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  • SN-0056 Creating a Digital Performance

This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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Creating a digital performance

Collection Date:
Scholar #1 Info: (if more than one scholar's process is described, copy this set for each scholar)

  • Name: Lisa Wymore
  • Email:
  • Title: Assistant Professor
  • Institution/Organization: UC Berkeley
  • Field of Study/Creative Endeavor: Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies: Modern Dance Technique, Choreography

Collector Info (can be the same as "Scholar" above):

  • Name: Rich Meyer
  • Email:
  • Title: Project Bamboo Program Manager
  • Institution/Organization: UC Berkeley
  • Name: Connor Riley
  • Email:
  • Title: Graduate Student Researcher
  • Institution/Organization: UC Berkeley

Notes on Methodology:

The collectors recorded this interview; delineated various workflows discussed in the interview and wrote them using quotes from the interview. These were then reviewed and edited by the interviewee before being posted.


The scope section is provided by the collector, with input from the scholar(s), and attempts to estimate the scope of the group that performs the processes described: How broadly do the practices described in this narrative apply to others in same field, in related fields, etc?

  1. In the opinion of the scholar, who participates in the process the story describes?
    (e.g. "just this scholar", "many people in the scholar's field of inquiry", "all academics", etc.)
  2. What is this process intended to accomplish for the scholar?
  3. Who is the intended audience of the processes described?
  4. Is this the only process the scholar uses to accomplish his/her goals?
  5. What "shared services" would help transform the story into something of more benefit for the scholar or his/her audience?  What process or processes in the story could be automated?


Please provide some keywords that will allow us to group or cluster related stories--or aspects of stories.

1. Was this story collected for a particular Bamboo working group?  If so, please include, as keywords, the appropriate group(s).

  • Scholarly Narratives

2. Suggested keywords: Does this narrative contain elements that could be mapped to these keywords?  If so, please indicate which ones and briefly describe the mapping.  Add any additional keywords in #3. (These are global keywords from this page keywords)

3. Please list additional keywords here:

document, archive, dance


For a variety of purposes, live performances need to be captured and documented in a digital medium.  This documentation could be for historical, pedagogical or promotional purposes or to create a secondary piece of art. It requires the digital capture, integration, annotation of a variety of artifacts and metadata into a cohesive whole.

To fully document a performance, a large amount of disparate information needs to be collected. There may be videos/digital data from several sources including video documentation of different views of the live performance, images and digital data used within the performance itself, computer protocols used to generate integrated media performance, photographs, programs and promotional literature to be preserved.  By collecting this information, I am trying to bring together a complete set of metadata describing the performance.

Performances are always videotaped, but must be edited to give a rich impression of the performance as a whole. For performances involving multiple artistic presentations, screen projection, audience participation, etc, it is often difficult to videotape the whole performance space in a representative way.
I work with the Co-Artistic Director of my dance company who works predominately with a program called Isadora. We build specific "patches" in Isadora to integrate with video cameras, microphones, etc. These technologies use various input devices to trigger activities that are outputted in various ways. For example a video camera may be programmed through a "patch" to pick up all yellow colors. A performer then moves into the field of view of the camera wearing yellow and this triggers a video projection to occur across the room. I also work with a portable Tele-Immersion system within performance. The system allows both dance performers and audience members to engage with each other in bi-located virtual environments in real time.

Once edited, the video becomes almost a secondary art piece, as it must showcase the performance in an artistically compelling way. At the same time, it has to stand for what actually happened at the performance, so that people who see the video have an idea of what participating in the performance was like.

I may additionally need to write descriptive text describing the events that took place. Audience participation can be an integral part of the performance and will affect my description; I am looking to descriptively document not only highly choreographed, planned elements of the performance, but the effects of unplanned participation by attendees as well.

I do not digitize most of the non-digital artifacts. I keep large files in a filing cabinet and laminate the posters and paper-based materials. Some of the photographs and press materials are saved on my computer and sometimes posted to my website (which I have a hard time keeping updated because I rely on the help of someone else). If I could get more comfortable updating my website myself this would be of great help. But to be honest the main reason I get behind in archiving my materials is lack of labor, physical support.

Currently, I do not copyright my own dances. When I work with the Tele-immersion system, the graduate students working in the lab at UC Berkeley frequently write papers on the experiments and creative work that I do in the immersion system. So this is a form of publication.

There is a need to find more sources of metadata; for instance, gathering information on attendance and how the attendees participated.

I would like to be able to create annotations of the performance video for a richer experience; specifically, I would like to be able to give credit and link to major collaborators on pieces so that they can garner more publicity.

Preservation of digital and non-digital artifacts around the performance such as the program and non-central elements of the performance are also important. For example, one performance featured dancers outside the venue using artistic movements to usher attendees inside; this was not captured, but was important to the overall experience.

Other Comments:

The information below was comprised when transcribing the interview, to make sure pieces were not missing.  If it is unhelpful, please disregard.

Digitally capture performance
Edit performance
Collect performance artifacts
Digitize non-digital artifacts
Collect metadata: performance, media, artifacts, and edited production
Annotate digital objects: performance, digitized artifacts, edited production
Append metadata: edited production, performance, artifacts, media
Integrate/edit multiple media into a digital artifact
Produce a digital production

Ingredients: Tools and Content
Performance programs
Desired metadata:

  • Collaborators and members
  • Crew
  • Date/time/location of performance
  • Stakeholders/funders
  • Types of participation
  • Creation details
  • Attendees
  • Media metadata

Editing tool: video, audio, photo, text
Integration tool: multimedia
Annotation tool
Copyright/distribution/licensing tool



Example Link


1 Comment

  1. Unknown User (

    This resonates with some work I was involved in a few years ago to develop an Australian METS profile. METS is a packaging format for content. In the Australian METS profile we developed a generic profile that dealt with requirements for descriptive metadata, persistent identifiers and preservation metadata across all types of content and a set of sub-profiles for different content models. The development of content models hasn't progressed very far as yet but the approach looks very promising. As this story shows, a performance can be a very complex object, but the components can still be described and the relationships between them expressed through a combination of descriptive metadata and logical and physical structural maps. One of the insights from the METS profile work was that a component didn't have to be digital to be represented in the package. My organisation (the National Library of Australia) needed to represent complex objects that might only have been partially digitised. Also, a loosely related combination of objects could be represented through a METS instance. The Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange(OAI-ORE) initiative is another standard addressing the need to describe and exchange aggregations of web resources and I'm sure it could be profiled to deal with non-digital objects represented by proxy through metadata.