“Live Cinema” and the Challenges in Creating Narratives for “Real Time” Performances — A Solution Based on the "Structure of the Three Acts"

"Live Cinema" e os desafios na criação de narrativas para performances em "tempo real" — Uma solução baseada na "Estrutura dos três atos"

  • Ana de Jesus Caeiro Perfeito Artist and Researcher
  • Bruno Mendes da Silva Universidade do Algarve
Palavras-chave: Live Cinema, Real Time, Script Writing, Performance, Veejaying


Currently, due to the advancement of digital technologies, artists are able to "play" music and video in "real time" — in audiovisual performances that can be described as: live cinema, veejaying, glim, etc.

The live cinema genre can be explained as a cross between the techniques of veejaying (mixing videoclips in real time) with the goal of cinema (telling stories through moving pictures). However, the act of mixing and improvising the video in "real time", creates challenges for creating a coherent narrative.

This is article is based on the performative experience of Moda Vestra —a collective of artists from the Algarve (Portugal)— and it is divided in three sections. The first traces a state of the art related to this phenomenon known as "live cinema" — relating it to other similar formats and concepts that have appeared throughout history: silent cinema, cineconcerts, visual music and veejaying. In this section, we briefly review two recent live cinema performances "Super Everything" by The Light Surgeons and "Everything Is Going According to Plan" by Adam Curtis with Massive Attack.

The second section analyzes in detail the concept, morphology and work methodology of the collective Moda Vestra — which faced challenges when trying to create a coherent narrative for its real time performances.

In the third section (conclusion), we propose a narrative structure that can be used in future "live cinema" shows. This "formula" is based on the "three act structure" for cinema, developed by authors like Syd Fleld.

Biografias Autor

Ana de Jesus Caeiro Perfeito, Artist and Researcher

Ana Perfeito is an artist and researcher from south Portugal — with a degree in sciences of communication (by the University of Algarve), and several diplomas from art schools: cinematography (Restart, Lisbon); video and graphics animation (Cenjor, Lisbon); film and digital photography (Ar.Co, Lisbon). Since 2010 has been creating multimedia art works, using the formats of filmmaking, photography and live perfomances. Ana wrote this article —with Bruno Mendes da Silva— based on her artistic practice in Moda Vestra shows (2018/19).

Bruno Mendes da Silva, Universidade do Algarve

Bruno Mendes da Silva is a post-doctoral fellow in the project "The Paths that fork: hypotheses of interactivity for the cinema of the future", at the University of Algarve (UAlg). He is Vice-coordinator of the Arts and Communication Research Centre and Coordinator of the Communication Sciences Area of the School of Education and Communication (ESEC) of UAlg. He has participated in eighteen (18) scientific projects (as responsible researcher or research member) and is author of several books, book chapters and other scientific publications (about 70). He has several doctoral and master’s theses completed.

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