Google Gives You a 360° View of the Performing Arts, From the Royal Shakespeare Company to the Paris Opera Ballet

We’ve long been able to read books online. More recent­ly, the inter­net has also become a favored dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem for movies, and cer­tain­ly we’ve all heard more than enough about the effects of down­load­ing and stream­ing on the music indus­try. No new tech­nol­o­gy can quite sub­sti­tute, yet, for a vis­it to the muse­um, but as we’ve often post­ed about here, many of the muse­ums them­selves have gone ahead and made their paint­ings, sculp­tures, and oth­er arti­facts view­able in great detail online. At this point, will the expe­ri­ence of any art form at all remain unavail­able to us on the inter­net?

Not long ago, I would have named any of the per­form­ing arts, but the brains at the Google Cul­tur­al Insti­tute have now got around to those most liv­ing of all forms as well. The New York Times’ Michael Coop­er writes of our new­found abil­i­ty, through a series of 360-degree videos, to “stand, vir­tu­al­ly, on the stage of the Palais Gar­nier, among the dancers of the Paris Opera Bal­let,” ” jour­ney to Strat­ford-upon-Avon, where you can try to keep up with a fre­net­ic Alex Has­sell of the Roy­al Shake­speare Com­pa­ny as Hen­ry V, exhort­ing his troops to go ‘once more unto the breach,’ ” or “go onstage at Carnegie Hall, where the video places you smack in the mid­dle of the Philadel­phia Orches­tra as it plays a rous­ing ‘In the Hall of the Moun­tain King.’ ”

These come as part of a vir­tu­al exhi­bi­tion involv­ing “an inno­v­a­tive assem­blage of per­form­ing arts groups” that went live ear­li­er this month at the Google Cul­tur­al Insti­tute’s site. The orga­ni­za­tions, now more than 60 in total, include not just the Paris Opera, the Roy­al Shake­speare Com­pa­ny, and Carnegie Hall, but the Berlin Phil­har­mon­ic, the Vien­na State Opera, the Amer­i­can Bal­let The­ater, the Amer­i­can Muse­um of Mag­ic, the Brook­lyn Acad­e­my of Music, the Coun­try Music Hall of Fame, the John F. Kennedy Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera, and the Rome Opera. You can find the per­for­mances neat­ly divid­ed into cat­e­gories: Music, OperaThe­atre, Dance, and Per­for­mance Art.

Google’s blog describes some of the tech­nol­o­gy behind all this, includ­ing the 360-degree per­for­mance record­ings, the “indoor Street View imagery” of the grand venues where many of the per­for­mances hap­pen, and the “ultra-high res­o­lu­tion Gigapix­el” images avail­able for your scruti­ny. When you play the video above of the Philadel­phia Orches­tra, you can click and drag to view the per­for­mance from every pos­si­ble angle from your van­tage right there in the midst of the musi­cians. I can’t imag­ine what the Google Cul­tur­al Insti­tute will come up with next, but sure­ly it won’t be long before we can see things from the Black Swan’s point of view.

You can start explor­ing the 360s per­for­mances here.

via The New York Times/Google

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Bal­let Dancers Do Their Hard­est Moves in Slow Motion

New Web Site, “The Opera Plat­form,” Lets You Watch La Travi­a­ta and Oth­er First-Class Operas Free Online

40,000 Art­works from 250 Muse­ums, Now View­able for Free at the Redesigned Google Art Project

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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