Live Coding and the Body

I’ve just spent a very stimulating weekend, combining an algorave in Brighton with the Live Coding and the Body symposium at Sussex University. A packed weekend: I didn’t keep notes of exactly who and what and when, so this is a rather chaotic reflection!

The algorave was in a clubby sort of room above a pub. Code from each performer’s laptop was projected on a black behind them, while some livecoded visuals in IBNIZ were projected on an adjacent wall. A good atmosphere, although I found the gig sometimes painfully loud, especially with those very forward and raw sounds which you sometimes get from coded synths.

The first set I caught was Chris Kiefer, working in SuperCollider (the old, pre-IDE version, looked like). This was excellent: very approachable danceable grooves, with a nice line in slowly changing fx. After that, Aneurin Barker Snook did a set in Tidal. It’s the first time I’ve seen this Haskell-based tool: to me it seemed quite firmly targetted at algorave, rather than a more general approach to coding music performance. A very harsh set, if I remember correctly, but still musical and interesting.

From this point on, my memory is a little blurred. A very abstract and glitchy set from Norah Lorway: not sure what tool she was using as she did not have time to plug into the projector. Also Charlie Roberts playing his own web-based Gibber language, with a nice line in livecoding the ascii text. Oh, and… Mico Rex – bonkers! In a good way: cardboard boxes, SC code, and exuberant singing.

The symposium programme turned out to be a little different from the published one: once again, this will be a bit disorganised as I didn’t keep accurate notes. A fascinating range of disciplines and interests in the room, including people working in music, fine art, architecture, dance, analog synthesis, social anthropology, and more. Some of the highlights I recall:

  • Marije Baalman gave a very, very cool performance of her piece ‘Wezen’, a tour-de-force of live SuperCollider code combined with sensor gloves.
  • Renick Bell’s presentation sparked off quite a lively debate, bringing to the table his reinterpretation of the pragmatic philosophy of John Dewey. Some deep questioning of his philosophical approaches ensued, led by David Berry in particular.
  • David Ogborn gave us two treats. The first was a multi-layered coding piece, with Pbindef’s in SuperCollider being generated by another piece of SC code and programatically ‘typed’ onto the screen, leaving David free to add in a solo part on electric guitar. On day two, he talked us through a stimulating range of people, ideas and references as a follow up.
  • Andrew R Brown talking about a spectrum of approaches to controlling algorithms, from text to gestural controllers, and points in between: also a nice demonstration of his own rig, using impromputu combined with a simple bank of sliders and switches on an iPad mini.
  • Alex McLean shared some of his work in collaboration with dancer Kate Sicchio.
  • Andrew Duff gave a lively and fun talk/demo on the modular synth scene, liberally illustrated by humorous gifs from the Muff Wiggler forums. A lot of gear porn here, really, including mention of the Pismo: ok, that’s it, I’m hanging on to mine, one day I’ll get it up and running again!
  • Cecile Chevalier drew some comparisons between livecoding and the work of Jackson Pollock, although as we unpicked that, perhaps a slightly problematic parallel…

Overall, a very pleasant long weekend in the very pleasant seaside town of Brighton. The Sussex University campus was very comfortable, as was the wonderful Dutch bike I hired from Amsterdammers.

Other things I learned about:

Final braindump, below an archive of all the #lcatb tweets (some of the attributions here probably wrong, collected this list in a rather hacky way…):

Great response – mod syths @yaxu suggests that we don’t react against the digital but instead software, which is ‘generally awful’ #lcatb
berrydm 12:18pm via Twitter for iPhone

Andrew Duff showing his own personal “Orac” and modular synths at Live Coding and the Body #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/RTq06khkYC
thormagnusson Jul 05, 2:06pm via iOS

Here @allthesixes666 presents a graph that should resonate with many computer musicians’ experience #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/qE3aFcqBYT
Retweeted by _sshaw and 4 others
thormagnusson 11:52am via iOS

