Shobana Jeyasingh Dance: TooMortal


We’ve just started work on a multichannel sound score for Shobana Jeyasingh’s new dance work TooMortal, a site-specific piece for historic churches in the UK, Venice and Stockholm.


(Photo: JP Masclet.)

Morse Code for Overtone


We’ve just uploaded a Morse code generator for Overtone.

I’ve never been much of a fan of SuperCollider largely because of its front-end language, which I first encountered around 15 years ago (before SuperCollider even existed) and had various issues with, but Overtone (a Clojure environment for driving the SuperCollider audio engine) is a different proposition.

I’m working on a project involving online avatars and audio-rate control systems, and since Clojure+Overtone can clearly do both web interfacing and audio (all with decent multithreading semantics) it avoids the need for separate programs hooked together via OSC or any kind of plug-in or hosting setup. (We’ve already implemented Clojure for MaxMSP, and that was lined up as our Plan B.)

This Morse code generator is very much My First Overtone Program, drawing just on basic Overtone/SuperCollider idioms which I can hack together without getting too lost. Most of it is plain old Clojure coding with a bit of event scheduling, familiar from realtime media applications.

I wonder how much SuperCollider I’d have to learn to add synthetic shortwave radio interference?

Anarchy in the Organism


The Wellcome Trust-funded installation piece Anarchy in the Organism by Simeon Nelson has just gone live at the UCLH Cancer Centre. We designed and built the animation and rendering system; Rob Godman composed the multichannel soundtrack.

Monomes and Monomatic at Makers’ Guild


We are giving a short presentation at the next Makers’ Guild event: Making Sounds at the V & A on April 13th. Topics to be covered will probably include recent work with Monomatic and a bit of show-and-tell of performance techniques with the monome.

Whitney Reloaded

As half of Monomatic, I contributed an algorithmic video piece to a set of works entitled Whitney Evolved, projected at the Kinetica Art Fair last month. (Other contributors included Lewis Sykes, Evan Raskob, Mick Grierson and Paul Prudence.) Each work was inspired by the early animation work of John Whitney Senior, much of which was done using mechanical equipment many years before computers became powerful enough to render his images in real time.

This particular piece takes Whitney’s basic “rose” pattern and duplicates it into translucent layers of discs, rotating at arithmetically related speeds so that the layers drift into and out of various patterns of alignment. The virtual camera performs a continuous slow pan around the structure from poles to equator, its distance varying as it orbits.

Technology: the Whitney algorithm is written in Clojure and hosted in Field, which takes care of the OpenGL display. Projection in the P3 Ambika space courtesy of a pair of the inevitable Barco FX-20s.

Fusion Programming: From Python to Clojure and Back


Recently we’ve been working on several digital art projects using Field as a development and presentation platform but with Clojure running the core, domain-specific algorithmic code. This choice is, admittedly, partly because Clojure is new and shiny, but we also like the Emacs- and Leiningen-based development environment (complete with continuous integration testing), and Clojure’s clean functional semantics lends itself to realtime, evolutionary artworks. Since Field works at the level of Python-on-Java (via Jython), and Clojure runs in the JVM, the Python and Clojure worlds inevitably collide.

Loadbang Reloaded


We’ve been putting some effort in recently to shift our major JVM-hosted MaxMSP projects to GitHub. Most of them started out hosted privately in CVS and built using Eclipse, and then migrated to hosting in Mercurial, with a different directory structure and a fair degree of pain in getting the various Ant scripts to work again. Moving everything to GitHub made sense, but that required another rearrangement of source directories and build paths, so it was obviously time to bite the bullet and use Maven to build everything instead. This decision has lowered the maintenance effort considerably.

MaxMSP Showing and Telling


We’re workshopping, and gigging, at the M4_u (Max/MSP for Users) Convention, 13th to 14th of January, Phoenix Square, Leicester. The workshop is pretty much going to be a repeat of that given at the Cycling ’74 Expo – building an algorithmic step sequencer and abstract display system using Clojure. The gig will be monome-based, probably with some pulse sequencer action.

Plenum at Lumiere Durham

This short video shows Plenum projected onto St. Oswald’s church as part of the Lumiere Durham festival. This was the third outing for the piece this year, the first two being at Skyway (Toruń, Poland) and Valgus (Tallinn, Estonia), associated with Lux Scientia.

Coding for the Cathedral: Dreamhub at Vor Frue Kirke

We recently did a bit of coding for Dreamhub: the Lysets Lyd chill-out gig at Vor Frue Kirke required twelve Percussa AudioCubes connected into an Ableton Live set, capable of sending MIDI data to Live (to trigger clips from the sensors) and of responding to MIDI (to transform automation controller messages into colour changes). Percussa’s bundled control software wasn’t up to the task at the time, being limited to four cubes at once and a rather laborious manual setup procedure, so we built a custom Max patcher using an external object by Thomas Grill and our Python machinery to deal with the configuration and state transitions required by the set.