Resonance Ghent Review

Resonance Livecoding with Gabor and PixelPusher

Resonance Livecoding with Gabor and PixelPusher, photo by Dave Griffiths

Resonance Ghent invited a group of livecoders, audio and visual to perform livecoding all day in the delightful little gallery Espace Ladda, next to the Vooruit cutlural center, in the center of town. As a piece of what can almost be described as “productive performance art” we sat in a tight circle of laptops enmeshed with projectors and surrounded by projection screens, grinding out audio and visuals from live software coding. Interested people wandered around us, and occasionally asked what we were doing, sparking off some pleasant conversations about all things art, code, visual, and audio.

The Resonance festival as seen by Spin Magazine (video).

Photos from Bram De Jong.

Dave Griffith’s blog recap of Resonance (with pics)

If you haven’t experienced it before, livecoding is quite geeky, but also a bit like peeling back the curtain from the wizard’s booth. You get to see the code that runs the visuals, as part of the performance. If all goes well, you gain a little insight into what is taking place in front of your eyes, whether or not that insight results in understanding the code, it still gives you some notion of the technology under the hood.

It’s a bit like building a racing car and exposing the engine. You watch the pit crew performing maintenance on the car during a pit stop, and get a better understanding for the car as a machine full of working parts. Lets face it, technology is fetishized because it looks cool, and the idea that software code can look cool is a compelling new concept to me. Very post-modern, cut-and-paste.

It even scares some people to see the guts of a program spilling out across the screen, twisting and dragging glyphs across what should be clean, unbroken lines and surfaces of color and form. It looks raw, uncooked. Maybe you will find it interesting as well.

On a side note, Ghent is a beautiful city. I think I’m in love. Wide, medieval streets, good food, nice people, excellent beer, canals, bike-friendly, and a castle downtown. Add to that a vibrant student population that must help fuel a vibrant arts scene, and you have what might be the perfect place. It was even sunny!