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22 June 2011
Collaborative live performances, master classes and remote auditions with advanced research networks
A dance performance by the Konic Group with artists in Brazil and Barcelona

A growing awareness of how advanced networks support performing arts production brought together over 50 people from diverse backgrounds, including artistic production, music institutions and advanced networking organisations, to the third Network Performing Arts Production Workshop, on June 15-17 in Barcelona.

Located in a small auditorium in the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the Barcelona opera house, the workshop featured a range of lectures exploring the requirements for simple one-on-one interactions to larger-scale stage productions, demonstrations of tools, and live musical and dance shows by artists performing in real time between Barcelona and remote locations in Europe, the United States and Brazil .

Interest is growing in the area of network performing arts - there were twice as many attendees as at the last NPAP workshop in 2010, with participation from several countries' NRENs (national research and education networking organisations). An air of enthusiasm permeated the three days, leading to animated discussions and a sense of excitement which filled the workshop. Participants were given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with codecs and network testing tools, discuss variable bandwidth issues, technical and organisational requirements to implement production, as well as using audiovisual and network transmissions to support teaching.

During the Codecs demonstration, participants heard about the difference between standard H.323 videoconferencing and videoconferencing with enhanced Music Mode functionality and Digital Video Transport System (DVTS). DVTS is a simple and inexpensive method of transmitting high-quality video and audio over the Internet, using uncompressed video to provide high-quality images with low latency to three or more sites in a single conference. Echodamp was also explained as an extremely useful solution to audio feedback, allowing users to fully participate in high-bandwidth, live-streaming, bidirectional content without the constant annoyance and distraction of echo. Other videoconferencing solutions for the performing arts community included ConferenceXP - an open source videoconferencing platform for academic distance learning / multi-institutional instruction and advanced collaboration scenarios, the Isabel application - an open software collaborative videoconferencing tool for supporting multipoint, application sharing and TV-like media integration, and LOLA - the low latency videostreaming system that minimises latency between remote points.

To demonstrate LOLA’s potential, Sebastiano Frattini and Laura Agostinelli performed Bela Bartok suites for two violins in real time, with one artist located in Barcelona and the other in Trieste. The two sites were connected with an end-to-end link that used the Conservatorio Tartini LAN, the Trieste Lightnet Metropolitan Optical Network, the GARR network, GÉANT, the RedIRIS network, the Centre de Supercomputació de Catalunya (CESCA) managed network, and the Gran Teatre del Liceu link to the CESCA network. Participants also saw a masterclass featuring artists from Northern Illinois University in the United States and a teacher at the Liceu. A dance performance by the Konic Group with artists in Brazil and Barcelona was held across the RedIRIS network and GÉANT, with a transatlantic link to RedCLARA, the network that interconnects various Latin American NRENs and RNP, the NREN of Brazil. A concert by the Barcelona Laptop Orchestra was held between the Liceu and another venue in Barcelona in conjunction with SONAR, the International Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art.

Further information

The third Network Performing Arts Production Workshop was hosted by the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona with support provided by RedIRIS, CESCA, GARR, Internet2 and TERENA.

TERENA has been collaborating with Internet2 and GARR, as well as other European NRENs, in organising such workshops since 2009. For more information, please see TERENA's Network Performing Arts Production Workshops webpages.