How are things where you are?

Great to see so many people come in, welcome! Exciting to have so many live code activists together. We could kick off some discussion… How is it organising things where you are?

This is currently open to the world so I guess we can’t necessarily be too open with explaining the more difficult experiences of organising events…

Things are pretty good in Sheffield though, although it’s mainly only a few people organising here (Lucy Cheesman, Sam Schorb and me). We’ve built up local interest in live coding and algorave, and have regular meetings. Maintaining some gender balance is always tricky though, and sustainability is an issue where it’s tough to pay artists expenses and a decent fee with the size of events we generally have, and making any money for making events is out of the question… But I don’t really do it for money and it can be super rewarding anyway.

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Hello. I’m in Atlanta, outside of academe, things at more or less street level are good and where venues disappear, venues reappear in different forms. Live music is lovely here, and there’s been livecode going on in small forums since before I promoted anything personally, so, figure, 2012 or 13 for that so, – 2007 or 8? ~±zero algorave advertised as such, currently, so the indy venues are wide open.

I’ve been in formal day computing mode, lately, but feel free to reach out if you’re thinking of touring.

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Hi! here in La Plata, Argentina, we have regular meetings, once per week we encounter and think/organize/learn/jam/whatever with CLiC people.

Something good is that we came from different approaches to live coding (drawing, music, programing, design). And we could say that we are gender balanced. (but not in the big numbers)

The events we organized[0] were all made by us with no funding.

The scene is early new, we did the first algorave in the city, and it was the second of Argentina.

I’m talking outside of the academic world (not even started there)

[0] https://colectivo-de-livecoders.gitlab.io/#fechas

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One problem we have in Sheffield is that there are a lot of livecoders using Tidal, probably because we have regular tidalclub meetups (https://tidalclub.github.io/sheffield.html) and workshops… Maybe it’s time to open things up with more general live coding meetups, and make things less ‘tech’ focussed…

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Wow, once a week! That’s great. For LiveCodeNYC the meetups are about twice a month* but not always - there is one rule for the meetups which is the date for the next meetup is set at the end and emailed out.

*I am a but out of the loop since I moved last year but as far as I know this is still accurate

In NYC the original group was based upon live coding in general and we were all from different disciplines - music, visuals, games, dance. Still a lot of tech talk but sometimes more general CS concepts rather than language specific issues. We used to say we were…

“Live coding that is language agnostic and not medium specific.”

Again, I have been out of the meetups for a while now but these were our beginnings

Here in Bath it’s taken a while to kick off, primary due to finding a venue. I almost gave up. I’ve kept the focus of the meetup more generally than live-coding instead going with Poetic Computation ala the School of Poetic Computation NYC. It seems to attract a broad audience and provides lots of cross over with other artistic practices.

The big pain for the music and live coding side is getting a nice venue regularly where we are allowed to make noise. I still struggle with this and have no real good solution yet. It’s too expensive to try and rent space and finding something regular proves challenging. My best hope is to pester the university to get something going.

At the moment everything is run based on the donation of time and space. Using a local co-working space.

As someone still in NYC, I can say both responses are pretty accurate. :slight_smile: If anything, I would say the number of tools used has collapsed somewhat as the group gets bigger and there are more folks who aren’t giant tools nerds. :nerd_face:

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Overall, I would say NYC is pretty lucky on the venue front: there are a number of venues that are willing to have us for a fairly reasonable room fee — with an audience of fifteen, we can usually break even, and we will usually have ~5 acts, so the math is on our side.

I do sometimes worry about exhausting our friend-audience, though. I’m not sure that we have a real following outside acts’ friends and I would love to build one, but I don’t think I know how. It’s definitely more of an art crowd than an academic or music one.

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This is a great thread. It’s always interesting to get a grasp of how other cities function in these sort of areas (arts/tech/etc).

Pittsburgh is an interesting spot. I think we avoid a lot of the flaws of major cities (rent and pretension to name a few) in art scenes because I’m not very convinced this city even comes to mind for most people (Americans or otherwise). We have/had some world-scale festivals/clubs/events, and usually they come from of a push to create something that people feel was strongly lacking - (for example we dont have a hundred possible venues like NYC :stuck_out_tongue:). I think that push has caused some really amazing stuff to happen here, and it seems to be a common thread among organizers here (while there are not an infinite number of them).

