Facebook Live Social Broadcasting: Project Documentation

A Project of Randall Packer, Associate Professor
Nanyang Technological University
School of Art, Design and Media

Since July of 2017, I have been directing live performances and conducting workshops exploring a technique I refer to as social broadcasting, using the Facebook Live platform. Social broadcasting is different from traditional broadcasting through aggregation of multiple broadcasts into a composite whole. We accomplish this technique using a custom shortcode created for WordPress that allows us to embed multiple live and archived Facebook Live broadcasts into an interactive video wall. We are thus able to synchronize and simultaneously play broadcasts, which enables the viewer to control the audio mix.

We consider this a unique use of both Facebook Live as well as broadcasting in general, through the exploration of collaborative projects and performances that emphasize the social potential of live broadcasting.

The following are short, rendered video clips from recent performances and workshops that demonstrate the various ways broadcasters can create projects that explore location, distance, and remote proximities as an aggregated, social broadcast experiment:

(Clip 1: Telepathic Stroll)

Four students perform a synchronized stroll through the Singapore Botanic Gardens:

(Clip 2: Sound Aggregation)

Four students perform a collaborative sound piece by creating sonic events through the activation of found objects from distributed locations in the School of Art, Design and Media:

(Clip 3: Distributed Walking)

Three students perform synchronized walking while broadcasting in different locations across the campus of San Francisco State University:

(Clip 4: Elevator Deconstruction)

Three students broadcast while riding up and down the elevator of a building at San Francisco State University. The objective was to deconstruct the architectural space of the building and the perspective of the campus environment from the elevator.

(Clip 5: Vocal Delays)

Composer and performance artist Pamela Z performs vocal effects in her studio in San Francisco while being filmed from two cameras simultaneously. The slight delay in the recording creates the effect of a duet with herself.

(Clip 6: #NeWWWorlDisorder)

This piece is entitled #NeWWWorlDisorder, a Facebook Live performance by 12 artists in 6 countries in Europe and North America performance simultaneously for 90 minutes. The resulting “chaos” of the broadcast is intended as a networked “Happening” exploring the way in which we experience social media in the full diversity of its participatory and often playful interactions.