Transnational Sites of Encounter and Co-Production


With the CYNETart Festival in 2008 the Trans-Media-Akademie Hellerau (TMA) together with their partners from Madrid, Norrköping and Prague launched the project »European Tele-Plateaus - Transnational Sites of Encounter and Co-Production«. This network of virtual environments is based on the conceptual and practical activities that the TMA has been pursuing for many years and will be supported by the European Union through the year 2010. The project aims at creating publicly accessible virtual sites of sound and vision. By providing a virtual environment these spaces allow sensory-physical interactions over long distances in realtime. The visitors’ physical activities are linked and embedded in a trans-local virtual environment. Thus, so-called hyper-sites emerge which integrate various locally significant visual and sound processes via the internet. The concept of Tele-Plateaus intends to encourage interdisciplinary and intercultural ways of thinking and working as well as new forms of cross-border communication and co-operation.

Specific targets

The project is the first to realise a new kind of cross-border mobility (interactive encounter culture) on the basis of a transnational co-production that provides for intercultural dialogue in an innovative way in the form of the network-based yet physical culture of interaction.
With the support of the European Union the European participants of the project establish a permanent network of interactive virtual environments. It will configure direct audiovisual real-time interaction between the similarly configured public sites and performance stages. The results of our work within the period between 2008 and 2010 will be presented on European festivals, public sites and meeting-points and workshops in the partner cities.


Networked European „world stages” and sites of transnational encounter
In future the citizens of Madrid, Norrköping, Dresden and Prague can dance and play with each other connected via a server and appropriate network technologies, simultaneously creating pictures, sounds and light effects by means of their own movements without operating any additional interfaces. This vision of a European hyper-site is possible! It is constructed of networked audiovisual „environments” that are “composed”, “controlled” and “structured” by the movements of people from different European cities.
That means the virtual hypersite present at the same time in all cities is based on the generation of data that is available for processing to all the computers within a OSC-network. Various „movement parameters” (speed, spatial position, expansion etc.) are digitised by the camera-motion system and exchanged between computers at three sites with a technically similar configuration. At the sites the numerically coded movement parameters are transformed into audio and visual processes, so that, without time loss, the audiovisual hyper-site provides an environment for live-performances.
The project concerns the telematics of the future. Further development of public virtual hyper-sites will provide a completely new way of meeting the people in different places of the world. That does not only open new „ecological” ways of cultural communication, playing and artistic performances. It also offers other, multifaceted applications - from the interactive learning site up to the interactive living room or children’s room.
The human body itself is the determining interface of communication! The technical-artistic configuration offers the general audiovisual, sensoric and cybernetic framework serving as dynamic, synaesthetic or kinaesthetic “transformers” of performing interactions. Every user of the virtual, translocal interaction site can take part in the technical and artistic design him- or herself and create his or her own “environment”.

The first performance during the festival CYNETart_07encounter
The installation and performance Tele-Plateau_01 on November 16, 2007 in the main hall of the Festspielhaus Hellerau is the first experiment to provide the basic conditions for the successful implementation of the proposed project. The telematic performance investigates and connects different geographic, cultural and virtual space-time situations. Based on the camera-motion-sensing systems and their connection via the software OpenSound Control (OSC), three European locations in St. Petersburg (Russia), Norrköping (Sweden) and Dresden (Germany) build up a virtual „stage” or a public trans-local interaction space. With simultaneous life-performances the experimental project Tele-Plateaus_01 „generates” a hyper-site that is not only connected with but even created by physical performances in different places. The pilot project offers the experience needed for the proposed project which could be realised with the help of European Union. The pilot project is not a constituting part of the proposed project.

Sustainable co-production of trans-national virtual environments
The development of Tele-Plateaus as trans-national virtual sites of physical interactions integrates different fields and contains completely new ways of communication and cooperation. Virtual hyper-sites can be created only if different real sites work on audiovisual environments, technically and artistically. That develops new ways of permanently corresponding artistic research and development within the hyper-site. That means the trans-national hyper-site doesn’t consist of virtual environments just added to each other but that the process of production, configuration and composition of Tele-Plateaus is realised within that trans-national European hyper-site.
The configuration of audiovisual virtual environments should be realised in an integrative way and be tested and applied only within the hyper-space as an integral of all local activities. The artistic achievement is the trans-national co-production, process of permanent coordination and investigation!
In a way, it can be compared to the operation of an international space station: all technical systems, processes, objectives and strategies must be focused on one site without local or territorial borders.
The objective of all activities is establishing of the worldwide network of public Tele-Plateaus that function as experimental stages for interactions between the citizens of the world (virtual sites of the world culture). That encounter - and that is the crucial point - doesn’t force people to transcend space, to drive or to fly, it doesn’t need cars or airplanes where one is belted fix. Encounter in a hyper-space is possible as an immediate body movement and testing of worldwide interaction ability.
These new virtual „stages” are a new challenge not only for producers, actors, dancers, dramatic advisors, stage designers, choreographers, composers, media artists, programmers and technicians but also for private companies, researchers and scientists.

© Concept and artistic-scientific project management: Dr. Klaus Nicolai

The realisation of “European Tele-Plateaus” is supported by the European Commission’s »Culture« programme (2007-2013).