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  • Natasha Tsakos

Innovations and Adaptations in a Pandemic


Ooooooooo you know it... We've all juggled, pirouetted and back flipped when the pandemic hit, and became acrobats in a minute!




It's hard to appreciate the good, when caught in a whirlwind of change. But wisdom and research show that the best way to innovate is often through constraints. We are in a box, having to think outside of it to reinvent the box itself.

I started collecting links of interesting projects as they popped in the world and on my feed. Tickles and provocations. Some obvious, some clues, others radically imaginative.


Before moving on to our 'new normal', it may be worth looking back at these re-imaginings. As some may be more than temporary fixes, they could present new experiential models altogether.


Here is my curated collection. I've added ★★★★★ to denote my top picks.


Let me know how you reinvented yourself and industry and what your favorite activations were!


 

Physical World Activations




At the onset of 2020, my mission changed. It was time for a theatrical intervention. We needed to Scale Joy now! As the world began to zig onto digital platforms, I began to imagine how live entertainment could be produced safely and experienced immersively, and thought, "what if we created an absurdly epic car wash show?" and that is how CARABOOM came to be...



★★★★★ (you know i had to:)

CARABOOM The Greatest Carwashow on Earth! Imagine a car wash where no cars are washed, at least not literally. We are using atmospheric carwash mechanics as dynamics for drama! CARABOOM is a spectacle of silliness and physical poetry. Foam cannons, rain bars, bubble machines and human water fountains immerse participants and passengers in a splash filled adventure! There are honking concertos, microfiber dancing, awe-inspiring acts and a catharsis for everybody. https://www.caraboomlive.com





LIFE-SIZED 3D HOLOGRAMS

Virgin Media has opened a pair of dining pods for two days, one located in London and the other in Edinburgh allowing people to eat with loved ones as though they are sat in the same room. Evening Standard

LIFE-SIZED 3D HOLOGRAMS



A PLAY BY PHONE

Metaphysical Hotline is an intimate conversational performance about deep time and ecology, delivered as a 30-40 minute, one-on-one phone call from the comfort and privacy of your home.

Metaphysical Hotline is an intimate conversational performance about deep time and ecology, delivered as a 30-40 minute, one-on-one phone call from the comfort and privacy of your home.



DRIVE-IN CHOIR

How an $8 part from Walmart makes it safe for choirs to sing again Los Angeles Times

How an $8 part from Walmart makes it safe for choirs to sing again Los Angeles Times



HUGGING BOOTH

A Boy Scout troop created a 'hug booth' for nursing home residents who couldn't touch their loved ones CNN

A Boy Scout troop created a 'hug booth' for nursing home residents who couldn't touch their loved ones CNN



★★★★★

THE HOUSE IS FULL! PLANTS IN SEATS

The Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona filled its nearly 2,300 seats with plants NPR

The Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona filled its nearly 2,300 seats with plants  NPR


BINAURAL IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES

Binaural sound has created one of the most immersive theatre experiences RedShark

Binaural sound has created one of the most immersive theatre experiences RedShark



MOBILE SYMPHONY

New World Symphony musicians perform while riding along the pedestrian mall in a golf cart CBS Miami




SOCIALLY DISTANCED CONCERT

U.K. Opens First Socially Distanced Venue, Seating 2,500 on 500 Spaced-Out Viewing Platforms Variety

U.K. Opens First Socially Distanced Venue, Seating 2,500 on 500 Spaced-Out Viewing Platforms Variety



★★★★★

VIRTUAL EXHIBITION AND FILM CELEBRATING A CHAIR!

Lee Broom, a Lighting, Furniture and Accessories Designer/Brand presents Maestro, an engaging virtual exhibition and film to celebrate the launch of a new chair.




NO DANCING, JUST LISTENING

Berlin club Berghain reopens doors Yahoo News

Berlin club Berghain reopens doors Yahoo News



DRIVE-IN CONCERT + VIDEO BILLBOARDS

Live Music Returns to the Shore: ‘It’s Like Getting Your Life Back’ The New York Times

Berlin club Berghain reopens doors Yahoo News



KINKY DRIVE THRU

Drive-Thru Strip Club Serves Up Sexy (And Safe) Solution For Coronavirus Blues Huffpost

Drive-Thru Strip Club Serves Up Sexy (And Safe) Solution For Coronavirus Blues Huffpost



IMMERSIVE DRIVE-IN RAVES

Social distancing has sparked some innovative solutions for ravers eager to attend events. Edm.com




★★★★★

AN EARLY (AND SMART) PIVOT

Nick Kokonas on Resurrecting Restaurants, Skin in the Game, and Investing + Tock (create your pop up event) The Tim Ferriss Show

Nick Kokonas on Resurrecting Restaurants, Skin in the Game, and Investing + Tock (create your pop up event) The Tim Ferriss Show



