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The new digital forms of live entertainment

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The new digital forms of live entertainment

“We are in the middle of a real alchemical laboratory, where the mixture is more important than the original element, as the aim is a new and more and more responsive transformation”: wrote Simone Arcagni – university professor and expert in new technologies – in his “Digital Visions” (Einaudi publisher), referring to the hybridization of media and devices, but also to the habit of people to use them in different ways, in different times and spaces. It was only 2016. These intersections between tools and languages ​​have gradually become progressive and then irreversible, with the acceleration due to the pandemic emergency. The pervasiveness of digital is increasingly applied to every area of ​​culture, both in the methods of use and in the actual proposal. Live entertainment has also begun to speak new languages. The “Onlive” review is dedicated to the live show, conceived by Piemonte dal Vivo, in collaboration with Digital Hangar and with the scientific direction of Simone Arcagni. During the month of February, many theatrical and extra-theatrical spaces throughout Piedmont welcomed the multidisciplinary proposals of particular live shows hybridized with new technologies: contents propagated through virtual reality, gaming, sensors, video installations, capable of support the classical programming of the Piedmont Foundation live. “Live languages ​​- explains Simone Arcagni – offer an exceptional sample of experimentation. Dance, theater, music are territories that provide expressive modalities that in the encounter with new technologies can generate something new “.

These new methods of using performing arts open to a different production system, which from the first draft is oriented towards the creative coexistence of storytelling, acting and technology, and which is particularly aimed at the sensory sphere of the spectator and the actor, amplifying sounds, lights, shadows through immersion , movements: “Yes, it seems incredible – Arcagni underlines – but let’s go back to a new centrality of the body, within a transmedia system in which the show is hybridized with interactive architectures. This transmedia experience is already part of our daily life, in the continuous passage from smartphone to PC, from one social network to another, from one platform to another. The digital stage offers a frame to our post-media fruition “.

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The synergy between live performances and digital can therefore give rise to opportunities not in antithesis but in parallel with the rest, as long as the digital instrument is not an “accessory”, but a fundamental element of the creative process: “It is not a question of replacing dance with the virtual one, the theater with the digital one, but to make aspects of traditional experiences ‘react’ with innovative methods ”. This can be very stimulating for spectators, producers and certainly for creatives: “every show is a research and it is not enough to digitize what already exists but it is important to explore new paths, to look for an authorial brand within a technological device”. The program schedule of the review was in fact articulated through the proposals curated by actors, directors, choreographers and performers who have chosen to experiment using new forms, starting with Elio Germano who kicked off the review with “So it is (o mi pare ) ”, A rewrite for virtual reality of Luigi Pirandello’s” So it is (if you think) “. Elio Germano, actor and director passionate about the encounter between theater and new technologies, in this case operates a virtual reinterpretation of a theatrical performance, therefore not a simple reinterpretation but a reworking.

“After all – says Arcagni – the term ‘virtual reality’ was attributed by a man of the theater, in the early 1900s: the French playwright Antonin Artaud said that what happens on the stage develops as a potential, indeed, virtual reality” .

The Roman actor says he started from a “fear” of the total immersion required by the enjoyment of this type of show, and then tried in any case to propose community experiences, lasting about an hour: a sort of simultaneous vision in contemporary and not individual, in theaters and halls, as an anecdote to the sensation of “disappearance” that can generate in the spectator. “Thanks to the viewer, you wear a spherical shot – explains Arcagni – and in some way the technology somehow forces you to” be there “: Germano makes a critical reflection on technology using technology, recovering Pirandello on the theme dear to him of the fragmentation of reality, through a device created to replace it “.

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Once again, it is imperative not to oppose the theses of technology apologists to those of its detractors. The creative value, in this case, is in the synthesis: always from “Visioni Digitali”: “the fact of simply tracing elements of continuity and discontinuity between the tools (…) risks losing the essence of things”.

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