• Entertainment

In a Socially Distant World, Artists Are Forging a New Era of Online Performance

2 minute read

Global efforts to restrict social gatherings have led to shuttered venues and canceled tours, cutting performing artists of all kinds off from income and opportunities to connect with live audiences. In an industry that’s often tumultuous to begin with, performers are now turning to technology-enabled alternatives to produce their art and make ends meet. The result is a newly vibrant artistic ecosystem, made possible by an army of laptops and smartphones.

For the socially distant, Zoom video chats and Instagram streams have become the new live entertainment hubs. And a handful of intrepid artists have tasked themselves with constructing these virtual spaces. Remy Kassimir is a New York comedian confined to her boyfriend’s parent’s home in Portland, Ore. She’s also the newly-minted founder of Remy’s Comedy Club, a virtual club that broadcasts twice a week live from her boyfriend’s childhood bedroom. Lance Horne has taken his lively, Monday night piano party from Manhattan’s East Village to a web stream via the site Crowdcast. And Salit Cohen-Cheng now instructs her belly dancing students as individual rectangles in a Zoom video chat grid.

TIME spoke with these three performers about carving their own digital niches. Watch the video above to hear how these artists have adapted to a new normal.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com