Organising ourselves

I was happily surprised there’s 20 TOPLAP nodes now, and it feels really great to have so many amazing live coding event + community organisers together here. I guess we’re all naturally interested in getting more organised in connecting between geographic communities, confronting challenging issues together that some of us might face like lack of diversity, growing audiences while staying sustainable, and so on.

This is a brand new forum, that came to exist via a strange path… Problems with the recent ‘resident advisor’ film on algorave brought up some discussion on diversity on the chat channels, that quickly went introspective - that the rocketchat (and its former instatiation as the toplap slack) is friendly and vibrant on the face of it, but somehow many have found it a difficult place to be. I’d find it difficult to summarise the points of view expressed there (it was a very interesting thread) but its tech-focussed ‘channels’, fast pace, high noise, lack of signposting and issues around gender diversity make it difficult to engage in. Probably the people who have felt excluded could talk better about this.

The result of that discussion was the ‘#feelings’ channel on, with some nice exchanges there, and a few of us (including @midigirl, @rumblesan and @deerful) knocking our heads together to work out a better way of communicating. We figured getting organisers together on a new forum would be the best way forward and here we are. Great!

So as you’re all interested in organising events+communities I thought I’d start this topic to start the discussion about how this forum could/should work and grow. How can we bridge communities around tech to refocus discussion around the e.g. feelings, philosophies, politics, and practice of live coding? How can we keep discussion inclusive, approachable and sustainable, and stopping diverse voices from being drowned out. What should our aims be? How can we keep live coding strange? :slight_smile:

We’ve got three categories at the moment.

Two for exchanging experiences + thoughts:

  • Organisers - for people making events
  • Making liveness - for people making live coding environments and systems

plus ‘Events’ for sharing news of events. (maybe renaming it to the more general ‘news’ would be better?)

I think the main aim of this system is for considered discussion, so for now I think we don’t want to have categories around particular technologies. But maybe next it would be good to add a category for discussion around performing live coding. Any ideas of a suitable name, and/or some suggested topics to kick it off with?

I definitely like the idea of a performance focussed category. See on @midigirl 's research for why I believe this will also help increase the diversity of people who engage in discussion.

I’d personally like to see a thread in this category that asks what aspects of their sets “live coders” prepare in advance vs. code on the fly. It’s been my anecdotal experience that a number of people have questioned whether they are “live coders” or could perform in a “live coding” event because they don’t start performances with a blank editor and write everything as they go. I know was definitely comforted to talk to more and more “established” “live coders” who acknowledged that they do a fair bit of preparation on the code skeletons of their sets before modifying them live. Think it would be great for the community to normalize this mixture of composed and improvisatory coding, plus I just love learning about hoe people prep for live shows :slight_smile:

I’m also always interested to hear about what other musical tools / sound sources performers are mixing with live coding in live sets. I often personally do live violin playing in my sets or mix TidalCycles with Ableton Live. I know @deerful sings. Many people are using a variety of DAWs, softsynths, and hardware synths that they may or may not use Tidal midi to control. Curious about it all!

Happy to kickoff one of these topics in a performance category if you think it makes sense

Someone in the coreteam discussion also suggested centralizing the multi-year, multi LURK channel discussions on tech riders for algo artists, haha, which I think is a respectable idea.

All top ideas, I just created the “Performing” category, please do feel free to kick off these discussions there!
and somebody shout if you have a better name than “Performing”… maybe “Performing with code”?