strong, developing and redeveloping his signature telematic work.

    Of course there is the profound inspiration of the “Hole in Space” 1980 video artwork by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz (who Mark has already mentioned). A kind of pre-internet networked installation project. It set the stage for so much that came after.

    In terms of recent practitioners, Ian Biscoe has been working with networked performance across continents. Using a lot of off-the-shelf gear, and incorporating soundjack, appear.in, hangouts on air, polycom and cisco codecs, VSee, Clearsea etc. One of his most technically interesting projects was the Online Orchestra which aimed to allow musical collaboration over consumer internet despite the inherent latency. He developed a Max patch which acted as kind of metronome - figuring out the latency between sites and syncing up the time signature for the remote players. Ian also ran the Fascinate conference/event at University of Falmouth for a couple years (2013/4).

    At Fascinate II, we put on a version of Jesse Ricke's Graphic Ships - which uses motion control, coding, musical and physical performance articulated over up to half a dozen locations. In the version at Fascinate, a single dancer performs on a stage, her movement is translated through a kinect and Max patch into a live score which the musicians (in France, UK, and the US) play to. A full circle feedback loop. The score is also processed, and projected onto the performance space.

    Jesse and I met through Culturehub in NYC, who have long term relationships with multiple other venues to create networked performance (particularly in Seoul, I think). Through a partnership between Culturehub and Contact theatre in Manchester, we created networked theatre shows, dance duets, spoken word events and collaborative workshops. Each with  audience, performers, musicians and technicians in both (all) locations. A complicated multi-sited TV studio made with borrowed hardware, bits of black magic kit and a lot of hope and luck.

    In a JISC supported project (JISC and JANet are the UKs high bandwidth University network providers) we were able to use a version of a software developed for online collaboration calledLOLA (LOw LAtency). This software allows networked AV with latencies in the low tens of ms. It does this by not really compressing video, and therefore maxing out your networked bandwidth at up to 500MBps.

    The work of Dries Verhoeven could be of interest. Particularly Life Streaming and Wanna Play? - each uses internet technologies to activate the performance and to comment on the systems themselves.

    I could go on and on, but I suspect this is already "essay length". There's a kind of lit review in my doctoral thesis on Networked Performance which may be of use (you may have to skip a lot of words tho!).

    Hope that's of some interest! 


  • @ja5on

    i used to know Paul Sermon - he was in the same degree course as me - graduated a couple of years before i arrived and got a job as IT technician there. Nice chap.

  • @dbini Ha! The paths we take! 

  • @ja5on

    Sorry I am only now seeing your reply. Obviously this has been a challenging time. But will be incredibly interesting to see how we all respond as artists and educators. I dream (of someone other than me) compiling an archive of all of the telematic work prior to covid and then everything during and hopefully after covid. Weird, just occurred to me that this thing is called covid---and I am deeply immersed in co-creating, co-existing, co-learning through vid-eo. Co-vid.

    Paul Sermon's Telematic Dreaming has always been a great starting place for me to be able to explain a lot of concepts to my students. But what seemed so abstract at the beginning of the semester is now a desperately real and intense need to connect more fully across mediated spaces. 

    You've given me a lot to look over here and will probably take me awhile to get through as suddenly we are all overwhelmed I suspect. 

  • Beta Tester

    @swda I've worked regularly with telematic performance . For the past 13 years ,mostly with dance and live musicians. UK to USA.

    I've worked with every form of VOIP system you can think of from the early days of Skype, Adobe connect ,DVTS, Visimeet ,Tandberg and even LOLA (partially).

    All I can say is , network infrastructure is a an absolute must and a complete nightmare .

    Personally for me the most successful were using visimeet and the standard telepresence systems (polycom & Cisco ) . Both relatively low latency therefore allowing performance and communication to run more naturally.

    The cool thing about VisiMeet was the ability to have multiple sources simultaneously in each location all with independent windows . It's a subscription service and not that cheap. 

    The same goes for the Telepresence setups, expensive kit wise , but universities tend to have them lying around in boardrooms never being used( until now). Also the Janet or WEB2 network is specifically setup to handle these types of kit without too much tinkering about. The hardware also gives you a much better low latency and higher fidelity experience compared to the web based systems.

    LOLA is something that I've tested a couple of times the potential is massive , but the network requirements are so specific and according to our institutions networks a security issue. It requires a direct connection to the Janet network without going through the firewall. It's something that has been promised now for the past two years . Hopefully things were supposed to be moving forward this summer , but with everything that is currently happening the prospect of massive amounts of data hogging of much needed bandwidth for performance is not a institutional priority at the moment.

    Currently I feel we've gone backwards a little bit. Due to the ease /mostly free versions of the web and mobile based options. These  have now become ubiquitous putting them now as the preferred option for most of our recent work . As the transfer and processing of live data gets quicker these will no doubt be the future .  

    Pro & Cons  


  • @n-jones thanks, there is a lot of great info in your post. Lots to research.