Rather than continue my periodic ‘things coming up’ posts I’ve made an events page that I’ll keep up to date. I’ll eventually turn it into a proper calendar feed.
A wonderful time at Dagstuhl last week. Aspects of the seminar has already been covered very nicely in blogs by Mark Guzdial, and Dave Griffiths. I’ve tended to blog about live coding over on the TOPLAP blog, but over the coming days I’ll be unravelling my thoughts about live coding here. To start with though, here’s a couple of thoughts about the Dagstuhl format.
Dagstuhl seminars fit well with live coders, because organisers are encouraged to organise on-the-fly, reacting to themes as they arise and develop through the workshop. A solid week of discussion passed very quickly, but despite the relaxing surroundings was remarkably hard work. This was in part because I was suppressing a cold throughout, to varying levels of success, but mostly because it was all so interesting, with discussions starting over breakfast and flowing through the day and into the evening.
The whole thing re-invigorated a whole host of my interests in live coding, and brought together many perspectives into a field that we could share in. As Mark and Dave have noted, this was a rather cross-disciplinary group of cross-disciplinary people, and although the odd technical discussion probably did exclude some participants, we managed to drift between discussions about education, engineering, philosophy, politics and music without hitting too many obstacles. The involvement of cross-disciplinary people – artist-programmers, engineer-ethnographers, textile-mathematicians, computer science-philosophers, and so on, meant misunderstandings were quickly identified and bridged.
I’ve been doing a bit *too* much lately. Still a lot of things on the horizon but hopefully a bit more spread out. So while I contemplate my calendar, here’s some public events I’m involved with:
- Ongoing: I had a really great time during my residency and although I’m now back from Barcelona, the residency period continues for a couple more weeks. I hope to have a release of Texture 2.0 by the end of it.
- 14th September: London Algorave with Slub and many friends, details to emerge…
- 15-20th September: The Dagstuhl Seminar on Collaboration and Learning through Live Coding, which I’m co-organising with Alan Blackwell, James Noble and Julian Rohrhuber. These seminars are legendary amongst computer scientists, and we were delighted when our proposal was accepted. The seminar will bring some truly marvellous people together for an intensive week of future thinking in beautiful surroundings, and I can’t wait. This feels like the culmination of a lot of work over the years, and should be the start of many new adventures with friends old and new.
- 28th September: The first Rafiki Jazz “declaration kriol” gig I’ll be taking part in, as part of the Sensoria Festival in my home town of Sheffield.
- 4th October: A remote, 16 channel solo live coding performance beamed to UPF, Barcelona
- 14th October: Off to EarZoom festival in Ljubljana, co-organising/curating an Algorave with them, where I’ll be performing with xname, as well as giving a talk and running a live coding workshop.
- 18th October: Another Rafiki workshop and gig, at the National Centre for Early Music in York.
- 31st October: An “algo-kriol” workshop with Rafiki Jazz at at Platforma festival Manchester.
- 7th November: The first Sheffield Algorave, as part of a week(end?) of dorky/makerly activity happening then. Again as part of Slub and joined by many other algorithmic producers.
- 12th November: A Slub performance in Kunsthal Aarhus, with a live coding workshop during the day
- 13th November:Livecoding performance at Amersham Arms as part of an EAVI night.
- 14th November: A lecture-performance at “Re-configuring the Immune System“, a student-led event at the Media&Comms dept at Goldsmiths, London. I did my PhD at Goldsmiths, looking forward to returning after far too long.
- 18th November: (provisional): A talk on Tidal at Lambda Lounge in Manchester.
- Some time during 21st-24th November: A durational live coding performance beamed to Piksel.
- 28th November: A solo live coding performance at the White Building in Hackney Wick, London.
- 12th March 2014: A talk and maybe workshop at UWE, Bristol
Xname performed using handmade circuits controlled with strobes and other lights. I used my livecoding DSL Tidal, which also sent flashing patterns to a monitor flat on the table, so xname’s system could be in sync with mine. She also directly beatmatched strobe frequencies, it turns out she has a secret DJ past.
I was pretty much hypnotised by xname’s strobes while live coding and didn’t really know how it went at the time, but am really happy with this recording. You’ll have to imagine the strobes.
I’m very happy to have a month’s residency in Barcelona coming up, starting 22nd July 2013. I’ll be running workshops (probably at the beginning, while locals are still in town) and working on some new things. It’s produced by L’ull Cec for Hangar, in the context of the Addicted2Random project, which is funded by the European culture programme. It’ll be really great to get some real focus on things I’m desperate to get done.
I’m having a bit of a breather at the moment, but here’s some of the things I am up to over the Summer:
16th May 2013
Another Algorave on the MS Stubnitz. The last one was masses of fun, and really looking forward to seeing what the next one turns up..
May 27-30 2013
15th June 2013
27-28th June 2013
A paper on the Textural X (dodgy preprint here), and a performance at xCoAx2013: Computation, Communication, Aesthetics and X in Bergamo.
11th July 2013
Another outing to London for the Thursday Club, for a presentation and performance with Kate Sicchio of our piece in development “Sound Choreography <> Body Code”. Here’s some footage from our first performance at Audio:Visual:Motion.
19th-21st July 2013
15th August 2013
A pre-warning of a gig at Cafe OTO, the return of lurk, featuring Leafcutter John, Alexandra Cardenas, Roger Dean and a new collaboration between Paul Hession and myself. Especially looking forward to this after recently realising I’ve actually seen Paul play before, several years ago with Tom Jenkinson and Matthew Yee-King:
15-20th September 2013
Co-organising the Schloss-Dagstuhl seminar Collaboration and Learning through Live Coding. Really excited about this, and we plan to do some other things around Europe before and/or after..
