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The April 1997 First Edition

Felippe Flies To Vienna Oudeis Jobs
April 1997

April made some step down and others climb up...
Communication in and out of the computer takes our breath away...
And late night theatre performances leave us motionless.
Oudeis creates jobs...
And keeps the airlines busy...


1150 Vienna, Austria, EUROPE
Holochergasse 34-34a
tel. (++43) 1/982 95 25
fax. (++43) 1/983 49 35


A theaterproject that shows
Odysseus´ journey all around
the world on RL stages and
one Cyberstage - at the same
time, connected via the
A work in progress.
mail to: info@oudeis.org

The last two weeks of April 1997, Oudeis Vienna hosted a visitor of one of the stations of Oudeis´ travels. Felippe Rosenburg of Rio de Janeiro met with Gernot, Monika and the rest of the team to discuss and help define our next steps. Two days before he left, he tried to sum up his experiences and provide a glance into Oudeis´ future.

Status Quo: Felippe, what exactly made you come to Vienna in the first place?
Felippe: Oh, that´s a hard question... I don´t really know what to say. Let´s see: First of all, I wanted to get to know the Vienna Crew. I knew Gernot before but not the others.
Status Quo: Where did you meet Gernot first?
Felippe: I have known him for two years now. When I lived in Austria we did a project together, which was called the ŃSonnenfeld" (sunfield) project. It was an initiative sponsored by the city of Vienna which was meant to bring cultural events (performances, shows etc.) to the north of Vienna, the part which we call "Transdanubia". It is the part at the far side of the Danube.
Status Quo: So you met him first not via the Oudeis project?
Felippe: No, this was totally independent of Oudeis. We got in contact again when Gernot asked me whether I knew a possible stage in Brazil, in February 1996. The formal working contact was set in November 1996 when Vienna´s Technical University agreed to participate.
Status Quo: And what is your impression of the rest of Vienna´s Crew?
Felippe: It´s sad to say, but I strongly feel that my stay was far too short to make close contact with them. For example, outside the kispro meetings I met Monika only yesterday [28.04, three days before he left], the same with Rainer.
Status Quo: And from the official, working side?
Felippe: I strongly feel that the agreement with the Ars Electronica has focused Oudeis Vienna. It has been a big motivation and provided a distinct direction in which to move. I find that you always need a focus of interest, be it in living or in working together, and the Ars can be that for Oudeis. Also, it can stress and enhance the experimental character of Oudeis.
Status Quo: And besides the personal contact with the team, what other advantages might your visit have had?
Felippe: Oh, it certainly would have to be communication - wise. It is still quite a lot easier to talk to people in real life, even though I think the net aspects of Oudeis to be extremely interesting from an academic, methodological way. That is really something as yet unheard of, the world wide cooperation with the use of the Internet to put together a piece of art. These things have put Oudeis onto a level of interest for everybody. Especially the cultural exchange between Brazil and Austria will benefit to a great extent. Oudeis can get this exchange away from a mere transportation of certain cultural oddities from Brazil to Austria and vice versa.
Status Quo: By the ways of new communication media?
Felippe: Yes, of course. Telecommunication is currently undergoing such a tremendous process of change, all over the world; a new era is dawning. There is privatisation everywhere, and an enormous new market is growing for several new communication technologies. This affects Brazil as well as Austria. In all the events in Rio, one topic will always be this common developments.
Status Quo: The much used and abused ŃGlobal Village"?
Felippe: Exactly. And this ought to be the exact function of culture: to make connections between seemingly distinct levels and areas, to show the common aspects. This is what Oudeis is really based on, not Homer nor the Internet. Although the tension between this masterpiece of Ancient Greek literature and the already mentioned new telecommunication media used as a tool to bring the piece of art to life is extremely important and interesting, too.
Status Quo: So, did face to face communication help you to make up your mind about, say, certain aspects you were not clear on when you came?
Felippe: I felt that some technical things needed clarification. But now I think that we will be able to make up our minds about some of them only after the prototype at the Ars will have shown its capabilities. I am, in part, here as an official representative of the Catholic University of Riow which wants to cooperate on the technical side. I think some things are clearer to me now, though. Net communication does have its weak sides - for some things it is simply not enough, although it is also a great benefit in other ways. I think it accounts for some lacks in coordination we experienced. The cooperation levels should be made much clearer so that everybody exactly knows what to do at every given moment.
Status Quo: Were you able to make new contacts here? You were in search of sponsors, too, we understand.
Felippe: I have been to the Foreign Ministry of Austria to get support for the prototype phase, i. e. money for the transport of the equipoment and the crew. I talked to Frau Kothanek who agreed to an official application of ours. She did not give any money yet, though, but the contact was intensified. Also, contact to Vienna´s Museum of Modern Art was established. This would be a good opportunity as I work with Rio´s Museum of Modern Art.
Status Quo: Okay, thank you for the interview and have a good flight home.

