I’m on the way to take part in a short residency in Dusseldorf, hosted by Julian Rohrhuber at the Robert Schumann School:
Fifth Experimentallabor Residency: Penelope’s Loom – Coding threads in antiquity, live notation and textile inspired programming languages
Structure can be result and origin of a dynamic process at the same time – a thought that is common to weaving, mathematics and music. Today, as programming has become a practice that is closer to improvisation than to machine control, this commonality becomes increasingly interesting for the arts. It is along these lines, in the fifth Experimentallabor Residency, that Ellen Harlizius-Klück, Alex McLean, and Dave Griffiths will rethink programming languages in the arts in conjunction with the history of weaving.
Introduction: Wed Feb 5 2014, 17:30, IMM Experimentallabor
Lots more events coming up, full list here.
Time for some reflection on some of the things I’ve made during 2013. I’ll be updating this as I remember things and details..
January was focussed on writing, including some funding applications (ultimately unsuccessful that round, but we’ll get there).
I got out a bit more in February, firstly invited over to the Node13 forum for digital arts, where I did a talk and performance about live coding. Here’s the talk:
Then in March I was invited over to Audio:Visual:Motion Redux in Manchester, bringing together a panel session with Charlie Gere and Kate Sicchio to discuss digital art, leading into a performance by Kate and I where we connected live choreography and live coding via our notations, using computer vision and machine listening. Here’s the talk:
And here’s the performance, which went OK but we were much happier with a performance we did later in the year, which unfortunately wasn’t recorded:
Onward into April, dominated by the excellent Live.Code.Fest in Karlsruhe, where I talked a bit about Tidal, and did a Slub algorave performance with Dave. We took advantage of the influx of live coders to Western Europe to push the algorave concept forward, with Nick organising one in Brighton at Volks club and me making one in London on the legendary MS Stubnitz, with some video of Section 9 and Andrew Sorensen playing at the latter here. I also organised the seventh DorkbotSheffield, which went nicely, but turned out to be the only dorkbotsheff in 2013, hopefully we’ll do better next year..
May saw more algorave activity, including some media interest, starting with an interview in Dazed and Confused. Then back on the MS Stubnitz organising another Algorave, which went well and attracted around 200 people, but was a bit stressful to pull together, as the ship was sailing the next day and the crew had a lot of other stuff to get ready for.. Really glad we managed to catch them before they sailed off, though. Dave and I rounded things off with a slightly haphazard slub set, joined by the unexplicable Elvis Ca$h, good fun. This event had a fun write-up in Wired magazine.
Also in May I collaborated again with EunJoo Shin, reproducing our Microphone installation as Communications at the New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference in Korea. Shipping the installation to Korea, and helping installing it remotely was a challenge.. We wrote the project up in a paper, “Paralinguistic Microphone“.
Then around June time I started working within roots band Rafiki Jazz, developing performance technology within the highly fluid and creative environment of large group composition sessions. Some great tracks emerged and fed into a few big performances, a real eye opener for me to be part of this and work with a huge range of fantastic musicians in one band. Some snapshots of these sessions are in this video:
At the end of June I very happily travelled to Bergamo in Italy for the first edition of xCoAx, which turned out to be a really great conference on computation and aesthetics, with a wide range of fascinating contributions. My paper was on The Textural X, and I also did a solo live coding performance in this beautiful space:
July was another busy one, first a highly successful ICSRiM performance at the AIC congress at Sage Gateshead, augmenting orchestral performance with colour animation. Then another performance of Sound Choreography <> Body Code with Kate at the Thursday Club in London, which went rather nicely but we only have this photo as proof:
The Rafiki Jazz project also continued apace, building “Ava the Avatar” with puppet maker Emma Powell, including a vocal tract of sorts, which I was developing a voice for. Here’s Ava being built:
Then on to the Deer Shed Festival, which turned out to be a lovely weekend, where Dave and I ran children’s workshops with Martyn Eggleton, and did some live coding. Dave did a fine write-up over on his blog.
The biggest thing in July though was a few weeks residency in Hangar Barcelona, organised by Lull’Cec. This felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I had great fun running a five-day workshop, writing a lot of software including a rewrite of Texture and writing documentation for Tidal, as well as drinking in the Catalan atmosphere. Here’s a demo of the new Texture:
August was mostly holidays time, including up the coast from Barcelona with my family, but I did manage to fit in one gig, another new collaboration with fantastic and highly accomplished improviser on percussion Paul Hession. The gig was at Cafe Oto in London, part of my reborn “lurk” night of people “making software to make music to drink beer to” that I last did many years ago. We had a full house, and all the performances hit the mark, spot on. Carolina Di Prospero did a nice write-up. Really looking forward to developing this collaboration with Paul further in 2014.
