Rekall

An open-source documentation and analysis prototype
for digital performances and media art.

Rekall is an open-source environment for documenting, analyzing the creative process, and facilitating the recovery of works. It is a functional software prototype that allows the documentation of performances by taking into account the creative process, the reception, and the different forms of a performance.

Rekall is a prototype of a multimodal environment to study heterogeneous corpora (it brings together texts, images, sound, videos and softwares in the same workspace). It combines close reading with distant reading, manual annotation with data visualization, manual and automatic metadata extraction techniques. It is suited for humanities scholars to experiment with distant reading methodologies and expands analytic possibilities available to researchers who want to understand a creation process.

Rekall addresses the difficulties encountered by artists when restaging a performance whose technology is now obsolete and by artistic teams when remembering technical and artistic choices that have been made from one residency to another. Another goal is to help art researchers with big data issues.

Rekall is a software prototype designed for all the performing arts (theatre, dance, music, circus, puppets, performance pieces, etc.) and for interactive installations.

Document, preserve, reinterpret your works

Rekall makes it possible to:

  • document and preserve works that have technological components.
  • restage a performance whose technology is now obsolete.
  • identify the technical and artistic choices that have been made from one artist in residence program to another.

A software designed for artists, technical staffs and researchers

Rekall is designed for:

  • Stage managers: it enables rapid note-taking during rehearsals and storage/retrieval of technical data.
  • Artists: it keeps the artistic and technological components of the performance on file to ensure that it can be restaged, taking into account the built-in obsolescence of technological components and the intentions of the artists.
  • Historians: it keeps artworks on file, recording and storing information on the design process and different variants of each work, and supporting a whole range of document types.

From rehearsals to archiving

Rekall allows you to document a show at several key points during its development:

  • rehearsals: provides valuable support for stage managers and technicians.
  • staging: helps artists restage existing shows.
  • post-staging: helps historians understand the creative process.

Features

Rekall uses the metadata present in all documents of a performance in order to extract crucial data (author, date, place, keyword) then used by data visualization tools to indicate behaviors. In this way, Rekall provides an overview of the creation process and identifies the most important documents (which will then have to undergo specific preservation measures). The software can also be used during rehearsals (for example, to annotate documents, review the history of a plot sheet), or once the creation is completed (to understand its process, distinguish documents related to the work from those related to its production). Rekall is cross platform. It is developed with the Qt development framework. For each version of a document, Rekall extracts all available metadata using the open source tool exiftool. The interface is in HTML5 and CSS3.

The code is available on GitHub : https://github.com/Rekall/

The video recording annotation functionalities are available with MemoRekall.