Status Quo
The oudeis News

A monthly Internet publication providing background information, news and links concerning the progress of oudeis - a world wide odyssey and developments and projects in the world of Internet theatre and culture.
Responsible for the contents: Monika Wunderer and Georg Leyrer
Send any comments or articles to your editor.
Oudeis is a worldwide theater project taking advantage of the Internet as transport medium as well as stage ("Cyberstage", "Cyberaudience"), using the World Wide Web. For the implementation of the software needed, we are searching for technicians. Also, due to a reshuffle in Oudeis Vienna, two jobs on the artistic and managing side are vacant. If you are interested in participating, please contact us.

In our play, actors are performing on stages around the world in real time, a real actor on one stage is visualized as lightcone on the other stages. The voices of the actors are transmitted over the internet to the other stages and to the cyberaudience. Additionally, biometical data of the actor is gathered by sensors, transferred over the network and visualized using light cones. On the real stages, information about the play (like text, maps, network performance) is displayed on four screens located around the stage.

Assistant Director
Needs to speak and write English, good or excellent knowledge of the new media technologies. Tasks include mail communication, artistic work and more.

Public Relations and Press Contacts

The implementation of software required for a successful performance is best seperated into the following groups:

Technical Project Management
  • creation of a detailed technical concept (interfaces between software components)
  • supervision and coordination of the software implementation
  • coordination of the technical apsects with the rest of the team
  • coordination and control of the system during the performances.
Web Design
Design & implementation of the front end for the cyber audience using common WWW techniques. This front end has to visualize:
  • the position of the actors on the stage in abstract form
  • the running text of the performance
  • the voices of the actors (possibly using RealAudio)
  • some information before and after the performance as well as in pauses
  • providing feedback for the cyber choir
Sound System
Design and implementation of the software system required for sound processing in cooperation with the composer in Argentinia. This includes:
  • distribution of sound streams (real actors voice) to other stages
  • mixing and playback of sound streams received from other stages
  • playback of sound effects (contained in a sound library) representing the cyber choir as requested by the cyber audience
Screen Design
Design & Implementation of software for the display of data before, after and during the performance:
  • running text of the performance (in local language)
  • visualization of the sound (scores, ....)
  • a map showing Odysseus travelling
  • ...
Server Programming
Implementation of server-side software required for
  • web interface
  • on-stage displays
  • processing of sensor data
  • possibly sound and light, if required
  • Operator interface
Network / Communication Programming
Design and implementation of protocols and software for the transmition of data between the stages and the software components (light, sound, web, screens, ...)

Only a few requirements are listed here, some of them together with the details have to be worked out by the implementors or will be specified by the director or the members of the worldwide dramaturgy mailing list at http://iguwnext.tuwien.ac.at/hypermail/oudeis-idea/ .
For the coordination of the technical aspects of Oudeis (discussion, implementation, setup, ...), the mailing list http://iguwnext.tuwien.ac.at/hypermail/oudeis-tech/ is available.

