Under the Varia Broadcasts label, we focus on the organisation of events ranging from performances, film screenings, to talks. The broadcasts allow us to investigate hybrid online and offline set-ups and novel modes of audience engagement and participation. This is also an opportunity to build a stronger infrastructure for audio and video streams. In particular, due to the long-term impact of Covid19, we feel a stronger response-ability for making room for experimental socio-technical practices that explore streaming techniques.
Narrowcast is a streaming space under the Varia Broadcasts label, broadcasting events that are happening in Varia in 2021. In 2021, the station will unfold as an orbiting broadcasting channel for the physical public events in the space. The broadcasting programme is a way to further engage with ground-breaking modes of broadcasting events and inviting audiences to participate from a distance. We use free software tools, which are made and maintained by communities part of the free software movement. The interface is called 'narrowcast' because its purpose is not to reach as many people as possible but to 'speak' meaningfully to different audiences and contributors. Narrowcast believes in multichannels, bridging and different types and levels of technologies. The interface adjusts to each event and the machines of the audiences, by hosting different media sections. Thus it provides different levels of access to the listeners/watchers/participants.
By following a heuristic approach, the making of this infrastructure is also an opportunity to experiment with the possibilities of remote connectivity. We will be working through the technical challenges of online streaming maintenance (weight of video connections, compression, storage space), configurations (parallel streams, limitations) and extensions (interface design, chat and writing features). By understanding these aspects of streaming techniques better, we will work towards making a station that fits our needs, triggers streaming imaginations, and feeds back to streaming as an artistic medium.