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The University of California has been deeply involved in the development of state-of-the-art video, audio and networking technology over the last ten years to present to the public the brave new world of "Telematic" concerts.

Telematics, also known as "Telepresent-performances", involve assembling musicians at different geographic locations, and using cutting edge hardware, software, and Internet 2 networks, enable them to perform as if they were in the same room, with a minimum of delay--since the equipment transmission is at near speed of light.

It takes a small army of highly skilled inter-disciplinary personnel at each location to record and film in real time these performances, and, to add a new twist, all of the video is uploaded to a "master-video-switcher" who blends, mixes and distributes the images to the different co-locations on the fly.

The net result is like Skype on steroids.

The technician consortium involved, (California Institute for Telecommunication and Information Technology, Calit2) has recently released an telematic concert from April of this year, featuring Mark Dresser on the contrabass, Myra Melford on the piano (both at UCSD), and Michael Dessen on trombone (from UC Irvine).

Dessen's image was superimposed on a screen between Dresser and Melford and in the now-available video, literally appears to be in the same room with the other two.

This is mind-boggling technology, and what is truly amazing about this collaboration, is that the UC people have wisely chosen to marry these ultra-modern technologies with music on the highest possible creative level.

Mark Dresser's music has more cutting edge than a carton of razor-blades, and this effort represents high-tech meeting high art on equal footing.

Among the invaluable behind the scenes activity were the brilliant, subtle set designs by Victoria Petrovich, and the video blending by John Crawford.

Below is Part I, of the 70 minute concert. The rest is available on YouTube.

photo by Anthony Cecena

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