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July 18, 2005

Talkaoke

whiteleys.jpg

Streamed, Spontaneous Chat with Real People!

Talkaoke consists of a doughnut shaped mobile table, hosted by a man in the middle with a microphone. Up to twelve people can sit around the table. Talkaoke is an active means of participation that is totally dependent on the context in which it is performed. There is no fixed agenda or expected outcome. Conversations are recorded for the on-line archive and can be webcast live. The people speak at Talkaoke.

Talkaoke is the brainchild of artist Michael (Mikey) Weinkove. Mikey had been working on video installations and live pieces constucting real and fictitious conversations. These were shown in UK and European galleries. In January 1997 Mikey was invited to create a one off performance at the Hydra Club, a live art club in London's East End. Mikey created Talkaoke, which was a scaled down version of a performance called "It's your shout!"

This was a previous performance with 100 invited people attending a forum with audience driven subjects and discussion. The Talkaoke format was so popular that it soon became a regular feature at Hydra.

In 1998 Talkaoke became part of the Duckie crew at their then upmarket Friday night West End club, Duckie Dancehall, where Denise joins the Talkaoke crew. Talkaoke became part of the furniture there too, and by spring Talkaoke had chewed the fat at a few of london's more leftfield clubs. In August Talkaoke did it's first festival gig at Summer Rites, a gay and lesbian festival in Brockwell Park. It was crazy stuff.

chat is the new rock n' roll

By the end of the year the Talkaoke team had given up fighting the deafening noise, late nights and intoxication of the clubs and began experimenting with a series of Talkaoke-with-accompanying-DJ-type events. The first was in winter '98 with a shortlived sunday residency at the Bug Bar, then in 99 at the Shoreditch Electricity Showrooms and the Crowbar. '99 saw Talkaoke at a number of underground parties too.

Although Talkaoke has had a website since '98 it was only when James Stevens of Radiospace witnessed Talkaoke at a party that the webcasting potential of Talkaoke was realised. The first Talkaoke streamed live by Radiospace was in April 2000 from Coffee@ Brick Lane. Webcasting rapidly became a successful Talkaoke feature. Talkaoke was invited by the Pleasance Theatre to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where all the gigs were webcast.

like a chat room but in real life

This was the beginning of the format we see in public Talkaokes today with many behind the scenes technical developments: 2 mics, speakers in a battery powered table, video projection, web streaming, Djs providing background music. Talkaoke is seen mostly at festivals and the studio sunday sessions but who knows where we will be invited next?

Posted by jo at July 18, 2005 08:45 AM

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