SXSW 2021

Take Back the Net (Work): Lockdown=Innovation


COVID-19 devastated the performing arts, but restrictions surrounding lockdown became the catalyst for global collaborations between artists and indie organizations. A dancer from Iraqi Kurdistan, an Estonian engineer pioneering innovative streaming technology, a US-based program director, and a technical producer were all members of summer 2020’s “DANCEDEMIC”, a live stream event where dancers in isolation performed interactive stories of immigration incorporating live biometric data. This panel explores the challenges of global remote collaborations; networks as products and solutions; expanding the virtual body via biometrics; the democratization of streaming production and how it fostered a model for artistic and cultural engagement in the 2020s and beyond.

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  1. Artists and independent organizations who are nimble and innovative in response to lockdown are driving new models of social and cultural interaction.
  2. Biometric data can foster deeply touching personal expressions and, when live streamed, expand the performing body in a virtual space.
  3. You can do this too! Global artistic collaborations for live streamed performance on artist built and owned networks are possible.



Ellen Pearlman, Director, ThoughtWorks Arts

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