Experimental chat system. New interfaces for chat, conferencing and streaming (2020)
Who needs Zoom? We Vroom!
Communication is at the core of society and digital communication is a central part of our everyday life. It is especially critical in times of crisis and limited mobility.
Unfortunately, current digital communication platforms are:
(1) dominated by a few big players, proprietary infrastructures, and business models based on data extraction and surveillance.
(2) massively limited by a mono-culture of representation. Much like Powerpoint has limited the range of expressions by forcing its users into the format of a business presentation, no matter what their actual context is, so do the current video-communication platform force everyone into the setting of a business meeting. On that level, there is relatively little difference between proprietary and open source software. Matthew Fuller's verdict on OpenOffice "It's free software but not free thinking" applies here too.
It speaks volumes that we even lack a proper verb for digital audio-visual communication and the names of the most popular companies of a given time are used to describe what was essentially developed for business-oriented video conferences. "Zoom fatigue" is real and caused not only by too much screen time but by too much monoculture: always the same grid of video images and audio settings that filter and cut off everything that is not recognized as a 'speaker'. This is useful in the context of structured meetings and conferences, but for many other kinds of social gatherings -- cultural events, meet-ups switching between various one-to-one or small group conversations, artists or musicians performing together remotely for a remote audience including feedback and interaction -- this is hugely limiting. There is a lot of ground uncovered.
To explore some of this ground, I created this first prototype. Contemporary base technologies such as a browser and WebRTC would allow us to create more diverse technologies of video communication
The tools we use shape us. Nowhere is this less apparent than in artistic creation and thinking
live demo at echovrooms.live
a variant runs as a component on: echoraeume