That said, I usually hope to get a minimum of 50-100 people to shows that I produce. I have a number of feelings about this but am very strongly in the camp of making sure artists are paid for their work. I try to avoid overbranding genres/aesthetics and aim to cross-pollinate the people I put on a bill while keeping something congruent (ie dj + live coder or performance artist + experimental electronics). I think this helps to keep things more inclusive, and can build on the best qualities of the differing perspectives. I have had a pretty strong goal of using diverse spaces for events (galleries/dive bars/churches/etc) but have recently been involved with a single location.

To inform some of my opinions, I have no academic affiliation and am not grant-seeking for any funding. I am sponsorship and artist-agency averse to keep finances in/out reasonable for everyone involved (tickets/booking/production). This year I purchased an extensive sound setup and am directly involved in a shared 3000sq ft warehouse/studio space which has been an amazing experience so far. I work a 9-5 job as a technical lead/system analyst in a steel mill (very Pittsburgh) that enables me to ‘bet on’ the success of throwing these sort of events. This sort of thing will basically never be profitable in a city the size of Pittsburgh but it is great to have a production budget without incurring a loss.

Apologies in advance for the extensive posting - but I feel some of the information above largely informs my outlook and goals for throwing events - and for a smaller city that can easily color whether or not artists will have any interest in returning or even visiting in the first place.

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Organizing events in Minneapolis (and nearly St. Paul) has been challenging. We threw one Algorave a few years back, and as far as I can recall it is the only “live coding” event that has ever been done here (excluding solo sets that I’ve done at bars).

Growing the community has been difficult. Career, family, other interests, and not living close to the city center are all obstacles. I just can’t devote the time needed to organize consistent meetups and outreach. The community remains very, very small, let alone one that has any diversity.

We’ve held a couple TidalCycles meetups over the last few months. With only two data points to reference, I’d say we hold a meetup once every two months. However, I’m not sure if this trend will (or can) continue. Again, it’s challenging to make time.

I am usually a performer at the events I am a part of, and they are usually not live-coding events. It’s much easier to organize events made up of many unique styles of live performance than to just focus on “live coding”.

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Paying artists is definitely nice to do, but I’m going to stick my neck out and say that doesn’t always make sense. I see a lot of value in doing small local events, running them on a volunteer basis and having people play for free as well. It’s a nice social thing to do.

There’s a spectrum here… At one end there’s organising a studio jam session with friends, I wouldn’t expect to be paid for it, and would be a bit put out if people sent me an invoice afterwards. Then there’s having a small audience and making a bit of money on the door to cover expenses but still running it on a volunteer basis not paying anyone. At the other end of the scale is a well funded festival where you do get paid to organise (in theory, never seems to happen to me!), and try to pay artists a-n rates or more https://static.a-n.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Guidance_on_fees_and_day_rates_for_visual_artists_2018.pdf

Of course once you get away from volunteer-run events then yes everyone should be paid fairly… None of this ‘do it for exposure’ nonsense, or paying 1000’s to headline acts while paying the less well known artists who nonetheless give your event its real favour little or nothing…

Personally with Algomech festival (coming up mid-May) I’m riding the boundary between experimental artists and professional artists with agents etc. To be honest whenever I contact an artist and they put me on to their agent I never get around to carrying that conversation on. Everything seems to get two or three times as expensive and more complicated and I just don’t want to be in that world…

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I hope to not totally deter the thread with this tangent (goals/finances/etc) but would definitely say you have a healthy outlook @yaxu . I think your use of access space during my visit was pretty similar to how I tend to organize events (lots of friends help to make cosmic events possible, which to me blurs the line of formal volunteers for better or worse).

I would say the geography in the States likely ramps up the expectation of payment. I can not cheaply or easily hop on a train to be in another major city. While I was last in the UK i think my combined fares for london -> sheffield manchester-> southport -> liverpool -> birmingham-> london were less than a normal one-way flight in the states (given some pre-planning). All of those cities (besides southport) would be reasonable spots to setup gigs and I could easily pay off my travel and make something back. Comparatively, when i do a weekend jaunt here a car is more or less required to even get close to breaking even. (For example, pitt -> philly is about $35 in highway fees each direction, or 1.5 extra hours of travel to avoid. train is around $80 for one way, flights being the most expensive). tldr - if I ask for a $100 guarantee I can get a meal and a round trip bus, maybe. In my experience, that $100 is where the breakdown between DIY events and larger promoters/fests begins. via my own experience with this - it seems like a reasonable aim for non-local performers.

On the other side of this, I do think most promoters here do a great job of investing in their local/extended community. It’s one of the reasons toplap/algorave seems to have a healthy diversity and why most events are not hinged on importing talent. I think it’s similar between all locations that, the creation of these scenes are a lot easier with nearby academic talent(?) My proximity to Carnegie Mellon is almost solely responsible for their being a crew of creative coders in Pittsburgh.

