Liveness online in deadly times
How artists explored the expressive potential of live-streamed concerts at the face of COVID-19 in Norway
Keywords:streaming, covid-19, live-streamed concerts, modes of liveness, music industry crisis
This study was initiated as the pandemic erupted in the spring of 2020, triggered by our curiosity about the wave of Internet-mediated concerts which followed in the wake of COVID-19. The article examines what kind of social and cultural phenomenon these events were, and how their presentational and participatory potential was explored within a few, hectic spring months. Basing our analysis on interviews with 13 performers and four promoters in Norway, we find that the performances transcended traditional modes of live concerts in innovative ways, while responding to the stresses associated with the pandemic crisis. We identify three performance strategies, intimization, intensification and expansion, which in different ways rearticulated established modes of live musical expression by fusing them with the liveness of mediated communication.
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