“Can we Find Serendipity in Event Planning During a Pandemic?” – Polyniki Katrantsioti
Without disregarding the immense loss that the entertainment industry faced through the year 2020, it is important to note that there has been a huge leap in what live streaming services and digital technology have to offer. By using the definition Walpole gave to serendipity, as “the art of discovering things ‘by accident and sagacity while in pursuit of something else” one could assume that the new, hybrid direction media is taking after the emergence of the covid-19 pandemic came as a result of serendipity (Darbellay, Moody, Sedooka, and Steffen 2014, 5). Finding serendipity amidst the initial chaos that the pandemic brought upon the event-planning industry, meant branching out and testing out the capabilities of online and digital technology, and eventually succeeding, in creating concerts, festivals, and events that were readily available online, with minimal cost while still providing high-quality entertainment.
This new endeavor to establish hybridity in more traditional media has been successful in most instances. Hybridity in media is ensued “by combining and possibly reconfiguring already familiar media representations” (Manovich 2013, 217). This hybridity in the covid-19 era media is manifested through the number of online events that offer the audience the chance to explore and experience events in a distinct way. This new hybrid method of approaching event planning allowed artists to test their creative limitations and opt for visually and musically unique live performances that were distributed through online streaming events. As a hybrid medium, instances like the Noting Hill Festival 2020 Livestream or Erykah Badu’s concert series, presented a new iteration of the live concert medium, offering the artists the chance to explore concerts under new circumstances. One of the most interesting iterations of the concert medium has been the concerts performed video games like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox that offer the audience/players the chance to interact with the concert virtually. Since the start of the lockdown, a virtual event designing team, “One Pit”, has been organizing and “[designing] Minecraft festival experiences like Square Garden, Aeth3r (a virtual version of the legendary West Hollywood music venue) and Lavapalooza” (Harris 2020).
Events like the aforementioned ones came as a result of an immediate need for high-quality home entertainment in times of social distancing. It did not only urge creators and organizers to test their creative limits and exploit digital technologies to the fullest, but it also changed the audience’s perspective in enjoying and cherishing live-streamed events. As a result, the future of entertainment is expected to face a shift towards digitally produced and live-streamed events since they offer availability for worldwide audiences while also presenting visuals and effects that sometimes are not attainable in physical shows.
- Darbellay, Frédéric, Moody, Zoe, Sedooka, Ayuko, Steffen, Gabriella. 2013. “Interdisciplinary Research Boosted by Serendipity.” Creativity Research Journal 26. https://doi.org/10.1080/10400419.2014.873653,
- Harris, Alisson. 2020. “Virtual concerts: the “second best thing” might actually be great”. U NEWS. https://info.umkc.edu/unews/virtual-concerts-the-second-best-thing-might-actually-be-great/,
- Manovich, Lev. 2013. “Chapter Three: Hybridization.” In Software Takes Command: extending the language of new media, 180-219. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
*Image credits: Photo by Manuel Peris Tirado on Unsplash