DRIVE-IN DANCE SHOW

"PARKED" a one-night, drive-in dance performance in a vacant Los Angeles parking lot. Directed by: Ivan Cash & Dan Addelson. Produced by Cash Studios & Jacob Jonas The Company




IMMERSIVE SONIC EXPERIENCES

Darkfield




POD YOGA

Hot-yoga domes could be the new social-distancing fitness craze New York Post

Hot-yoga domes could be the new social-distancing fitness craze New York Post



SCHOOLS EVERYWHERE

In Denmark, schools held spring classes on playgrounds, in public parks and even in the stands of the national soccer stadium The New York Times

In Denmark, schools held spring classes on playgrounds, in public parks and even in the stands of the national soccer stadium The New York Times



SCISSOR LIFTED (interesting concept to explore)

At a Baptist church in Westerville, Ohio, the pastor recently climbed into a scissor lift and conducted a drive-in service while he was 25 feet off the ground Time Magazine




DINING PODS

In New York, restaurants like Melba’s, in Harlem have responded creatively, building new outdoors spaces that “have temporarily transformed the city” Architectural Digest

In New York, restaurants like Melba’s, in Harlem have responded creatively, building new outdoors spaces that “have temporarily transformed the city” Architectural Digest



OUTDOOR WALKING MEETINGS

A Washington media strategist, has been holding “outdoor walking meetings” six feet from another person along predetermined, lightly populated routes. Washingtonian




MOBILE CABARET

A cabaret troupe in Grand Rapids, Mich., that drives to people’s homes and puts on performances in driveways and yards. Local Spins

A cabaret troupe in Grand Rapids, Mich., that drives to people’s homes and puts on performances in driveways and yards. Local Spins



MOBILE THERAPY

Therapists, patients embrace outdoor therapy in Covid-19 pandemic CNN Health




TABLETOP ROLE-PLAYING GAME

Rules & Roberts is a D&D-like tabletop role-playing game. Instead of simply declaring their actions, however, players must propose motions that are then discussed, amended, and approved by the group as a whole.




★★★★★

REMOTE TATOO

A Robot Arm Performs the ‘World’s First’ Remote Tattoo




★★★★★ (spotted back in 2015)

HOLOGRAMS FOR FREEDOM

For the first time in world’s history and without actually breaking the law, an army of holograms protested in front of the Spanish Parliament in an original effort to combat the drastic legislative decision. Branding News

For the first time in world’s history and without actually breaking the law, an army of holograms protested in front of the Spanish Parliament in an original effort to combat the drastic legislative decision. Branding News



Digital & Virtual Activations




★★★★★

AIRBNB EXPERIENCES

Since April 2020, guests have trained with Olympic medalists, decked their holiday halls with celebrities and gone behind the scenes of K-Pop – all from the comfort of their own home.





★★★★★

AUGMENTED REALITY + THEATER + LIVE STREAMING

Dream by The Royal Shakespeare Company




DYNAMIC FILM

An AI-Powered Film/Game That’s Different Each Time You Watch (or Play?) Feeling a bit cooped up at home? We’ve got just the thing to help: a dynamic interactive film in which you play god to an evolving species of AI creatures known as “agents.”




ZOOM NIGHT CLUB

Eschaton is a surreal Zoom nightclub — and a theater for the age of social distancing. Wander this virtual nightclub where you can interact and find a new strange delight behind every doorway.

Eschaton is a surreal Zoom nightclub — and a theater for the age of social distancing. Wander this virtual nightclub where you can interact and find a new strange delight behind every doorway.



360-DEGREE INTERACTIVE ZOOM STUDIO

Tony Robbins' Unleash the Power Within 360-degree interactive Zoom studio sharing the week with 11,000 people from 67 countries tuned in




PARTICIPATING WITH YOUR PHONE DURING THE SHOW - NO APP NEEDED

Gamiotics- Seize the show




★★★★★

INTERACTIVE ONLINE COCKTAIL MAKING DRAG SHOW

Sangria and Secrets with Drag Queens online experience by Drag Taste (This experience helped me reframe my world early on in the pandemic)




★★★★★

YOU'VE GOT MAIL (REAL MAIL)

Magician who sends things at home “The Present" by Helder Guimarães presented by Geffen Playhouse.

Magician who sends things at home “The Present" by Helder Guimarães presented by  Geffen Playhouse.



SOCIAL DISTANCING FESTIVAL

Online artist’s community made to celebrate and showcase the work of the artists around the world during COVID-19

SOCIAL DISTANCING FESTIVAL Online artist’s community made to celebrate and showcase the work of the artists around the world during COVID-19



★★★★★

CONNECTING CULTURES & TIME ZONES LIVE

Long Distance Affair Presented by Juggerknot and PopUP Theatrics (one of my favorite experience in 2021 and 2022!)




SCENIC BACKGROUNDS

Gaping Void Virtual Backgrounds create more meaningful conversations, openly share ideas and encourage collaboration even at a distance. (great concept...there's more here...)