The Air That I Breathe

How creative and productive to sit in a room together, having freshly brewed coffee on the table and talking about today´s agenda. Undoubtedly what will be discussed in the following hours is an issue of an act of direct communication / by Monika Wunderer

Asking you something, looking into your eyes deeply and playing around with my pencil while I am waiting for your reply - there is no way for you to escape. You have to answer my question. While you slowly formulate your point of view, speaking faster and faster when you have found your words flowing into the right direction, I am busy jotting down every single expression you use.
Once, in a meeting that will come up some days later, I will try to tell what you have said. But each sentence I form will be an interpretation of the notes I took. I will bring up only indirect information, this message that should tell your thoughts will contain a mixture of my and your thoughts.
What about everybody writing down his or her own thoughts?
Because you will be there on this next meeting, in the room where you can smell the freshly brewed coffee that is standing on the table, you will raise your voice right away and tell me that I am wrong in my interpretation of your words. And we will start a discussion, find a common solution, develop new thoughts out of different views and leave with some results in our heads.
How have these results been communicated?
In a direct flow the Information left the sender and reached the recipient using the air as a medium. In this medium the data does not remain, it vanishes like a breeze. If they had been announced via a different medium in an indirect way, a machine would have documented and stored this data. Even if this way of communication is not direct any more this does not mean that it is one-sided (like radio for example). In the contrary! Exchanging messages via means of electronic communication for example is more bilateral and cooperative communication than every talk or speech.
Even if a talk or a lecture is using means of direct communication - the air -, information flows only in one direction. This one-sided form of communication can be best compared to web pages. These pages provide a special amount of information one can access. One can even react but will use the email program and by this start a bilateral, cooperative way of communicating.
I do not even think of the problem of encoding and decoding here, language and the use we make of it. But I want to stress that the day will come up when necessarily you and me will meet again, me walking there, you flying there and you using the train to reach the cafe at the end of the street.

The Motionless Trip

Matthew J. Saunder´s The Mobius Trip was performed thrice in April. It is the third and last part of a trilogy and deals with its protagonist´s childhood dreams. For the netcast, Cu-See Mee Software was used to transmit the ongoings on the stage. The results? A motionless trip / by Georg Leyrer

All in all, the premiere was attended via the net by four people: Steve Schrum, University professor and internet theatre specialist who is known for his theatrical and theoretical work, Nina Le Noir, who is currently writing her thesis on theatre and the Internet, Oudeis´ Monika Wunderer and your Status Quo editor. After ruining two hard disks when installing the software needed for the Cu-See Me camera, Monika and I met with Matthew a few days before the premiere in ATHEMOO to talk about the proceedings. So far, everything seemed clear enough, and so we hoped for the best.
The day of the premiere saw us in the rooms of the Department for Design and Assessment of Technology of Vienna University of Technology which kindly provided the hardware needed. Monika´s complaints about the unluckily set performance times had had no effect, and so a lot of coffee helped us to stay awake - all the performances started at 3:00 a.m. local time! But good humour had not left us, and the hour before the performance was spent in high spirits. Everybody enjoyed the preparatory work of connecting the cameras and seeing each others for the first time (except for Monika and Steve, who knew each other from a conference in August 1996). Matthew and his wife found the time to chat with us, using the cameras and microphones as well as the ATHEMOO. But when the performance started and the screenshot of the stage came in, we experienced the shortcomings of the CU-See Me principle in connection with today´s bandwidth. On our screen, Nina froze (in mid - smile, luckily) and did not move again until the performance ended. The stage shot changed approximately every 20 to 25 seconds which is actually not bad compared to what happened to Nina, but still left us unable to follow the performance.
Two to three pictures per minute comes close to a slide show. Even worse things happened to the sound, which came in waves of distortion or silence. The only connection which stayed fairly good was to Steve, whom we actually could talk to and communicate with on an averagely useful level. He experienced the same troubles with the stage picture and expressed his thoughts: "Must be a Peter Brook / Empty Space kinda thing...".
What we saw of the performance looked actually quite professionally done, especially the videos playing on screens in the back of the stage. The camera work on stage sometimes left us puzzled, though, because it seemed that the actor which was speaking was not in the picture at all. Following the performance might have been easier if we had been told the contents beforehand, but so we were left to guessing. Soon, Monika and I lost concentration and tried to stay awake by doing other things. It is a shame that a performance obviously well arranged left as little impact as did the Mobius trip. The technical problems and failures (e.g. when the stage shot vanished in mid performance) ruined the theatre experience.

To the March 1997 Edition

To the May 1997 Edition

copyright © 1997 by oudeis
1150 Vienna, Austria, EUROPE