12 March 2018

International Conference on Live Coding

In December 2017 Shelly Knotts gave a keynote talk at the International Conference on Live Coding. She has written about her experiences.

The ICLC conference is in its third year, and this year was in Morelia, Mexico at the Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts. Live Coding has a huge community in Mexico and South America and the conference was attended by 80 delegates from the Latin American region and further afield.

In the Keynote I talked about my experiences from the field of developing a live coding practice through >100 performances and numerous collaborations. I focussed on failure in live coding and how cultural acceptance of this in the field facilitates the building of multiple narratives. I also talked about feminist spaces in live coding, and how the visibility of women in live coding has wider implications for women in IT.

My solo performance considered originality in improvisation and used an analysis of recordings and code from past performances to give live feedback on how original my performance was compared to a database of my own prior performances. I made a visualisation which showed the live audio analysis with most original sections highlighted blue and least original sections yellow.

On the final evening I performed with Joanne Armitage as our algo-pop duo ALGOBABEZ. The performance was part of an Algorave, which is a global event series which happens in night clubs where performers live code beat based music for dancing to. The ICLC Algorave took place in a club in the city and had a large public attendance as well as conference delegates.

One of the conference delegates also organized a ‘Mexican Roulette’ evening where audio and visual performers are randomly paired together and get 9 minutes to code audio and visuals from scratch. The Mexican live coding scene developed through these kinds of meet ups, so it was great to see this happening alongside the main conference activities.

Other highlights from the conference were seeing the most recent iteration of Anne Veinberg and Felipe Ignacio’s CodeKlavier project which uses the piano as an interface for coding; the panel on Corporeality, Community and Deceleration in the practice of Live Coding gave an important insight into live coding in the Mexican context; and the performance by Reggaetron which foregrounded Latin American music and dance cultures and aspects of gender in live coding.