Category Archives: misc

A Yorkshire Hack at Digital Utopias

The Arts Council Digital Utopias conference is next Tuesday, organised by Abandon Normal Devices, and I’ve been invited last minute to bring together some folks together for a Hack of sorts by the AHRC. It’ll be a relaxed affair, but hopefully some interesting activities and collaborations will emerge. Here’s the people involved so far:

Leila Johnston (Sheffield),
Victoria Bradbury (Newcastle),
Antonio Roberts (Birmingham),
Joanne Armitage (Leeds),
Shelly Knotts (Durham),
Alex McLean (Leeds),
Jake Harries (Sheffield),
John Moseley (Sheffield),
Jon Harrison (Sheffield),
Tim Shaw (Newcastle),
Holger Ballweg (Newcastle),
Lalya Gaye (Newcastle),
Rodrigo Velasco (Leeds / Mexico City),
Benedict Phillips (Leeds),
Maria X (Hull)

Conference template utopia needed

I’m co-chairing the live coding conference in July, and am trying to make some templates for it. It seems to be fashionable in my corner of academia to do academic writing in markdown these days, using the excellent pandoc tool to convert it to LaTeX or Word for submission. Here’s a quick guide for doing that.

The good thing about using markdown/pandoc though is that it also renders for the web and a bazillion formats, referneces and all. So it would make much more sense for the conference to accept papers in markdown, and then produce proceedings in both online for-web (html) and for-print (pdf) form, as well as potentially in various ebook formats, etc.

So that’s what I hope to be doing. I recognise some people won’t find learning how to use markdown and pandoc a reasonable prospect, and so will still provide word and open document templates.. But papers submitted in those formats will only be readable in PDF form.

I need some help though! If you have used markdown for academic papers, please share your experiences, favourite editors, gotchas, etc.. What advice/resources are there for people new to markdown? Any online tools that can help with collaboration? Have any other conferences gone down this route? You might also want to take a look at work in progress and comment on it and perhaps even contribute directly. Or if you think this is a terrible idea, and we should stick with the traditional word and LaTeX templates, please let me know. Thanks!

Digital media labs residency

It’s been a frantic couple of months, but somewhere in there I had the privilege of being invited into a Digital Media Labs group residency in Barrow-in-Furness.  A week of activities amongst an absolutely amazing and diverse group of ten artists working with technology. Many great things will come out of this.. You can read the lab diary entries, including mine right here. Actually, I still have one more retrospective entry to make, but since leaving the oasis that is the Octopus collective building I have been all over the place..

For now, here is the sound of a washing machine, mixed with the output of a pitch tracking algorithm:

Canute at NIME 2014

Here’s a recording of Canute at the NIME 2014 algorave.

Matthew (drill ‘n bass producer of renown) on drums and me live coding with Tidal, fully improvised. The set went down really well, although to tell the truth Matthew and I weren’t really feeling it, a combination of technical hitches at the start and stage lights making it difficult to see the crowd.. But it must have been better on the floor because we got a roaring encore, which spurred us on to produce this. Love Matthew’s reaction to the tempo change ups..

The above recording is from the desk, but here’s a video snippet for the vibe..

The Textility of Live Code in Torque

tumblr_inline_nbzlxtm1iZ1qgqy8mI wrote a short essay “The Textility of Live Code”, published in a (free to download) ebook Torque #1, a collection of writings from the excellent series of events by the same name organised (and here edited) by Nathan Jones and Sam Skinner. It’s a thoroughly interdisciplinary take on mind, language and the brain and it’s been a privilege to be involved with the project. I collaborated with Kate Sicchio on a live choreography and live code performance as part of the event series, and she also has a piece in the book, amongst many other fascinating pieces.

Live to Wallriss metarave/megarave

I’ve had an inspiring time lately, including at FARM, SNEL HEST, and most recently a week’s residency with some really marvellous people at Digital Media Labs in Octopus, Barrow. So despite being tired I really enjoyed streaming a live coded improv to a metarave/megarave event Wallriss in Switzerland, making the above recording for posterity. I found myself settling into familiar territory at times though, I need to add more features to Tidal!

A lot more events coming up, too…


meanderin meanderout


I wrote a bit of code in the excellent Gibber browser-based a/v live coding system while thinking about weaving in preparation for the Weaving Codes, Coding Weaves project which starts next week. You can play around with the code here, It needs a modern browser, such as as chromium or chrome (firefox might also work).

The block design on the left is the weaving notation for the meander pattern on the right shown above (and in my gibber code). This particular pattern is used by Ellen Harlizius-Klück to demonstrate the mathematical thinking involved in the construction of ancient weaves.

Dave Griffiths has been doing some freaky weaving software too.. Really looking forward to collaborating with Ellen, Dave and the rest of the team on this project over the next 18 months, including doing a lot of weaving with actual threads and looms.


expressAnother collaboration that has blossomed this year is Canute, with Matthew Yee-King. I’ve always been a big fan of Matthew’s spasmodic live coding and frenetic drumming, and got to play together occasionally.. But now we’re living in different cities it seemed like a bad opportunity to start playing together more regularly. We share an interest both in free jazz improv and old school techno and the hardcore continuum, and I think managed to bring these together nicely. We’ve had some great shows already including at algoraves in Amsterdam and in Corsica Studios, where we got an encore from a sweaty crowd so something must be going right. We just put up a quick website with a little bit of info and upcoming gigs.

Lud Live

I recently started collaborating with Adam Denton of Trans/Human, who has been helping make algoraves happen in Newcastle and Sheffield. Sharing an interest in undoing of technology, we’ve assumed the name “Lud”. Here’s some video from our first collaboration at the Sheffield Algorave:


Alex Keegan of Blood Sport (check this video) seemed to enjoy our improv and now we’re supporting them and the incredible Nissenenmondai at Tramlines festival in the millennium galleries in Sheffield this Sunday, at around 7pm. Always good to play on a big PA in my home town! Facebook event here.