In our last interview with Creative Director Michael Masberg on interdisciplinary storytelling, we briefly touched on the fact that European Capitals of Culture (ECOC) change rather slowly. Now, Michael takes us further in having a closer look at the causes and posing two central questions: How can cultural institutions be beacons of digital transformation? And what potential do interdisciplinary collaborations have to address an audience that already lives digitally? In doing so, he will not only look at ECOCs, but expand our view to other cultural institutions such as theatres and museums. The focus here, however, is primarily on Germany.
As previously raised by Brendan Shelper, CEO of battleROYAL, and Nancy Braun, Director of the European Capital of Culture Esch2022, the central question of the initial concept for the Esch2022 Launch was: How can we build the crescendo for a societal momentum that takes a region’s population over the threshold into a new era? Or, in the words of Moloko: How can we “make this moment last”? Our answer: Rituals.
When cultural institutions in Germany went dark due to the strict contact restrictions in Spring 2020, creatives moved their activity from stages and other places of live encounters to the digital and hybrid realms causing some wild innovations. The rules of theatrical and live production were rewritten hourly. During this time, our creative team at battleROYAL were meant to enter the ideation phase for a major production and went fully remote. We developed our own approach, referring to it as ‘Creative Prototyping’. Let us take you on a journey of what‘s possible as soon as we take our minds off the treaded paths and start modulating the processes of ideation towards creating in and for a hybrid world.
As announced in our Mixed Reality piece, over the past months, we have tried various hybrid formats in our Extended Reality or Mixed Reality Studio (XR Studio), testing differences in the use and creativity of technical applications within this domain. We have also been working on real-life hybrid event solutions for a Fortune 500 client, as well as other digital activations for musicians and film screenings. It’s been a busy 6 months. The learning curve was sharp, and although we discovered the power of virtual elements, I still came to the belief that live cannot be replaced, but rather very powerfully enhanced by a virtual experience. For that to happen, “virtual” cannot just mean live streams but has to be engaging and new. In the following, I will share some of the insights we gained and will hopefully inspire readers to lean into interactivity in digital formats, and not to shy away from experimentation.
Another workflow technology we’ve been using in our XR Studio is Notch, which offers real-time graphics for virtual production. We spoke to the founder of Notch, Matt Swoboda, about his initial vision for the company, how that vision has changed and how to stay on top of the game when it comes to creating hybrid experiences for audiences in the coming years.