The TRACTION project aims to contribute to opera’s renewal as a territory of cultural and social inclusion through three community opera trials in Barcelona, Portugal, and Ireland. These trials have been supported and facilitated by the new technology tools developed during the project: The Co-Creation Space and the Co-Creation Stage.
The development of the new technologies followed a user-centric design methodology, where end-users were involved in all stages of the process. This approach for interactive systems development focuses on understanding and evaluating user needs and requirements by applying human factors/ergonomics, usability knowledge, and techniques through an iterative process of design and feedback. This has resulted in a set of tools that adequately address the needs of the users, effectively supporting the open trials.
The TRACTION Toolset Wiki provides the tools, together with all relevant information, including installation details, licences details, and associated scientific publications. In order to facilitate adoption and to help the community, the TRACTION project makes the tools available for others. The Wiki also contains video tutorials for each tool, teaching how to navigate, create users, posts, live performances, watch immersive videos, helping developers to better use and extend the toolset.
The Co-Creation Space is a flexible web-based tool that allows content sharing, communication, and collaboration between professional and community participants around media objects. It was used in the pilots of INO and Liceu, for both co-creation activities and communication activities for the performance.
The Co-Creation Stage is another web-based tool that connects communities and individuals in real-time, allowing multiple co-located stages and participants to perform together. The Co-Creation Stage supports both live and on-demand media to enable art professionals and individuals from the TRACTION’s targeted communities to remotely collaborate and to produce engaging and immersive opera shows. It was used in the opera performances of SAMP (O Tempo (Somos Nós), June 2022) and LICEU (El Cabaret de la Gata, a showcase in March 2022 to show the community process of La Gata Perduda opera performance), in addition to other external initiatives like a participative and interactive theatre play called “Yo… en un banco verde” by the company Utopia (December 2021).
Apart from the Co-Creation Space and Stage, TRACTION has developed a number of tools for further evaluating and testing co-creation for social transformation. They are also available in the Wiki:
- The Social VR Lobby: an immersive environment that allows audience members to talk about the show in Social VR, after it has taken place.
- Immersive Adaptive Player: a web-based 360° video player with the support of a novel video adaptation algorithm with audio prioritisation, ambisonics support and accessibility features.
- Face and Object Recognition Module: an extension to the Co-creation Space that processes every video in the platform and automatically generates tags based on face and object recognition for improving searches.
- Encoding API: self-contained Express app for the Co-creation Stage for uploading media files to Amazon AWS S3 and starting encoding jobs for multiple resolutions.
- Content Adaptation Algorithms: new algorithms to improve the quality of live and on-demand video adaptation for the Co-creation Stage.
With the Wiki and all the documentation, we hope to make it easy for others to use, integrate, and extend the toolkit, helping them with their artistic visions. Even though the TRACTION project primarily focused on opera, we believe the toolset will be useful for other artistic domains such as theatre and dance. With these resources, we hope to help artists to continue the work on co-creation initiated by TRACTION.