Livestream culture has exponentially increased in the last two years. Did you know there are 13 million people streaming their lives right now? Twitch, a subsidiary of Amazon is the leading live streaming video service that has 15 million daily active users. The self-streaming culture in China is exponentially growing with hundreds streaming agencies who hire broadcasters to perform for their audience, often augmenting their bodies in real time. Over the last couple years, these platforms have boomed economically: Momo reported nearly $500 million of revenues in the second quarter of 2018, while top broadcasters making up to $100,000 per month.
On a city scale, there are more than 350 million video surveillance cameras worldwide, recording petabytes of footage everyday. City cameras stream public spaces on sites like skylinewebcams.com or earthcam.com providing public access to a new kind of real-time virtual tourism. Nvidia’s new BriefCam implements machine vision for collapsing important moments in real-time footage into a searchable database that offers real-time actionable intelligence for pedestrian, traffic, security and consumer analytics. In the wild, hundreds of cameras placed in remote environments by organizations like explore.org observe landscapes and their inhabitants, human exclusion zones and endangered animals, with some cameras even attached to animal bodies. Meanwhile in outer space, NASA’s International Space Station streams a view of the earth in real time at all times.
Access to these streams has transformed the moving image into an endless current that a user can step in and out of at anytime. As content consumption becomes more arbitrary, the ritual act of waiting for the movie to end shifts to a self-curated narrative that shapes culture in a decentralized way. This LiveStreaming condition extends the human eye into commonly inaccessible environments and non-human perspectives all within the immediacy of the present moment. Furthermore, the endlessly generated content used as a basis of self expression expands the exchange between immersion into and communication through content. This visual exchange accelerates a new economy of values, where not only money, but at the same time truth, branded virtue signaling, and alternative points of view become a new form of currency in a fluctuating virtual exchange. In the lineage of expanded cinema, Current investigates what a form of expanded streaming look and feel like?