Gaping Void Virtual Backgrounds create more meaningful conversations, openly share ideas and encourage collaboration even at a distance.



Live to Online: Beautiful Adaptations




★★★★★

ZOOM MUSIC VIDEO

Ebinum Brothers X Haeni Kim "Sober"




★★★★★

ZOOM MUSIC VIDEO

The first great Zoom music video has arrived




★★★★★

ZOOM BALLET

Swan Lake Bath Ballet 27 elite ballet dancers from renowned dance companies across the globe perform a modern-day Swan Lake





VR / AR Activations




IMMERSIVE THEATER MEETS VR

TenderClaws presents an intriguing multiplayer experience set between two worlds: a jaunty vaudeville stage and the harrowing survival narrative.




★★★★★

WAVE – formerly TheWaveVR

WAVE is an entertainment technology company and creator of the world’s first multi-channel virtual entertainment platform for live concerts. The new Wave harnesses cutting-edge broadcast technology that transforms artists into digital avatars in real-time, casting them onto a virtual stage built with stunning visuals and customized interactions that fit each artist’s unique style.




BEYOND LIVE

K-Pop Concert Streaming Service Launches With SuperM, WayV, NCT Dream And NCT 127




TRAVIS SCOTT & FORTNITE

Where Can Virtual Concerts Go After Travis Scott’s Fortnite Extravaganza? | Pitchfork



Live streaming platforms:


Other Links:




Rapid Fire Reflections




Performing arts centers and art institutions worldwide had it tough, as they lost all box office revenue and major sources of funding.


As an artist and producer, I, perhaps naively, imagined these institutions would implement a design thinking methodology to reinvent themselves and:


  • Reimagine the venue’s physical space: inside, outside, its meta role in society

  • Host PACathons: hackathons engaging the community to rethink what art institutions could be

  • Leverage Crowdsourcing- Crowdfunding- Crowdcreating


2020 is the year when Art thrived as a service.



REIMAGINING THE OUTSIDE of the building to engage the community, and activate happenings. The architecture as a canvas, billboard and platform.

  • Project and broadcast live performances or past ones. i.e: New World Symphony WallCast

  • To understand market desire and sentiment, transform surveying as an art activation, a civic interactive game (via mobile app) projected on the surface of the building.

  • Engage visuals artists, dancers, writers, performers and digital artists to create installations

  • 3D mapping festival highlighting local artists

  • A building that plays music

  • Film Festival Stream, i.e: Screen Dance Festival

  • Engage visual artists to paint the Building. Take Art to the community.

  • Project Interviews highlighting members of the community

  • Deploy Podcasts (pay to hear?) i.e: Chaz Smith and Jane Elliott

  • ...

  • Augmented Reality treasure hunts


REIMAGINING THE INSIDE/real estate of the building:

  • Peephole-cameras: watch from anywhere in the world- multiple artists/groups use the venue in time slots

  • 24 hour performances available around the world- built in cameras- immersive theatre shows

  • Multi-use purpose: rethink the Performing Arts Center's space as a co-working, co-creating, pop-up, ghosts labs, space rental...

  • Interesting approach when building a new center> check out the world’s first fully demountable stadium

  • Who needed space? Who could have made use of the space?


REIMAGINING THE PLATFORM Revisiting and recalibrating the mission of a Performing Arts Center (PAC):

  • What if a PAC was not a building but a facilitator, a producer of creative innovations, artistic activations, curations, around the city. What if we stopped thinking of the venue as a the space where shows happen and as an incubator of work instead? Where the entire city becomes the stage:


  • Parks

  • Parking lots

  • Side walks

  • Bridges

  • Airports

  • Roads

  • Think of all the stores and restaurants that are closed as potential stages and partnerships

  • Swimming pools and decks

  • Balconies

  • Roof tops (drone show)


  • Online and Social Media platforms: What if a show happened inside a Wikipedia page? Or inside a google search bar? Or..


  • PAC as studio facility for content creatio, i.e: Netflix/Hollywood

  • Partnership with Apple TV- Netflix? Documentaries?

  • Shows do not need to be physical. The reach can be global

  • Virtual artists exchange programs, Social Media artists exchange programs!


INCLUSIVENESS:

  • Hire humans of all cultures, colors and creeds

  • Develop Internships

  • Diverse curation / programming

  • Look at online content makers (Youtube, Podcasts, Instagram, TikTok, etc) - don’t limit your programming to the physical

  • Diverse Programming voted by the community and tracked on a digital ledger?

  • Crazy idea: Can the public buy stock or invest in a new piece of art and get a return on investment if the work succeeds?

  • Dematerialize and Digitizing when possible


SAFETY:

  • Send people (hand crafted?) masks ahead of time branded to the show

  • Hire artists to create DIY social media videos about safety protocols


LISTENING AND LEARNING:



To be continued....

To be explored


To great re-imaginings!


Natasha



Links and thoughts jolted down during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

















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