#lcatb Afternoon kicking-off with @berrydm & Nick Rothwell coding as collaborative fist class discipline http://pic.twitter.com/DtGJ7tB68v
Retweeted by musicSussex and 5 others
thormagnusson 12:08pm via iOS

Live coding the modular synths #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/msuYv3o5vr
Retweeted by musicSussex and 3 others
thormagnusson 12:08pm via iOS

@ad_tpim Does ‘lowres’ modular syth demo at #lcatb symposium @SussexUni http://instagram.com/p/qG3rrrKD16/
thormagnusson 11:52am via iOS

Andrew Duff’s great modular synth setup at Live Coding and the Body seminar. Cool! #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/5e7M3Bk7Wp
pauwly 12:01pm via Twitter for Android

Andrew Duff @allthesixes666 blames his modular addiction on close friend @RussellHaswell #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/e14heqdtKE
thormagnusson 11:52am via iOS

#lcatb Pismo, very nice, I’ve already got one :)
pauwly 11:43am via Twitter for Android

Great talk by David Ogborn d0kt0r0.net #Livecoding #acousmonium #spacialisation #emodiment #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/CM9eLPhBFi
tedthetrumpet 11:35am via Hootsuite

http://ow.ly/i/68GoK David Ogborn offering some leads to follow #lcatb
renick 11:21am via Twitter for Android

@berrydm wish an AI were running traffic on the way to #lcatb today…
Show Conversation
pauwly 11:00am via Twitter for Android

Open questions about control through gesticulation and code in live performance #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/LuQZVgmsL9
lukechurch 10:55am via TweetDeck

Watching Andrew Brown merge gestural control via an iPad and a text programming language at #lcatb, we should add this to #DynamoBIM soon.
tedthetrumpet 10:51am via Hootsuite

#lcatb Andrew R Brown reflecting on the balance between textual and gestural control
berrydm 10:44am via Twitter for iPhone

Day 2- Live Coding and the Body on a Sunday (!?!) with Andrew Brown (gestural controllers & code description) #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/AuCgcdjeNC
TanyaMGoncalves 10:43am via Twitter for Android

#LCATB – sad that today is my last day of confrences #untilnexttime http://pic.twitter.com/E4TsL7KpoY
tedthetrumpet 9:28am via Hootsuite

Day 2 of Livecoding and the Body starts soon: great to be here, meeting interesting people, and learning stuff http://livecodenetwork.org/body/ #lcatb
TanyaMGoncalves Jul 05, 3:47pm via Twitter for Android

@d0kt0r0 performing live #LCATB http://pic.twitter.com/qRegzVZdhh
Retweeted by d0kt0r0 and 1 others
yaxu 12:31am via Twitter Web Client

Super discussions at the live coding at the body symposium, check out the #LCATB hashtag.
Retweeted by supersg559
yaxu 12:31am via Twitter Web Client

Soviet synthesizer bridged occultism and electronic music — will be of interest to #lcatb http://boingboing.net/2012/06/27/syn…
thormagnusson Jul 05, 2:06pm via iOS

#lcatb Afternoon kicking-off with @berrydm & Nick Rothwell coding as collaborative fist class discipline http://pic.twitter.com/DtGJ7tB68v
Retweeted by giovamusic and 5 others
TanyaMGoncalves Jul 05, 5:10pm via Twitter for Android

@yaxu @yaxuprime Alex McLean #LCATB http:// pic.twitter.com/k99dG29Rcf
shelly_knotts Jul 05, 5:10pm via Twitter Web Client

nice to have a few controversial comments – referring to live coding as a gendered practice is fairly problematic #lcatb
tedthetrumpet Jul 05, 5:04pm via Hootsuite

#lcatb interesting discussion around livecoding compared with the work of Jackson Pollock
cappelnord Jul 05, 4:58pm via Twitter Web Client

#lcatb people: Thanks for tweeting!
kunstwissen Jul 05, 4:36pm via Twitter Web Client

