elektron.art (the website is with the same name ..) is an artscience hub in Estonia established early 2020. Our opening festival at the beginning of April what we named "Spooky action at a Distance" in January (with reference to Einstein, no relation to the crisis in hand whatsoever!) turned out to be exactly that. As we are at the crossroads of tech and arts, we felt obligation to somehow solve the puzzle and come up with something more tangible than facebook live.
How we built it
With the kick-off at the Estonian Hack the Crisis hackatlon and two weeks of quite intense coding, help from Amazon AWS and local streaming provider Babahh/Videolevels, we managed to set up the https://elektron.live what was based on the streaming provider infrastructure, but had our own engine running underneath what allowed the viewers to see each other and interact. Basically like a zoom, but scalable for 1000 persons.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
At the end, we had a three-day online performing arts festival last weekend with over 3000 participants!
What it does
Surprisingly, quite many people (hundreds!) were agreeing to have their cameras on and pictures grabbed and put on the screen as a one large continuously updating mosaic. The created effect was quite like on the festival, where someone saw someone else and said in chat "hi, I can see you". It may have had the larger impact on the audience than on the preformers, but considering the surprising number of donated ticket money, it must have felt like a real festival that people were agreeing to pay for that without any obligation!
What's next for elektron.live
The festival was just a first step. Several performers who were originally listed to come and do a live performance at a stage were creating special online versions of their acts. The event gave a vague glimpse, that performing arts online, where avents on both sides of the screen are happening live, is something what is not necessarily a substitute for the theatre or live concert. It could be another totally new kind of medium what gives an entirely new spectrum of tools and methods. Much as the early cinema was a recording of the theathre until Dziga Vertov on 1929 changed it forever with its film "Man with a Movie Camera", we are at this early stage with online performances today. Current situatin gives a valuable testing ground for those technoligies and we are here to gather the like-minded people together for exploring further, where such medium could go and how we will be able to deliver existing and new experiences and energy transfer between performers and audience.
Try It out
c/c++, ffmpeg, flussonic, opencv, webrtc