UMS/Ross Design Jam
SUN, OCT. 16, 2022

“…new tools…”

To create an enterprise – a business, nonprofit, or other kind of venture – requires putting together a set of building blocks. These typically include capital to fund the business, suppliers to provide tangible inputs, labor to do the work, and distribution to get the products or services to the public. There are also internal processes to manage putting all these building blocks together, and often a legal form (corporation, LLC) to house them.

Over the past generation there has been a revolution in accessing each of these sets of building blocks due to innovations in information and communication technologies (ICTs). It is increasingly possible to snap together the parts of a business the way kids snap together Legos. As more and more of our lives are intermediated by software on devices like smartphones, “enterprises” take on new and surprising forms.

Consider the restaurant industry after Covid struck. Many restaurants shifted from sit-down dining to takeout food, often delivered by services like DoorDash. But if food is ordered online and delivered to peoples’ homes, its provenance becomes something of a black box. Was it really cooked by a local Italian restaurant, or was it produced in a ghost kitchen by temp employees and delivered by a precarious “self-employed” delivery driver? And when we returned to sit-down dining we often discovered that our waiter and cashier were replaced by a QR code.

This was not the only possible path. New technologies can also be deployed to open up intriguing possibilities that preserve the art in food. The food truck industry is full of culinary innovations and fast-evolving mashup cuisines (kimchi burritos with harissa sauce?), all enabled by social media and smartphones. (Food trucks normally post their menu and location on social media so customers can find them and get directions via GPS, something not widely possible before the advent of smartphones.)

What might that look like for the performing arts? What are the building blocks of new ways to get arts into the hands (and eyes and ears) of audiences? Participants in the design jam shared many new innovations that open up new possibilities, which you can explore at the links below.


See the slide deck for Jerry Davis’ presentation on New Tools at the Design Jam:

Tech tools enabling new formats for performing arts:

EXA: VR for creating new instruments

PatchXR: Modular toolkit for VR music collaboration

 Mixhalo: studio quality real-time audio streaming

The Volume: Industrial Light & Magic’s virtual set design

Jacktrip: low-latency internet connection for music performers

Public Theater’s Mobile Unit

Tunecore: Disintermediate online music sales

Saganworks: Virtual environments to store and display information

Layers: Software tool for video music creation

CultureVerse: Using 3D scanning technology to create virtual access to art, culture, and knowledge

EIRO: A joint project of Leon Speakers and CultureVerse, “an inter-dimensional beacon and portal between virtual and physical realms”

Meow Wolf: Immersive and interactive experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration

Collective Encounters: Participatory theater for social change

Prime Product Apprentice Cooperative: Works to design experiences, build companies and organizations, practice crafts, cultivate relationships, and grow as people. 

 Sound Co-Op: A worker-owned coop of sound mixers.

Ampled: A coop for musicians

The Chosen: Crowdfunding a TV series

Medici.TV: World’s largest catalogue of classical music videos

Other Resources:

“Why Streaming Doesn’t Pay.” Cory Doctorow & Rebecca Giblin, ProMarket, October 3, 2022.

“Software is Eating up the Restaurant Business — And That’s just for Starters.” Jerry Davis, I by IMD, September 16, 2021. 

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