Taking stock of the new and fast-developing projects I’m involved with.
Sound Choreography <> Body Code
A performance which creates a feedback loop through code, music, choreography, dance and
back through code, in collaboration with Kate Sicchio. First performance is this Friday at Audio:Visual:Motion in Manchester. The sourcecode for the sound choreographer component is already available, which choreographs using a shifting, sound-reactive diagram. I’m working on my visual programming language Texture as part of this too, which Kate will be disrupting via computer vision..
Collaborating with other live coders and other musicians/video artists using algorithms, creating events which shift focus back on the audience having a seriously good time. A work in progress, but upcoming events are already planned in Brighton, London (onboard the MS Stubnitz!), Karlsruhe and Sydney. More info
Working with world music band Rafiki Jazz, making a new Kriole based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I’ll be working with a puppeteer, giving a puppet a live coded voice which sings in this new language. The puppet will hopefully become a new member of the band, created through interaction within the band. First recording session soon, with live performances to follow fairly soon after. One of the more ambitious projects I’ve been involved with!
Working with EunJoo Shin on a new version of the Microphone. Our previous version got accepted to a couple of big international festivals, but they turned out to be too big to ship! So the next iteration will have a new body, and more of a visual focus.
Slub world is a on-line commission from the Arnolfini: “You are invited to join a new, on-line, sonic world co-inhabited by beatboxing robots. Participants will be able to make music together by reprogramming their environment in a specially invented language, based on state-of-the-art intarsia, campanology and canntaireachd technology. The result will be a cross between a sound poetry slam, yarn bombing, and a live coded algorave, experienced entirely through text and sound.” All for launch in May.. Another ambitious project then.
Dagstuhl seminar: Collaboration and Learning through Live Coding
Co-organising a Dagstuhl seminar bringing together leading thinkers in programming experience design, computing education and live coding.
(An earlier version of this post was directed at some other events in addition to mine, but these references turned out to be factually incorrect and more upsetting for the people involved than I could have imagined, partly because they have been working tirelessly and successfully to address the below concerns. Sincere apologies.)
Here’s an interesting looking event: Algorave.
This event has some things in common with many events in UK electronic music; it has fine organisers and performers who are among my friends, it involves performance of computer music, and has a long list of performers,
nonefew of whom are women. I feel able to criticise this latter aspect because I am one of the organisers, I am male and so cannot be accused of sour grapes for not being invited, and because I think it’s in everyone’s interests for this situation to be put in the spotlight — we should be open to ridicule.
I went to a live coding event in Mexico City recently, they’ve built a truly vibrant live coding scene over the past two years, and gender balance seems to be a non-issue, in terms of performers, audience and atmosphere. It may have been the mezcal, but compared to the often boarish atmosphere around UK computer music events, it felt refreshingly healthy.
What can be done about it? In software engineering, if you release an all-male invited conference line-up, you will probably be quickly ridiculed and maybe shut down. While this is disasterous for the people involved, to me it signals a healthy improvement. This is not really about positive discrimination, but more about not having the same old safe line-ups built from the regular circuit of white middle class men, and doing some outreach. Note that this is a recent problem, the UK electronic music scene was in large part founded by women, who through recent efforts are only now being recognised.
I really want to organise events showcasing people writing software to make music for crowds to dance to, but I can’t find female producers in the UK or nearby who are doing this kind of thing (please let me know of any you know!). I don’t know why this is – maybe because of a general higher education music technology focus on electroacoustic music? There are fine people such as Holly Herndon further afield, but I don’t think I can afford to bring her over. There are plenty of female computer musicians, but for some reason I don’t know any making repetitive dance music. This seems a peculiar problem to the narrow focus of algorave — I was recently involved in a fairly large performance technology conference which did seem reasonably balanced across organisers, presenters, performers and audience.
For my next step, I’m looking for funding to work with experts on making generative/live coded electronic dance music more accessible to female musicians (any help with that also appreciated!). The algoraves could also have an ambient/illbient stage, which would be massively easier to programme, but I’m not sure if we’ve got the audience for two stages at this point. I’d also like to lend support for guidelines to electronic/computer music organisers to follow to improve this situation, Sarah Angliss raised this as a possible move forward. Lets see how that goes, but in the meantime feel free to ridicule any male-only line-ups I’m involved with, for the retrogressive sausage parties they are. I think that ultimately, the pressure for reform is positive.
Looking forward to 2013, some things I’m up to so far:
- 15th Feb: talk and solo performance at the Node symposium, Frankfurt
- Late Feb (date tbc): slub at the Bartlett nexus, London
- 22-24th Feb: slub at the network music festival, Birmingham
5th March: Talk at the Leeds Psychogeography Group– my sister is doing this one now!
- 14-15th March (tbc): Talk + performance at audio:visual:motion, Manchester
- 19-21st Apr: talk and slub performance, live.code.festival, Karlsruhe
- 19-21 Jul – slub performance at the deer shed festival, Yorkshire
+ more on the cards..
That was fun..
First, full slub (Dave, Ade and I) at the Mozilla party. The most interested crowd we’ve had, it was hard to get any live coding done between all the questions! Dave collected some photos from the many that appeared online..
Then to Mexico City for the week-long /* vivo */ live coding festival. They have a really great scene there, so many great accomplished performances, philosophical talks and fun workshops. They also have great food and mezcal. A festival report will hopefully appear on the TOPLAP website soon but here is some video from the 2/3 slub performance (Dave and I) there (check out the 3D and HD options..):
Then back to London for the AHRC Digital Transformations Moot, where Hester Reeve and I made an experimental, and (fairly) durational live code/art performance work, where I made marks by live coding, and Hester made marks on a blackboard-painted pole.