Micorex ask: why should a live coder be on stage? after presenting some of their practice: hitting buttons, singing, dancing… moving #lcatb
Retweeted by sicchio and 1 others
danny_bright Jul 05, 4:28pm via Twitter for iPhone

Awesome – cardboard boxes full of wires and joysticks – surely the best controllers #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/RbPS0HWbjm
Retweeted by livecodenet
kunstwissen Jul 05, 4:40pm via Twitter Web Client

@kunstwissen some responses:challenging context of performance, sharing experience, put emphasis on coding as a cultural practice #lcatb
Retweeted by livecodenet
kunstwissen Jul 05, 4:36pm via Twitter Web Client

@d0kt0r0 performs with a multi channel live coding demon which is //not evil #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/ykZZ2mXne0
Retweeted by tedthetrumpet and 1 others
kunstwissen Jul 05, 4:36pm via Twitter Web Client

A brilliant presentation by @cassieldotcom on code and choreography. #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/b7gFQNJJN9
Retweeted by livecodenet and 6 others
shelly_knotts Jul 05, 2:33pm via Twitter Web Client

next symposium: ‘Live Coding and Socks’? ;) #lcatb
Retweeted by livecodenet
pauwly Jul 05, 3:00pm via Twitter for Android

We’re flying now – forget Deleuze #lcatb
Retweeted by livecodenet
pauwly Jul 05, 2:39pm via Twitter for Android

Hester Reeve – Why might we choose to use the body live? The audience as witness and not consumer. #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/J607tF57lE
Retweeted by livecodenet and 1 others
berrydm Jul 05, 3:46pm via Twitter for iPhone

Next Marije Baalman live coding a set #lcatb http://marijebaalman.eu http://pic.twitter.com/7bpQtKBNYk
Retweeted by livecodenet
TanyaMGoncalves Jul 05, 3:47pm via Twitter for Android

#lcatb David Ogborn performs – #guitar meets #SuperCollider #generative #code http://pic.twitter.com/HYZjf8YTCH
Retweeted by livecodenet and 1 others
danny_bright Jul 05, 4:15pm via Twitter for iPhone

Lots of interesting people, talks, presentations and performances so far at #lcatb @musicSussex
sicchio Jul 05, 3:36pm via Twitter for iPhone

Performance #2 Marije Baalman http://marijebaalman.eu – making the code sweat! #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/HJkM9EtNDO
Retweeted by livecodenet and 1 others
pauwly Jul 05, 4:09pm via Twitter for Android

@d0kt0r0 performs with a multi channel live coding demon which is //not evil #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/ykZZ2mXne0
Retweeted by shelly_knotts and 1 others
TanyaMGoncalves Jul 05, 3:47pm via Twitter for Android

@d0kt0r0 performing live #LCATB http://pic.twitter.com/qRegzVZdhh
2 retweets
berrydm Jul 05, 3:46pm via Twitter for iPhone

David Ogborn playing guitar & live coding set – interesting use of live generated code #lcatb d0kt0r0.net http://pic.twitter.com/skVRCI1AcX
sicchio Jul 05, 3:36pm via Twitter for iPhone

Trying to keep up with Live Coding and the Body tweets #lcatb
1 retweets
tedthetrumpet Jul 05, 3:31pm via Hootsuite

#lcatb surrounded by all these coders, I should probably just *ask* someone why my Pbindef won’t .play until I .stop it :)
thormagnusson Jul 05, 2:06pm via iOS

Hester Reeve – Why might we choose to use the body live? The audience as witness and not consumer. #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/J607tF57lE
Retweeted by berrydm and 1 others
pauwly Jul 05, 2:39pm via Twitter for Android

A brilliant presentation by @cassieldotcom on code and choreography. #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/b7gFQNJJN9
Retweeted by readywriting and 6 others
thormagnusson Jul 05, 2:06pm via iOS

A very provocative slide #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/3C86R3jig6
Retweeted by livecodenet
TanyaMGoncalves Jul 05, 1:49pm via Twitter for Android

