The League’s jump into the Interactive fray was exciting, chaotic and rewarding.
Hosted (the online portion) by ArtsJournal’s Editor, Douglas McLennan, the plenary session engaged the 1300 Delegates in a highly interactive way.
The room was set with about 100 tables, many of which were equipped with either Ethernet or power connectors. A few had spare computers for people to use.
Four large screens were hung from the ceiling throughout the room displaying live blog entries, as well as another screen with the presentation of the various speakers. The session began with presentations from the writers of various chapters of Bill Ivey’s new book. After each presentation, each table was invited to discuss the presentation and then post any questions or comments to the ArtsJournal Blog. Delegates were also encouraged to take cell phone photos of their neighbors and send along to the blog. (This quickly overwhelmed the email service so unfortunately most of those were unable to be shared during the session. (I’ve set up a FLICKR group (tag ASOL07) for anyone wanting to aggregate and share the conference photos.) Molly Sheridan posted real time blog overviews of the discussion and happenings.
Delegates were quickly engaged and also overwhelmed with information and input - a little look into the multi-tasking life of a generation of people younger then most at the session. One’s attention competed to follow the presentation of the speakers, the comments being posted on the big screens, the perspectives of neighbors, and personal reflections. One speaker commented on the challenges of presenting to an audience engaged with their meal vs. one where the audience is also engaged with their blogging.
It was chaotic, at times a little hard to follow, but it was ENGAGING. It was a terrific example of a way to draw in people to have a dialogue, and to document it in real time. Virtual participants posted blog comments from as far away as New Zealand. The Edmonton Symphony invited FaceBook friends to logon and join in.
Many of the comments I heard later in the day expressed a feeling of a bit overloaded by all the input, but at the same time, intrigued and appreciative of the experience and willingness of the League to experiment.
A few thoughts that resonated for me:
Vanessa Bertozzi - about audience participation. What it means to have 'meaningful' experiences needs to be co-authored
- If Harry Potter can make reading fun, how can orchestras experiment in an equally powerful way
Bill Ivey - 365,000 pianos were sold in 1909 - talk about citizen art and participation
Lynne Conner - The Sacralizaiton of the Arts - Up until the advent of electricity and the resulting control of the lighting of the hall, the audience was much more participatory in the experience.
Steven Tepper - Musical Mavens - example of Rhapsody online play lists created by people who want to share their musical knowledge and interests. Exploring ideas of how to connect into the social networks of these people. Many of whom include a broad cross section of musical genre’s in their ‘mixes’.
Clive Gillinson - We are now in a Global Market and these essays seem to completely miss the experiences of culture more globally. The US is left behind.
Content that matters has credibility
Brent Assink - Something is missing in these essays - how is it that people brave traffic, baby sitters, and all that to be in the hall for a live experience.
The notion that sophisticated audiences create great art - of the importance of the attentive listener who’s very act of listening creates a conversation with the performer - a mystical experience that the musician’s crave.