Live coding in Mexico

Centro Multimedia is a space for arts research in new technologies. The have an audio workshop with a special interest in code and FLOSS (“software libre”).
The history of live code:

  • 3 concerts in 2006 by an experimental laptop band called mU.
  • Another concert in 2009
  • A telematic concert in 2009
  • A supercollider course since 2007 in the audio workshop and also Fluxus since 2010 – this grew a code community
  • They had a collective live coding session in 2010 just after the first fluxus course

They had used MAX. Later, SuperCollider changed everything because of the philosophy of Open Source. It was free and legal to share. They felt a sense of ownership and it grew a community.
since 2011, they’ve organised 21 live coding events. They do collaborations with other institutions in Mexico City. This is a local scene.
At the National Autonomous University, they did a blank slate coding sessions where everybody had 9 minutes. This was especially beneficial for coding practice of participants.
There was a Vivo conference in 2012 which had more participation form overseas, with longer time slots and had some non-blank slate code, which also caused an explosion in the community.
Their audiences are very diverse with a lot of new people coming in. They are receptive to new ideas.
They are now doing a series of live coding concerts that also mix practices, so with dance, or with circuit bending, sound art, poetry, etc. There now a website, which has a philosophy of live coding. These projects grow community. Sharing builds personal relationships and knowledge. People form many backgrounds are involved.


What else goes on at the centre? Lots and lots of new media stuff. They have artistic residence programs. Once specific to Germany. One for Latin Americans. There is a electronic and video festival this year with an open call.
The centre is free, so anyone can come and learn without paying. This increases diversity.
Does anybody in the US or Canada pay attention to what’s going on in Mexico? Artists from the Canada can come for residences, so there is some collaboration there. There are some collaborations with the US through other institutions, but not this one.
Do they do any teaching of coding or live coding in schools? There is not official school of electronic music in Mexico, so teaching mostly happens through workshops. Mexicans who want to do electronic music degrees go abroad. There is not a strong programme for children or teenagers during school time. They do some workshops in summer. They may expand this, but need to do some work on pedagogy. They have also been running some workshops with indigenous people who have no background at all with computers. Sometimes they learn faster because they don’t know it’s supposed to be difficult.
what’s the future of live coding in Mexico? More people, more groups. The future is bright across Mexico for live coding.

Live blogging Live.Code.Festival: Yiorgos Diapoulis – Live Hardware coding

He’s build some sort of binary adding machine that plays sounds based on the current number, which adds to the total every clock cycle. IT creates patterns based on the total not including overflow. The use rprovides a 3 bit word to the counter. Te counter outputs a serial transmission to a decoder. Both of these things are connected to an Ardunio, which is connected to SuperCollider. The counter outputs 3 bits to the ardunio. the decode does one bit?

Battery dying!

Live blogging Live.Code.Festival: Benoit and the Mandelbrots by Mattias Schneiderbanger

Drop function – executed simultaneously for all 4 players.
They have done blank slate live coding in many environments. They also use live coding as a compositional method, so do some shows where they just use a code interface developed in rehearsals.
Delbrots and the Man also develop code live during rehearsals and use that as an interface for performance. They sync with the drummer via click track and send their chat window to him via a text-to-speech synthesiser.
If they want the audience to dance, they start with prepared stuff. They also try to think of the arc of the whole evening. In rehearsals, they would pick a random genre from Id3 tags.

More General Thoughts on Live Coding

Live code does not represent a score. code consists of algorithms which are specific, but a a score is interpretable in different ways. Also the text document generated by live coding it not an adequate artefact to repeat a performance
Code allows for de-heirarchicalisation of all musical parameters. Traditional composition focusses on pitch and duration, but improv allows focus on other parts. Live coding emphasises this further.
Composition creates a text – an artefact designed to enable people to create sound. It is prepared and worked out. Live coding does not necessarily generate a written composition. However, in the 21st century, improv and composition are not binary oppositions, something which also applied to live coding.


Did they publish the silent movie with their sound track? Not yet, because they’re not sure about copyright.
what’s next for the Mandelbrots? Will they make a ton of recordings? Recordings do no change their approach. They only record only their rehearsals.
do they program differently when they’re recording? No, they’ve gotten used to just recording all their rehearsals.
Will they edit their recordings? Unsure.
Will an audience expect them to sound like their records? They can’t know yet.
Do they put performances online? They’ve done that twice. Once to Mexico