Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 4 (VC4)
Phenomenological Exploration on
the Lived Experience of the YouTube Creators of VC4
- the Power of Open-source, Peers, and Collaboration -
Researcher David Baek
Category Academic (MA Dissertation)
Duration 9 month (Jan 2013 - Sep 2013)
Goal To Explore the Lived experience of YouTube creators of VC4.
Method Phenomenology + Colaizzi Strategy (1978)
Keyword Digital Prosumption, Virtual Experience, Peer Collaboration, Social Production,
Grassroots, the Lived Experience, Phenomenology, and Colaizzi (1978)
Supervisor Dr. Laura Harvey
Location King's College London, United Kingdom
*Phenomenology = an academic strategy to excavate the multi-layers of human experience, feeling, and emotion.
3. Method : Phenomenology & Colaizzi Strategy (1978)
5. Implications & My Takeaway
6. Academic Reference
(Contents limitedly presented due to the length)
I was a scale performing art manager (2005 - 2011)
observed and interpreted cultures and behavior of people
to meet their taste with my production contents
holding a top-down (artist-audience / producer-consumer) perspective regarding the production and consumption of culture, knowledge, and Information
Around then, YouTube strikingly embarrassed me...
The normal people, as I called "silent audience", started making debuts online since 2006,
as individual and collectively-participatory scale.
It was a fundamental challenge to my expertise, and to the previous production and consumption system of culture and information. (See the diagram below)
On Feb 2013 in London UK, I reach out to Eric Whitacre. (the VC4 project leader & 2012 Grammy Award Winner)
I focused on Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir (VC) on YouTube for my research.
I narrowed down my research goal to explore the “VC project the 4th” and the Lived experience of the project participants on YouTube (Experience Research).
I introduced my research initiative to Mr. Eric Whitacre and obtained his approval.
2.1. Eric Whicatre's Virtual Choir 4 (VC4)
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 4 (VC4) is produced and staged on YouTube throughout the co-creation process between Eric Whitacre and his media engineers and 5906 VC4 participants from 101 countries.
Voluntary participants from 5-year-old kid to 98-year-old granny
Use their smartphone or camcorder, to record the choir parts each participant took
Eric Whitacre and Media Engineers create the final version of choir
Organically-collaborative process between two parties through the co-creation
All VC4 participants "prosume" their experience and the final virtual choir content.
2.2. Research Goal & Questions
As a traditional performing arts manager in theatre setting, I had macro "Why" and "How" questions about the prevalent practice of civic participation on YouTube.
So, I conducted a purely qualitative research that explores the experience and the lived experience of VC4 participants during the process of their co-creation and prosumption activities.
What is the cores and the essence (the Lived experience) of the VC4 participants?
What are the layers of the participants' experience?
How are the layers formulated and interact with each other?
How do the layers affect their behavior, emotion, and feeling in daily lives?
What drives the participants to participate in the collective virtual project?
How do they feel during and after the participatory debut process?
How do they perceive their labour, being, and participation in the peer production practice?
What do they expect through the participatory practice?
How they feel when they find and see themselves presented on the final YouTube show-case?
2.3. Method at a Glance
To explore these questions, this research harnessed a phenomenological qualitative research method, within the philosophical paradigm of Edmund Hussurl's phenomenology (Hussurl, 1970) and with Colaizzi data analysis strategy (1978) applied.
Briefly, I chose this research method because Phenomenology (see 3. Method for details):
is useful to illuminate and visualize the experiences created in daily setting
is good to uncover a shared communal experience
provides a fundamental paradigm for any of current qualitative research methods (Lee, 2011)