Multimedia and Live Performance




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De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


The use of interactive multimedia within live performance is now well established and a significant body of exciting and sophisticated work has been produced. However, almost all work in the field seems to start by creating at least some of the software and hardware systems that will provide the infrastructure for the project, an approach which might involve significant duplication of effort. The research described in this thesis sets out to discover if there are common features in the practice of artists from a range of performance backgrounds and, if so, whether the features of a system which might support these common aspects could be established.

Based on evidence from a set of interviews, it is shown that there are indeed common factors in work in this field, especially the intensive linking of elements in performances and the use of triggering or cuing. A statement of requirements for a generic system to support work in digital performance is then established based on interview analysis and personal creative work. A general model of live performance, based on set theory, is described which provides a rationale for the integration of digital technology within live performance. A computational model outlining the formal requirements of a general system for use in live performance is then presented.

The thesis then describes the creation of a domain specific language specifically for controlling live performance and the development of a prototype reference implementation of a generic system, the Live Interactive Multimedia Performance Toolkit (LIMPT). The system is then evaluated from a number of standpoints including a set of criteria established earlier in the study. It is concluded that, while there are many resources currently used by artists working in digital performance (a comprehensive survey of current resources is presented), none offer the combination of functionality, usability and scalability offered by the prototype LIMPT system. The thesis concludes with a discussion of possible future work and the potential for increased creative activity in multimedia and live performance.



Digital performance, Networked performance, sensors, rule-based systems, performance practice



Research Institute