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Hack the Quartet

Video Details

Hack the Quartet was led by the Sacconi Quartet and produced by Watershed as part of #BristolProms 2013. The aim was to experiment quickly with how new technologies could be used to augment performance of and engagement with chamber music.

30 - 31 Jul 2013

Duration: 5mins 7secs

Through July 2013 Bristol Old Vic presented #BristolProms – a new season of performances by internationally renowned artists that sought to present classical music in a more engaging and accessible way. The aim was to re-imagine how classical music could be performed, in order to break down some of the preconceptions of classical music as being stuffy and boring, returning classical music more to the mainstream popularity that it enjoyed in the late 18th Century, when Bristol Old Vic was originally built.

Watershed and the Sacconi Quartet collaborated on #BristolProms by producing a series of enhancements to the traditional performance, commissioning artists working with creative technologies to bring audiences closer to the music and to reveal more of the intimacy and feelings inherent in classical music.

As a part of this, Hack the Quartet brought together 18 talented and curious technologists and artists to collaborate for two days with the Sacconi Quartet. The hack explored the world of chamber music and whether new technologies can be used to open up and enhance it, and make the audience feel part of the quartet.

How could the participants use sensors, cameras, projectors and other technologies to help the audience listen more actively? How could they meaningfully represent how a quartet collaborates and communicates whilst performing? How could technologies be incorporated without distracting the audience or damaging the instruments?

You can read about the results of the hack here. Some participants came with half-formed ideas, while others made it up as they went along, inspired by the music played. Nothing was 100% developed because it wasn't supposed to be. The outcomes ranged from the surprising to the beautiful to the elegantly simple. You can follow the hack as it unfolded by reading the storify that gathers together updates from the participants, or these blog posts about the process.

Hack The Quartet was produced by Watershed in association with the Sacconi Quartet, Bristol Old Vic and Universal Music Arts and Entertainment as part of #BristolProms. Bristol Proms Media Partner: ClassicFM

Supported by Arts Council England