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11 SEPTEMBER 2014

The Virtual Choir

American composer Eric Whitacre has made several pieces using Youtube to invite participants to sing his works. This TED talk demonstrates how he can also achieve this with a live audience and remote singers.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Mik Parsons
03 JANUARY 2014

Reconstructing the proscenium arch in Jeff Desom's Rear Window

"I dissected all of Hitchcock's Rear Window and stiched it back together in After Effects. I stabilized all the shots with camera movement in them. Since everything was filmed from pretty much the same angle I was able to match them into a single panoramic view of the entire backyard without any greater distortions. The order of events stays true to the movie's plot."

(Jeff Desom)

Jeff Desom "REAR WINDOW LOOP" (2010), based on footage from Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" (1954). Duration: 20 minutes, 2400x600 pixels.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Liam Birtles
12 AUGUST 2012

Kutiman's musical melange ThruYOU is a celebration of remix culture

"What you are about to see is a mix of unrelated YouTube videos/clips edited together to create ThruYou. In other words – what you see is what you hear. Check out the credits for each video – you might find yourself.."

(Ophir Kutiel, http://www.kutiman.com/)

1). Ophir Kutiel (Kutiman), ThruYOU Project, "Kutiman–Thru–you – 01 – Mother of All Funk Chords", uploaded on 7 Mar 2009.
2). Ophir Kutiel (Kutiman), ThruYOU Project, "Kutiman–Thru–you – 08 – About ", uploaded by kutiman on 7 Mar 2009.
3). website design by Baconoppenheim [http://www.bnop.co/projects/thru–you/], 2009.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 MAY 2011

Eric Whitacre: virtual musical collaboration via YouTube

"Well a couple of years ago, a friend of mine emailed me a link, a YouTube link, and said, 'You have got to see this.' And it was this young woman who had posted a fan video to me, singing the soprano line to a piece of mine called 'Sleep.'

(Video) Britlin Losee: Hi Mr. Eric Whitacre. My name is Britlin Losee, and this is a video that I'd like to make for you. Here's me singing 'Sleep.' I'm a little nervous, just to let you know. ♫ If there are noises ♫ ♫ in the night ♫

Eric Whitacre: I was thunderstruck. Britlin was so innocent and so sweet, and her voice was so pure. And I even loved seeing behind her. I could see the little teddy bear sitting on the piano behind her in her room. Such an intimate video.

And I had this idea: if I could get 50 people to all do this same thing, sing their parts –– soprano, alto, tenor and bass –– wherever they were in the world, post their videos to YouTube, we could cut it all together and create a virtual choir. So I wrote on my blog, 'OMG OMG.' I actually wrote, 'OMG,' hopefully for the last time in public ever. (Laughter) And I sent out this call to singers. And I made free the download of the music to a piece that I had written in the year 2000 called 'Lux Aurumque', which means 'light and gold.' And low and behold, people started uploading their videos.

Now I should say, before that, what I did is I posted a conductor track of myself conducting. And it's in complete silence when I filmed it, because I was only hearing the music in my head, imagining the choir that would one day come to be. Afterwards, I played a piano track underneath so that the singers would have something to listen to. And then as the videos started to come in ...

(Singing) This is Cheryl Ang from Singapore.

(Singing) This is Evangelina Etienne

(Singing) from Massachusetts.

(Singing) Stephen Hanson from Sweden.

(Singing) This is Jamal Walker from Dallas, Texas.

(Singing)

There was even a little soprano solo in the piece, and so I had auditions. And a number of sopranos uploaded their parts. I was told later, and also by lots of singers who were involved in this, that they sometimes recorded 50 or 60 different takes until they got just the right take –– they uploaded it. Here's our winner of the soprano solo. This is Melody Myers from Tennessee. (Singing) I love the little smile she does right over the top of the note –– like, 'No problem, everything's fine.'

(Laughter)

And from the crowd, emerged this young man, Scott Haines. And he said, 'Listen, this is the project I've been looking for my whole life. I'd like to be the person to edit this all together.' I said, 'Thank you, Scott. I'm so glad that you found me.' And Scott aggregated all of the videos. He scrubbed the audio. He made sure everything lined up. And then we posted this video to YouTube about a year and a half ago. This is 'Lux Aurumque' sung by the Virtual Choir.

(Singing)

I'll stop it there in the interest of time. (Applause)

Thank you. Thank you.

(Applause)

Thank you. So there's more. There's more. Thank you so much.

And I had the same reaction you did. I actually was moved to tears when I first saw it. I just couldn't believe the poetry of all of it –– these souls all on their own desert island, sending electronic messages in bottles to each other. And the video went viral. We had a million hits in the first month and got a lot of attention for it. And because of that, then a lot of singers started saying, 'All right, what's Virtual Choir 2.0?' And so I decided for Virtual Choir 2.0 that I would choose the same piece that Britlin was singing, 'Sleep', which is another work that I wrote in the year 2000 –– poetry by my dear friend Charles Anthony Silvestri. And again, I posted a conductor video, and we started accepting submissions. This time we got some more mature members. (Singing) And some younger members.

(Video) Soprano: ♫ Upon my pillow ♫ ♫ Safe in bed ♫ EW: That's Georgie from England. She's only nine. Isn't that the sweetest thing you've ever seen?