September saw media interest in Algorave continuing, including this interview on BBC 5live “outriders”:
The big event for me this month was the Dagstuhl seminar on collaboration and learning in live coding, bringing together a really smashing group of cross-disciplinary people to take live coding apart and put it back together over an intensive week. This was a fantastic exchange of ideas in beautiful surroundings. The seminar report is packed full of these ideas and will be published open-access in the new year.
There was also the first Rafiki Jazz gig at Sensoria festival in September, here’s a photo from a later gig at the York National Center for Early Music, showing Ava in full flow:
October was a bit of a mad one, starting with a solo live coding performance at a Perspectives on Multi-Channel Live Coding event in Barcelona. These were 16 channel performances, and I managed to do my performance remotely from my studio in Sheffield. I ran my software both locally and in Barcelona, thanks to an osc-over-zeromq hack. I surprised myself by really enjoying working in multichannel sound, and would be happy to do more of this next year..
Next was a trip to beautiful Ljubljana for EarZoom festival, where I co-organised/curated some live coding things, including doing a Tidal workshop and talk about Slub, and another intense strobe performance with xname. I always enjoy these smallish festivals, you get to chat with everyone and it feels like a community rather than an intense ordeal.. We got a feature on Slovenian TV, starting here at 3:34.
Then more Rafiki Jazz activity with a workshop and performance in York, and workshop at Platforma festival in Manchester.
Then over to Aarhus for a workshop and Slub gig that went very well.
I then did a solo performance-lecture at Goldsmiths at an event called Re-Configuring the Immune System, and then to Manchester to talk about Tidal to some functional programming enthusiasts at Lambda Lounge. Good to visit the MadLab at last.
At this point I lost my mind a bit, and decided to do a four-hour, multi-channel live coding performance streamed to Piksel Festival Norway, presented as an installation. In the event I took an hour long break for food, as everyone in Norway was having dinner as well, so it was only three hours in total. These remote performances are always a challenge in terms of audience interaction, but I got some good feedback over irc chat, and there was some kind of dancing there:
Then another solo “durational” live coding performance, just two hours this time, at White Building in London. I really enjoyed this one, I think I managed to keep it fresh for the full two hours, all live coded from scratch. I also appreciated Ryan Jordan lending me a strobe for the last section. Sadly I forgot to plug in my recording device, but the great folks from Arte TV joined me for this, so looking forward to seeing the results of their filming in the new year. Here’s a photo for now:
My final performance for November was my second with Paul Hession, this time at the always inspiring PRISM Sheffield.
November was rounded off by this interview about live coding and algorave appearing on Dutch TV:
Then into December, where things slowed down a bit, but did bring one new collaboration with Ayse Thornett at the Confluence project Sheffield, an event series bringing visual art and music together for cross-disciplinary dialogue and practice. I did my usual live coded improv, across four channels, while Ayse painted with her feet. Another great experience for future development..
After the car full of equipment I had to lug across Sheffield for Confluence, I was very happy to just be taking a ball of wool and two needles for my final performance of 2013. This one was another new collaboration, with Susanne Palzer, at her Random Access Performance (RAP) series of “technology without technology” performance art. She provides a physical platform for exploring digital art without using electricity. Susanne performed a piece where she steps on and off the platform (see here for a previous performance at the Sheffield Placard Headphone festival), and I tried to transcode every step into a knit or a pearl, finally ending up with a fabric. Coincidentally, a fellow knitter had used the same wool to knit her skirt, and here is my small rectangle hidden against it. Incredibly, the pattern on the skirt is itself a binary encoding, Monica took a pattern for a dress, but instead of following the pattern, painstakingly knitted the ASCII value of each character in it. By chance, the skirt ended up the same length as it would have done if she’d followed the pattern.
In summary a lot of performances, workshops and events, some papers, and many really inspiring new collaborations. Things got a bit too busy at times, with teaching and journal editing as well, and I’d like to be able to say I’m scaling back on the event organisation next year, but that isn’t to be, as Thor and I have been awarded funds by the AHRC for a two-year Live Coding Research Network.. A lot of fun lies ahead!
