2020 roundup

January brought personal loss, and lets face it the rest of the year wasn’t the best ride, but I thought I’d do a quick round up of some of the things I’ve been part of.

February

I got to go to the International Conference on Live Coding in Limerick, great fun meeting people and I presented a paper on the Live Loom. We started this conference back in 2015 and it’s been great following it around the world. The next will be in Chile later in 2021.

Later in February I organised the AlgoMech Panel on Distributed Culture together with Iris Saladino. We had really great speakers, and audiences in both Buenos Aires as well as Sheffield. Our aim was to encourage people to do more events online in a distributed fashion, rather than waste the environment with international travel for short trips of large numbers of people to generic conference facilities.. We organised this before he pandemic arrived and events overtook our aims somewhat.. I really hope we don’t go back to geographically centred academic conferences, which exclude so many people as well as damaging the environment.

March

I managed a workshop at Barnet Library and performance at the mighty Cafe Oto in London before lockdown arrived.. Then an online event the Eulerroom Equinox, again organised with the energetic and super creative Argentinian crew. This went on for over three days nonstop. It was an emotional time, again we’d been organising it since before the pandemic arrived and so were doing online performances together under lockdown conditions for the first time. Quite a few in-person events had to be cancelled and turned into solo performances from sofas and bedrooms. It was good to go through this together.

April

From April-June I ran an online TidalCycles course. I tried to make it as accessible and sustainable as possible, and I think succeeded on both counts with a pay-as-you-feel model. Feedback has been really good and people are still joining it – it’s all based on pre-recorded videos. I’ve recently made the first four weeks fully open access, with the second four weeks still pay-as-you-feel. I hope to find time to do one more four-week block in the spring. I set up a forum to host the course which has since become an active general forum for Tidal.

In the first months of lockdown there was a lot of demand for online streams, including some well paid ‘corporate’ events that I normally wouldn’t specially travel to. These fell off after a while, I guess as events started getting postponed or just not organised, and people maybe got a bit bored of watching performances on their screens? Still I had masses of fun collaborating with hellocatfood during this period.. Here’s one we did for Graham Dunning’s excellent noisequest series for example:

May

I’m particularly happy with this performance we did for a VR Algorave, organised by CNDSD and tiemposdelruido:

This solo performance for the Parisian Algovoids festival was fun too:

June

From June I had the honour of mentoring Lizzie Wilson aka Digital Selves for the Google Summer of Code, for her project on autonomous live coding. This was a great and productive experience and I’d be happy to hear from students interested in applying next year – especially those with backgrounds underrepresented in tech/live coding. An opportunity for you to get paid to contribute to Tidal (or some other free/open source project).

I also managed to submit a funding proposal of my own in June. I was really happy with the proposal, and it’ll be life changing if it comes through.. It’ll be well into 2021 before I find out though.

July

In July I presented a paper on “Algorithmic Pattern” at the lovely NIME (New Interfaces on Musical Expression) conference, as well as doing a performance using my feedforward editor. I wrote a short blog post with videos and link to the paper so won’t repeat that here. Nice to see that NIME are using the shift online during the pandemic to look for longer term ways to be less environmentally impactful.

I also co-ran a research workshop on Hybrid Live Coding Interfaces, with Shelly Knotts and Jack Armitage, which went really well. It was originally going to be part of NIME, but we decided to open it up as a free online workshop. The video recordings are available online.

August

In August I started a commission/residency type thing with call&response in London, running an online listening workshop on interference patterns and making a multichannel live coded piece. The latter will be up in Jan 2021.

Also as a lovely outcome of the Tidal Club community growing from the online course I ran at the start of the year, we ran a 24 hour stream, more or less non-stop, with 65 performances.. Here’s the playlist! So much amazing stuff.

September

Not too much happened in September, between waves I managed to get into hospital for an operation which went well but wiped me out for a while..

October

A fun quadrophonic performance at No Bounds festival, a network collaboration with CNDSD, Iris Saladino and Munshkr although I actually managed to perform from within the venue myself, with a socially distanced audience of 12 people. It was also streamed with binaural sound, here’s the archive:

November

Around the start of November I started a reading group and forum on Algorithmic Pattern, which has been a lot of fun already.

This is when we would have been organising AlgoMech festival 2020.. We decided to shelve it at the start of the year, we could have applied for emergency arts council funds but decided other people needed the money more – putting Algomech festival on is a labour of love, and it didn’t feel like we were the emergency. Here’s hoping for 2021. I did do a collaboration with Nick Potter at University of Sheffield though, running a nice live coding binaural streamed event.

December

We did another ace tidal club stream for the solstice, this time with around 80 performances.. I did probably my strangest performance of the year as part of this, sat next to a muddy stream in the dark in Ecclesall Woods in Sheffield, streaming to the world using binaural microphones. With a single bluetooth speaker on one side and the stream on the other it should sound fairly immersive on headphones..

There you go! Have a good 2021 everybody x

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