Another quick cyclic extension,
it’s the weather for dnb
Another quick cyclic extension,
it’s the weather for dnb
I’m chairing this year’s FARM workshop on functional art, music, modelling and design, which is part of the International Conference on Functional Programming. The deadline is approaching, but there’s still time to put pen to paper.. Here’s the (updated) call for papers and demos:
2nd ACM SIGPLAN International Workshop on Functional Art, Music, Modelling and Design Gothenburg, Sweden; 6 September, 2014 The ACM SIGPLAN International Workshop on Functional Art, Music, Modelling and Design (FARM) gathers together people who are harnessing functional techniques in the pursuit of creativity and expression. Functional Programming has emerged as a mainstream software development paradigm, and its artistic and creative use is booming. A growing number of software toolkits, frameworks and environments for art, music and design now employ functional programming languages and techniques. FARM is a forum for exploration and critical evaluation of these developments, for example to consider potential benefits of greater consistency, tersity, and closer mapping to a problem domain. FARM encourages submissions from across art, craft and design, including textiles, visual art, music, 3D sculpture, animation, GUIs, video games, 3D printing and architectural models, choreography, poetry, and even VLSI layouts, GPU configurations, or mechanical engineering designs. The language used need not be purely functional (“mostly functional” is fine), and may be manifested as a domain specific language or tool. Theoretical foundations, language design, implementation issues, and applications in industry or the arts are all within the scope of the workshop. Submissions are invited in two categories: * Full papers 5 to 12 pages using the ACM SIGPLAN template. FARM 2014 is an interdisciplinary conference, so a wide range of approaches are encouraged and we recognize that the appropriate length of a paper may vary considerably depending on the approach. However, all submissions must propose an original contribution to the FARM theme, cite relevant previous work, and apply appropriate research methods. * Demo abstracts Demo abstracts should describe the demonstration and its context, connecting it with the themes of FARM. A demo could be in the form of a short (10-20 minute) tutorial, presentation of work-in-progress, an exhibition of some work, or even a performance. Abstracts should be no longer than 2 pages, using the ACM SIGPLAN template and will be subject to a light-touch peer review. If you have any questions about what type of contributions that might be suitable, or anything else regarding submission or the workshop itself, please contact the organisers at: email@example.com KEY DATES: Abstract (for Full Papers) submission deadline: 7 May Full Paper and Demo Abstract submission Deadline: 11 May Author Notification: 30 May Camera Ready: 18 June Workshop: 6 September SUBMISSION All papers and demo abstracts must be in portable document format (PDF), using the ACM SIGPLAN style guidelines. The text should be in a 9-point font in two columns. The submission itself will be via EasyChair. See the FARM website for further details: http://functional-art.org PUBLICATION Accepted papers will be included in the formal proceedings published by ACM Press and will also be made available through the the ACM Digital Library; see http://authors.acm.org/main.cfm for information on the options available to authors. Authors are encouraged to submit auxiliary material for publication along with their paper (source code, data, videos, images, etc.); authors retain all rights to the auxiliary material. WORKSHOP ORGANISATION Workshop Chair: Alex McLean, University of Leeds Program Chair: Henrik Nilsson, University of Nottingham Publicity Chair: Michael Sperber, Active Group GmbH Program Committee: Sam Aaron, Cambridge University David Duke, University of Leeds Kathleen Fisher, Tufts University Julie Greensmith, University of Nottingham Bas de Haas, Universiteit Utrecht Paul Hudak, Yale University David Janin, Université de Bordeaux Richard Lewis, Goldsmiths, University of London Louis Mandel, Collège de France Alex McLean, University of Leeds Carin Meier, Neo Innovation Inc Rob Myers, Furtherfield Henrik Nilsson, University of Nottingham (chair) Dan Piponi, Google Inc Andrew Sorensen, Queensland University of Technology Michael Sperber, Active Group GmbH For further details, see the FARM website: http://functional-art.org
Very happy to share the news that “Weaving Codes – Coding Weaves”, a collaborative project with Ellen Harlizius-Klück, Dave Griffiths, Kia Ng, Emma Cocker, Lovebytes + many others has been funded, by an AHRC Digital Transformations Amplification award. It starts September 2014 and runs for 18 months. Here’s a snippet from the synopsis:
What are the historical and theoretical points at which the practice of weaving and computer programming connect? What insights can be gained if we bring these activities together, through live shared experience? How do digital technologies influence our ways of making, and what new digital technologies can we create to explore their social use in creative collaboration?
Our research challenge is to unravel industrial and contemporary technological developments in weaving and computer programming, in order to expose and challenge assumptions, and make the human processes involved visible. In particular, to explore and communicate the nature of mathematical thinking in ancient weaving, and creative thinking in contemporary computer programming, bringing key contributions to discussion of making in the humanities.
This is going to be a lot of fun!
Here’s a new work in progress, I am happy with how things are going with Tidal at the moment
(redone, less quiet..)
Some recent activity is turning up some video clips. Here’s one giving an impression of the first Dutch algorave, organised by Fiber and STEIM. It features some seconds of Yee-King and I playing drums and code as Canute, although the music on top is from Luuma‘s set:
And here’s a longer video of a performance with Leafcutter John, featuring some audience participation:
Here’s a room recording of my solo set at IFAI Leeds last Friday:
Room recording courtesy of Ash Sagar
Hack circus is a great new quarterly magazine about all the ideas between art and technology. I wrote an article for the first issue, and have an interview between me and Kate Sicchio in the upcoming second one. It seems each issue has a live event attached to it, and Kate and I will be doing a performance at the next one, on the 15th March in Site gallery Sheffield.