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The “scene” here in Birmingham, UK, is pretty alright at the moment. I say “scene” because I come from the contemporary art scene, not necessarily the music scene. For sure, there is crossover but there’s different expectations from both artists and venue/gallery owners. That also means there’s probably a lot going on that I don’t know about.

When the Network Music Festival happened in 2014/2015(?) there were a couple of Algoraves. I’m going to make a dangerous guess and say that since then I’ve organised every Algorave that’s happened (2016, 2017, 2018). This isn’t necessarily a good thing. I’d rather there be a community of people self-organising instead of just one person. I do/did have the benefit of working at a digital arts gallery so I had access to space, but even then I/we didn’t want to be known as the “Algorave gallery” hence why we did them infrequently (even 2017’s was organised in collaboration with Supersonic festival and held offsite).

I did invite Lucy Cheesman to do a Tidal workshop before the last Algorave and it was really popular. We had a waitlist of about 10. So, there is definite interest in this but in my experience it’s a teacher/student relationship, not yet a community of people sharing. I’m considering starting up some more workshops with the aim not to always lead them but to have a sharing session.

One thing I have noticed recently is people diluting the term Algorave and using it as a stand in for “general” electronic music. I’ve seen a few DJ/VJ nights promote themselves as Algoraves when it’s just them doing their normal thing in Albleton Live (not that it doesn’t sound great, it’s just not live coding). I saw this happen with glitch art (VJ nights with the saturation on visuals turned up or multiplied by -1) and Bring Your Own Beamer (VJ night with two projectors) and so I’m a bit concerned that Algorave will be appropriated and diluted before a local community has had the chance to form.

Part of me wants to call them out but at the same time who am I to assert myself as an authority on what an Algorave is (yes I know I just did that one paragraph ago).

There is BEAST at University of Birmingham. They have a great sound system and links to the electroacoustic world (shout out to SOUNDkitchen!) but since Network Music Festival ended there hasn’t been much overlap in the communities. Or maybe there has and I’m just not part of those discussions.

Great point re: building audiences outside of friends and those immediately involved in the live coding practices. This is actually one of the reasons why I think it’s important to do plenty of events where the common thread is some aspect of the musical or visual aesthetic rather than the tools used. I think mixed lineups help change the public perception that algorithmic art is purely process oriented for the maker, without intrinsic aesthetic value to an audience unaware of this process. I think live coding is most fun when it just flat out sounds/looks awesome! Plus, as @kindohm noted, it’s easier to fill lineups with artists using a range of processes, and everyone’s musical audience grows by mingling.

@spednar and I also frequently comment on how many people there are who make music aesthetically and possibly even procedurally akin to live coded music without ever labeling their process live coding or even “algorithmic”. @sarahghp we’ve played together with Peter Seligman who I think is one such example :slight_smile: And @kindohm I know you’ve now worked repeatedly with the Nada Recs/ Sympathy Limited crowd in Minneapolis. These are just anecdotal examples of friends who I think fit the “algo-adjacent” aesthetic, and there are tons more. Not to say that artists on the same show even have to be aesthetically similar, haha. Diversity in tools and aesthetics can both be valuable.

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Hello everyone! This is Alejandro Albornoz and Christian Oyarzún from Valdivia, Chile.
We’ve just started a new Toplap node here!
We are going to start with meetings, workshops and gigs :slight_smile:

It would be nice to be added within the nodes’ list.

Here we are:

https://toplapvaldivia.wixsite.com/website

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Hi everyone!

I’m been based in Israel for the past 2 years and surprisingly, no one seems to know about live coding here… I have a dream to start a livecoding scene here because I think people would love it. There is such an active and creative tech scene as well as amazing artists, I think that if people in Israel knew about it, livecoding could really catch fire here :smiley:

I’d like to ask to the more experienced organizers, do you have any advice for someone like me who is trying to start a livecoding scene in a place where it’s still unknown?

When I perform, most questions I get from the audience are about the code and how I use it to make music (I also mix live coding with “analog” instruments, voice and some other things :smiley: ). I thought about trying to give some public talks about livecoding (the benefits of it and the benefits of encouraging creativity in computer science/programming education) and also open a Facebook group for livecoding in Israel but both of these steps seem difficult before having an audience that is warmed up to what live coding is.

I organize my own events and would love to organize events that include other artists and livecoders but yeah, right now it seems like it’s just me around.

Any advice on what a possible first step could be?

P.S: If anyone is traveling to Israel and would like to perform here, I’d be happy to help out :slight_smile: