Tech in the News: The Shows Must Go On. But They Aren’t the Same Without You.

Phil Auslander

Posted September 8, 2020

External Article: The New York Times

Philip Auslander, Professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, was quoted in the piece "The Shows Must Go On. But They Aren't the Same Without You," on September 4, 2020 in The New York Times.

The article by Amanda Hess unpacks the effects and implications of the lack of in-person audience presence at entertainment events this year, from sports to television. Auslander, whose book "Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture" examines the meaning ane execution of live performance in today's media environment, spoke about how the concept of an audience has influenced television production, even if the vast majority of those audience members are watching from their couches.


The classic three-camera setup mimicked the movement of the audience’s roving eye, perhaps aided with a pair of opera glasses. And even as TV absorbed more cinematic elements, playing with shifting perspectives and transpositions of time, it also built up conventions that simulate the feeling of liveness: recorded laugh tracks and cuts to the “live studio audience,” where the crowd of spectators is vetted for entrance, warmed up by producers and cued to applaud. And all that prompts the home audience to feel invested in the show. “Maybe even more than the performance, we identify with the audience,” Auslander said.  

Read the full article here.