Here’s the unedited version of my piece in the first issue. It’s about time travel and computer programming.
A performative utterance is where you say something that *does* something. Classic performative utterances are “Guilty as charged”, “I forgive you”, or “I promise”. Computer programming is when you type something that does something in the future, when the program is run, a kind of promissory performative. Programmers are basically future typists, making promises which get fulfilled more than once, maybe a million times, toying with the lives of different kinds of people, sensing whatever the future state of the world is and doing different things in response. Einstein described the wire telegraph (a prototypical Internet) as a very, very long cat, where you pull its tail in New York and its head meows in Los Angeles. Programming is like that but in between pulling the tail and the cat meowing, its front half might have moved somewhere else, maybe even Sittingbourne, or maybe splitting into a million catty tendrils across the four-dimensional space-time of Kent. These are the kinds of problems that programmers have to deal with all the time. Worse, programmers don’t get to actually travel with their code into these multiple futures, there are many sad stories where programmers do not see their work being used, and the users might not register that their software was made by a person at all.
Programmers rarely get to travel backwards through time either. The reason for this is that programmers have been trapped in a capitalistic ideal of linear progress towards an idealistic future which doesn’t arrive. The overiding metaphor of time in software engineering is of a tree of development, with its roots in the past, its trunk in the present and branches into the future. The metaphor falls down because what programmers want is for the branches to reconverge back to a new trunk, with all feature and bug requests fulfilled. The point isn’t to blossom into a million different possibilities of the future, but to clump all the branches back into a single woody stump.
When computer programmers finally give up on the future, we could rethink programming around the idea of cyclic time. Instead of writing code to engineer some future design, programmers could write code to try to get software to work as well as it did a few years ago. So far the “revision control” systems which look after these branches of code development do not support merging a branch back to a past version of itself. You can “backport” critical bugfixes, but not twist a branch round to connect the future with the past. If this was better supported, all sorts of interesting applications could appear. The coming apocalypse is one obvious application, requiring current strands of development to connect back to previous ways of life.
Südthüringer-Wald-Institut is a research institute working exactly on this kind of “technocratic doomsday fetishism”, developing technology to support post-apocolyptic research in a cave 200m below the Southern Thuringian Forest in the former East Germany. With a large percentage of technological research ultimately targetting military purposes, programmers and other technologists should certainly bear in mind the possibility that their future may involve a jump back to the past.
So far so gloomy, lets move on to talk about socks. We knit socks and other tubes by using circular needles, not back and forth but around and around in a loop. Programming can feel this way too, particularly when programming while drunk, at night, with a couple of hundred people dancing to the code you’re writing. This kind of activity is known as “live coding”, and is live in a number of different ways. Firstly there’s a live feedback loop between the programmer and their code, sometimes helped along by live data visualisation. Then there’s the feedback loop between the programmer and the music; writing some code, which generates music, which the programmer hears, and responds to by changing the code. Then there’s another between the programmer and the live audience, the audience responding to the music, and the programmer responding to their movements.
But in some sense, programming cannot be live at all. Programmers don’t program *in* time, they program *with* it. Back to that knitting analogy; programmers work with the thread of execution, or the timeline, by working on the higher-order level of the knitting pattern. The thread of time does not run through their fingers, but it does run through their ears, and their computers. Their fingers are instead working on the knitting pattern which are working outside of time, controlling the whole process, composing and manipulating patterns for present and future iterations.
No wonder then that live coders rarely look present at all in the performances they give. Their audience experience the music now, but the live programmers step out of time, abstracted out into an amodal, ungrounded timeless void. In a strange reversal the audience create all the spectacle, and the performers sit quietly in the corner, completely still apart from flurried typing and the occasional sip of mezcal. Maybe the next step for programmers is to learn to work with time while being in it.
This article was written during a residency at Hangar Barcelona as part of the European Culture ADDICTED2RANDOM project.
You can subscribe to hack circus over here.
I’m leading a new collaborative project, “Weaving code:learning computer programming through pattern and craft”, with Becky Parry, Kia Ng, and the good folks from LoveBytes and ArtBoat. Ellen Harlizius-Klück and Dave Griffiths are advising as project partners, and Chris Carr will advise on progress too. Here’s the introduction from the proposal:
There is national policy drive to teach computer programming in schools. However, there is a disconnect between programming, and socially-situated learning through play. Our research will bridge this gap, recognising the needs of people, particularly of children, to engage with the social and tangible in order to understand the abstract. Our core aim is to bring pattern making in weaving, together with pattern making in live coding of music, in a pedagogic context. This will ground abstract thinking in social activities, as a springboard for learning. We will reconnect computer programming with its origins in craft, drawing from the inspiration which Babbage and Lovelace took from the Jacquard loom, as well as the development of formal mathematics in Greek antiquity using loom metaphors.
Our first step will be a visit to Masson Mills working textile museum, should be an inspiring trip. This ignite funding came through the Cultural and Creative Industries Exchange in the University of Leeds, and will hopefully feed into bigger things.