Someone did all eight videos –– a bass even singing the soprano parts. This is Beau Awtin. (Video) Beau Awtin: ♫ Safe in bed ♫

EW: And our goal –– it was sort of an arbitrary goal –– there was an MTV video where they all sang 'Lollipop' and they got people from all over the world to just sing that little melody. And there were 900 people involved in that. So I told the singers, 'That's our goal. That's the number for us to beat.' And we just closed submissions January 10th, and our final tally was 2,051 videos from 58 different countries. Thank you. (Applause) From Malta, Madagascar, Thailand, Vietnam, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, as far north as Alaska and as far south as New Zealand.

And we also put a page on Facebook for the singers to upload their testimonials, what it was like for them, their experience singing it. And I've just chosen a few of them here. 'My sister and I used to sing in choirs together constantly. Now she's an airman in the air force constantly traveling. It's so wonderful to sing together again!' I love the idea that she's singing with her sister. 'Aside from beautiful music, it's great just to know I'm part of a a worldwide community of people I never met before, but who are connected anyway.' And my personal favorite, 'When I told my husband that I was going to be a part of this, he told me that I did not have the voice for it.' Yeah, I'm sure a lot of you have heard that too. Me too. 'It hurt so much, and I shed some tears, but something inside of me wanted to do this despite his words. It is a dream come true to be part of this choir, as I've never been part of one. When I placed a marker on the Google Earth Map, I had to go with the nearest city, which is about 400 miles away from where I live. As I am in the Great Alaskan Bush, satellite is my connection to the world.'

So two things struck me deeply about this. The first is that human beings will go to any lengths necessary to find and connect with each other. It doesn't matter the technology. And the second is that people seem to be experiencing an actual connection. It wasn't a virtual choir. There are people now online that are friends; they've never met. But, I know myself too, I feel this virtual esprit de corps, if you will, with all of them. I feel a closeness to this choir –– almost like a family.

What I'd like to close with then today is the first look at 'Sleep' by Virtual Choir 2.0. This will be a premier today. We're not finished with the video yet. You can imagine, with 2,000 synchronized YouTube videos, the render time is just atrocious. But we do have the first three minutes. And it's a tremendous honor for me to be able to show it to you here first. You're the very first people to see this. This is 'Sleep,' the Virtual Choir. ...

Eric Whitacre: Thank you very, very much. Thank you. (Applause) Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you."

(TED Talks, 2011)

Fig.1 'Eric Whitacre: A virtual choir 2,000 voices strong', filmed March 2011, posted April 2011

Fig.2 'Lux Aurumque'

Fig.3 Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 2.0, 'Sleep'

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TAGS

20102011AlaskaAotearoa New Zealandauthorship • Beau Awtin • Britlin Losee • Charles Anthony Silvestri • Cheryl Ang • choircollaborationdigital collaborationdigital narcissismdistributed interactionEgyptEric Whitacre • Evangelina Etienne • Georgie from England • globalisation • Google Earth Map • innovationinteractionintrospective technocultureIsrael • Jamal Walker • Jordan • Juilliard School • Lux Aurumque • MadagascarMalta • Melody Myers • musicnetwork societyorchestraparticipationremix culture • Scott Haines • social fragmentation • Stephen Hanson • technologically-rendered spaceTED TalksThailanduser-generated contentVietnamviralvirtual auditioningvirtual bandvirtual choir • Virtual Choir 2.0 • virtual collaborationvoicesworldwide communityYouTube

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 MAY 2007

The Laptop Studio: mobile individualisation of technologically-rendered space

"Like the walkman and the mp3 player, the laptop raises a set of questions regarding the folding of spatialities as they intertwine with new cultural practices. For instance, consideration of the interface between space and the everyday routines of laptop users raises a number of issues about the personal uses of mobile devices. On the one hand, ... the laptop is insinuated into the mobile individualisation of technologically–rendered space. It becomes a 'bubble' organised around a privatised desire for withdrawal – a kind of utopic hike into introspective technoculture. Here, the laptop becomes a dwelling, shelter or boundary. It separates the inside from the outside and functions as a nest through which creative output is hatched and nurtured, transposing the personal and affective relationship musicians have with music into an inner technological space rendered by Graphic User Interfaces, projects and folders. In many ways, this echoes the way the traditional recording studio seals itself from the outside world, both acoustically and creatively. As the French sociologist, Antoine Hennion argues, removed from the real world by sound proofing, the studio becomes an 'idealized microcosm of creation' (1989: 408) in which trial and error testing and sonic experimentation takes place".
(Nick Prior)

Hennion, A. (1989) "An Intermediary Between Production and Consumption: The Producer of Popular Music", Science, Technology and Human Values, 14, 4: 400–424.

'OK Computer: Mobility, Software and the Laptop Musician', Information, Communication and Society, 11:7, October 2008: 912–932.

Fig.1 'Clint (KA7OEI) and Randy (KG7GI) on the edge of a 1200 foot cliff overlooking much of Canyonlands National Park, using their laptop computers on the CanyonLan'

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TAGS

Antoine Hennion • cultural practiceexperimentationindividualisationintrospective technoculturelaptop • laptop musician • microcosmmobile devicemobilitymp3musicmusician • Nick Prior • OK Computer • Sony Walkmantechnoculturetechnologically-rendered spaceutopic
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