Two more performances this coming week:
First on Thursday 5th December I’m taking part in Confluence project Sheffield, including a live tai chi/dance/paint + live code collaboration with Ayşegül Thornett. Confluence is an event where visual artists and musicians meet and collaborate through discussion and performance.
The next day on Thursday 6th December I’ll be performing at Open platform, Sheffield in which I’ll be trying to do digital performance without electricity, by transcribing Susanne Palzer’s live art actions by knitting (and pearling) her binary ON and OFF actions. Open platform explores Technology without Technology through live performance in small spaces via open calls.
An algorave, two slub performances, a workshop, a lecture-performance, a live coding FP talk, two durational solo live coding performances (one two hour, one four hour), percussive free improv and these two makes eleven events in one month, as well as teaching and sorting out funding proposals for more things… I’m knackered but happy, and there’s more to come..
Leafcutter John invited me to join him for a Planet Mu set back in 2003, providing some generative beats for his wild noises. Great memories, and here’s a nice review of the evening by Dan Gusset, reproduced here as the original has gone offline:
Gig Review: Planet Mu room @ Wheels Instead of Hooves Xmas Wingdings, Electrowerkz, London, 19.12.03
On the couple of odd occasions I stuck my head into the Rephlex or Skam rooms at this gig there didn’t seem to be much going on, although that is probably more a case of unfortunate timing than rather than a reflection on the quality of the music. AFX apparently didn’t show for his set in the Rephlex room and a few upset fans spent the evening flapping from room to room trying to find him. In the Mu room a brief DJ set from Mike P had people dancing from the off, which just went to show how eager the crowd was. First up of the live acts was Leafcutter John (and his electric breasts). John’s music is, by its nature, not that easy to dance to. The crowd stopped and gawped when he started making the atmospheric noises that underpin his material. The humor value of watching him triggering various clicks and clanks by moving magnets over his false pointy breasts (his real ones are very round) seemed to keep peoples attention. The first half hour of the set took us through about half of the Housebound Spirit material, all of it sounding very new, very fresh and very live. Some of the bass played was phenomenal. I could literally feel it moving my hair and flapping my trousers. He was then joined on stage be his friend Alex who took control of the third computer (John was already using two laptops) to create some beats. This second half of the set was quite unexpected and sounded like all of his most dance orientated material (like the untitled track 9 from Microcontact or Woktech or Woods and Rivers from the Concourse ep) given a special club friendly pounding backing. This worked brilliantly and got the crowd dancing again like they were before, even if it wasn’t the complex beat programming. This new side to the Leafcutter John (and Hisfriend Alex) live experience really puts the whole thing in a totally new light and makes John’s music far more suitable from this sort of environment. For me, this was the highlight of the evening.
Next up was Chevron, who played a fantastic set of classic rave like material with pounding gabba drums, acid synth sounds, spooky samples and occasional ray-gun like sound effects provided by the modified toy known as “Ragga Weapon 2”.
Mike P (µ-ziq)’s live set was another bashing of Bilious Paths material interspersed with a couple of the older classics. All of the older material reworked a little so they sat perfectly in the set with the latest material. A couple of tracks had been added to the set since the gig reviewed back in October, otherwise the set was quite similar.
Remarc played a DJ set of old school jungle, heavily laden in his own material. Opening by scratching the siren sound from Not 4 U then launching into what is undoubtedly his best track is a great way to get things started, but made it difficult to maintain that level.
The final live set came from the Santa suited Shitmat, playing a set that was much heavier on the gabba and lighter on the mash-up and jungle elements than the one reviewed last month. The Rolf Harris mash-up was of course still present, but it was the opening Ian Dury reworking “Hit me with your gabba kick” that provided the comedy highlight of the set. This performance sorted the men from the boys and by the end of the hour the crowd was reduced considerably, although this was true of the other rooms too so many it was more to do with the time than the music. It did agitate the security guard stood at the side of the stage. He had found a drum stick and had been taping along with most of the acts all evening. When Shitmat came on and his mood changed considerably, he was stabbing at things violently and heckling.
Mike P provided another DJ set, comprising mostly jungle material, that was every bit as good as Remarc’s and Chevron finished of the night with a laptop DJ set of rave classics like Charlie Says and sped up, raved up, chart tunes like Mel and Kim’s Respectable sounding like Chipmunks. Fantastic night. Can’t wait for next year’s.
Originally posted on GussetBlog by Dan, 22.12.03.
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..