Lemuriformes > Remote live coding

Lemuriformes focuses on multidisciplinary performances, in which they try to connect ink, synthesizers, live code and diy electronics in a meaningful way. Although it started out as an experiment in a world worth exploring, we felt the need to structure the performance more. Also, we are preparing a performance in the SkyBox Gallery in Amsterdam on the 22nd of april.

Luckily STEIM provided us with a couple of days in one of their studios, to work on our material and our performance. Also, another element had to be researched: one of our members (Laurens, responsible for live coding), was not in the Netherlands. Because of this, part of the goal of the residency was to see if we could work with an internet connection and screen sharing. Laurens usually does the live coding locally, but since he is in Latvia we needed to try this alternative.

First of all, we needed to get screen sharing running, so Laurens could then program the code on my laptop, which was in the studio in STEIM. To enable this screen sharing ove internet, it was necessary to connect to the net through the switch at STEIM. On the switch the ports 5900-5910 were forwarded to my static ip address, enabling Laurens to control my laptop. Another thing necessary was audio and video feedback to Laurens, so he could anticipate on the performance. We used iChat for this, with a room mic connected to the MOTU, which was the audio feedback in iChat. This way Laurens was able to hear what was happening, although it was hard to get this optimal because of the jumpy internet connection. We wanted to use the video-conference option in iChat as well, but since the connection was not optimal we only used audio.

 

Also, we wanted to explore new ways of interacting and connecting the drawing, synth, circuits and live code. The live code is beamed on a big screen, which is also used to draw on with ink. This way the code is the audiovisual connection with the ink, moving from a functional to aesthetic purpose.
After the first rehearsals, it seemed the ‘composition’ of the MAX objects and the drawing of Julie were not meeting eachother… it suffered from the fact that there was no visual feedback for Laurens. We had to be a bit more strict about the relative positioning of objects, so Julies drawing and the object would be related to eachother more. Also, the encapsulating of objects was an idea to expand and contract the live code, allowing for a more dynamic screen.

Regarding the sound, STEIM let us use their VCS3 synthesizer. In our previous endeavours we worked with a MS-20. The VCs3 made the overall sound more interesting. Since there is only a box on stage without any keyboard, the aesthetics in both sound and appearance of the radios internals and the synthesizer is also increased.
The visual representation of the instruments (circuits, VCS3, laptop/code) also reflects the amount of control and sound possibilities the different devices have.
Interesting other feature of this setup is that the radiocircuits are the most rudimentary form on stage. By using it also as a feed into the VCS3 the functionality of the radio is expanded, since the sound is now upgraded with al kinds of possibilities in the synthesizer. This connection in turn is even exceeded by the laptop, which uses the inputs of both ‘instruments’, and is able to add even more to it. The way everyone works with the possibilities they have is very interesting i think, since i believe the limitations of systems and instruments can push the amount of exporession you try to achieve. On the other hand an increased amount of possibilities asks for a well-thought out approach.

The small residency was also a preparation on the performance in the Skybox for the Notations festival. That’s why we needed to test the internet connection end the screen sharing possiblities. We have tested as much of the setup we have at the performance, by changing the setup in such a way that we are most mobile. We removed the mixers from the setup, and tried to use the MOTU UltraLite as a standalone mixer in combination with three speakers. This setup will also be used in the Skybox, and working like this makes our setup more mobile and adaptable to other situations as well. Trying to reduce the amount of equipment needed is a step forward, and we are almost at a point where we have everything ourselves (laptops, beamer, instruments, ink, sound devices) This way we could easily do our performance in any gallery or other place without its own PA system. Only bottleneck at the moment is still the internet connection. Preferably we have a USB internet modem with a high bandwidth.

During the residency we were also able to make some shirt clips of our project, which you can check out in the videos below.

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