Chats about #livecoding, I’m having a little too much fun right now. #LCATB http://pic.twitter.com/bvjctMorDH
Retweeted by livecodenet
pauwly Jul 05, 1:52pm via Twitter for Android

Here is the programme for the conference Live Coding and the Body 2014 #lcatb http://livecodenetwork.org/body/
Retweeted by goldsmif and 2 others
tedthetrumpet Jul 05, 12:14pm via Hootsuite

#lcatb Renick Bell is trying to get the body *out* of performance (!?)
Retweeted by livecodenet
tedthetrumpet Jul 05, 12:14pm via Hootsuite

Now we have Renick Bell on pragmatic aesthetics ad live coding #lcatb http://renickbell.net/doku.php
Retweeted by livecodenet
berrydm Jul 05, 11:00am via iOS

Heideggerian phenomenology might give some useful notions for conceptualisation of live coding practice see http://beingintheworldmovie.com #lcatb
Retweeted by livecodenet
berrydm Jul 05, 11:54am via Twitter for iPhone

@livecodenet new discipline love coding? #lcatb
Retweeted by livecodenet
berrydm Jul 05, 11:48am via Twitter for iPhone

“@_TheTerminator_: @berrydm I am a cybernetic organism. Living tissue over a metal endoskeleton.” #lcatb
Show Conversation
kaoskorobase Jul 05, 11:45am via Twitter for iPad

I warned you.. @_TheTerminator_: @berrydm Skynet became self-aware at 2:14am Eastern time, August 29. #lcatb
Show Conversation
pauwly Jul 05, 11:38am via Twitter for Android

Now discussing livecoding blind & connecting machine directly to brain function..its a little after 11am ;D #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/EH3lbJqNJb
Retweeted by livecodenet
pauwly Jul 05, 11:38am via Twitter for Android

So @thormagnusson outlines his scary brain control live coding ideas. Skynet will soon be here via ixi lang http://ixi-audio.net/ixilang/ #lcatb
berrydm Jul 05, 11:24am via Twitter for iPhone

Live coding and contextual computing – interesting possibilities for new frameworks for creativity and sonic arts #lcatb
livecodenet Jul 05, 11:22am via Twitter for Android

Marije Baalman providing analysis of love coding interaction loop. Wonders about live coding with eyes closed #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/2AAPW6L6dl
thormagnusson Jul 05, 11:01am via Twitter Web Client

A fantastic group of people have convened in the Creativity Zone at Sussex to discuss Live Coding and the Body #lcatb // @livecodenet
Retweeted by livecodenet and 6 others
berrydm Jul 05, 11:15am via Twitter for iPhone

How obduracy of the computer can be used to feedback electromagnetic waves into music & sound- Laptop Music (Reuss) – v. Cybernetic #lcatb
TanyaMGoncalves Jul 05, 11:06am via Twitter for Android

#LCATB http://pic.twitter.com/VyS5fNmbHm
berrydm Jul 05, 11:00am via iOS

Thanks for prompting hashtag @berrydm ;D Here we go, going to be great! #lcatb
berrydm Jul 05, 11:03am via Twitter for iPhone

First speaker is Marije Baalman #lcatb http://marijebaalman.eu
thormagnusson Jul 05, 11:01am via Twitter Web Client

“Michel [Waisvisz] was only interested in code if he could make it sweat” (Sally-Jane Norman) #lcatb
tedthetrumpet Jul 05, 11:02am via Hootsuite

#lcatb so far I’ve learned how to pronounce ‘NIME’ and ‘Gibber’
tedthetrumpet Jul 05, 11:01am via Hootsuite

Sally Jane Norman introduces the first panel #lcatb http://pic.twitter.com/wlrKhgS6hz
Retweeted by thormagnusson
berrydm Jul 05, 10:58am via Twitter for iPhone

We have a hashtag for the Live Coding and the Body conference #lcatb @SussexUni
Retweeted by thormagnusson
berrydm Jul 05, 10:59am via Twitter for iPhone

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