Shaun Roberts

Robert Whitman: Local Report 2012

The Stanford Arts Institute presented the international telecommunications performance installation, Local Report 2012, by pioneering multimedia artist Robert Whitman.

Local Report 2012 was an international media and telecommunications work in which Robert Whitman used live video and audio reports from approximately ninety participants around the world. Whitman used these reports to create a live sound and video performance, composing what he calls “a cultural map of the world.” Local Report 2012 was the latest version of a performance concept that Whitman began in the 1972, in which reporters spread throughout New York City made calls over pay phones and the reports were broadcast on a local radio station. Performances have evolved with technological advances, moving from pay phones to cell phones, to video cell phones.

Local Report 2012 had two components: the live real-time gathering of the news reports and the display of the sound and video work. During the performance each reporter made two calls to the performance area. One call was to make and send a 20-second video clip of something in their city they choose to record. A second call was a brief verbal description of what the reporter sees at that moment Whitman received calls and conducted the event from the Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in New York City and project the images and audio in real time in the performance space, which was  simultaneously broadcasted to viewing centers here at Stanford and in Paris.

Stanford student Jaron Moore worked with the Stanford Arts Institute, Whitman, and Shawn Van Every to develop new cellphone software designed specifically for reporters to use for this performance.