August 2011
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Month August 2011

Digital Futures in Dance Residency


We’ve been awarded an artist’s residency at DanceDigital as part of the Digital Futures in Dance National Conference this September. Our mission is to bring the Choreographic Language Agent forward from its current workshopping phase into a state where Wayne McGregor can make use of it in the creation of his new work which premieres at Sadler’s Wells in December. We present the outcomes of the residency on September 9th.

There’s more information about the residency (and the other artists based at South East Dance and Dance South West) here.

(Photo: Jonah Bokaer.)

Clojure Workshop, Expo ’74, October


We are running a workshop on concurrent patchers and data structures with MaxMSP and Clojure at the Cycling ’74 Expo in Brooklyn, October 14-16. Details to follow. For that matter, details to be designed and coded.

Anyone who wants to get a flavour of how the workshop might pan out should check out the existing Python-for-MaxMSP package, and then close their eyes and try to imagine what that might look and feel like if the underlying language were Clojure rather than Python.

I’m anticipating that full-on functional programming techniques will be new to many MaxMSP users, and the uncompromising nature of the Lisp syntax can also be a bit of a hurdle, so I’m planning to spend some workshop time getting up to speed on those aspects before looking at the concurrency features specific to Clojure itself.

Plenum: European Tour 2011


We are about to depart to Poland to install the computer platforms for Plenum, showing in Toruń from August 9th. This work by Simeon Nelson is part of the Lux Scientica festival series; the piece moves on to Estonia in September and Durham in November.


  • 9-13 August, Skyway ’11, Toruń, Poland
  • 22-25 September, Valgus Festival, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 17-20 November, Lumiere, Durham

Moving and Making


We recently participated in a workshop organised by the R-Research arm of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, teaching the Choreographic Language Agent software to the company. We are now back in software maintenance mode, applying some fixes and enhancements suggested by sessions with the company dancers. Our next period of residence with the company is at Dartington College at the end of August.

Clojure in MaxMSP


One of the things moving up my to-do list is an environment for hosting the Clojure language inside MaxMSP. Clojure is hosted on the Java JVM, just like the languages for my other MaxMSP hosting projects, Python and Groovy, although the Clojure interpreter is rather an odd beast compared to the other two. Specifically, it’s not clear to me (yet) exactly what it means to build a Max patcher with several Clojure objects inside it, and one of the strengths of Clojure is its ability to deal cleanly with concurrency and interaction between decoupled computations, so there should only really be “one” Clojure environment which everything somehow shares and uses for communication.

That aside, Clojure is good at Java interoperability, and has a built-in compiler which generates real class files for synthesised Java classes matching interfaces or extending existing classes, so getting a Clojure program into MaxMSP is just a case of configuring this machinery. (The Leiningen build tool does most of the work.)

So, proof of concept: a simple stopwatch for MaxMSP in Clojure. It’s quite stateful, and doesn’t do much with data structures or higher-order functions, so it’s a feeble example of Clojure’s power and not a very convincing use case, but it gets the ball rolling.