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Out of the Studio and Onto the Stage

Live coding, laptop ensembles and LOrks

Scott Wilson (right), Norah Lorway (centre) and Konstantinos Vasilakos (left) performing as BEER at Polytechno Corfu during the Akou Festival in Corfu (Greece) on 26 June 2014. [Click image to enlarge]

For today’s electroacoustic artist, programming and writing code are by no means unfamiliar concepts. However, their exploitation as a malleable instrument in live performance has proven an engaging development in the past two decades. Alongside live coding practices, laptop ensemble and laptop orchestra (LOrk) configurations have been central to a reorientation of stage-based electroacoustic performance.

About This Issue



“It’s Wonderful to Be Back in a Band”: Ensembles and collaborative performance


Conversation with Three Canadian Live Coders: Muck in and find your own way to be part of it

Three of Canada’s leading advocates for live coding and laptop ensemble performance have an informal discussion of how live coding has evolved and continues to evolve, and how these developments have been reflected in their own practices.


KERNEL : L’histoire d’un ensemble d’ordinateurs, projet de pensée électronique

The challenges with which KERNEL charged itself — to exclusively use laptops as instruments and to perform only composed music, without recourse to improvisation or sound files — posed questions of the trio that were essential to the development of an “electronic thinking”, notably that of writing.


Negotiating Shared Live Coding Practices in SuperContinent, an Online Laptop Ensemble

SuperContinent is a distributed global ensemble that uses the Estuary collaborative, live coding platform. Conversations with all current members outline the practices, technologies and the organizational principles of the ensemble, and how these aspects of the ensemble intersect and inform each other.

Directory of Canadian and International Laptop Ensembles and Orchestras Active 1995–2022

A remarkable number of laptop “bands” have expressed and explored a wild gamut of interests and mediums since the early 2000s (and even earlier) — live coding and live cinema, smartphones and tablets, percussion instruments and toys, live image capture, cars…

Reflections on Agency and Interactivity


Live Coding Choreography with Terpsicode: Enabling agency for the human interpreter

Terpsicode is a mini programming language for live coding visual choreographic scores through which the human output of live-coded dance and the importance of interpreting a score is prioritized over strict computational output, thereby humanizing algorithmic processes in dance and technology work.


Soundscapes and Anachronisms in Music for Laptop Ensemble

Interactivity in laptop ensemble music affords new opportunities for connecting a computer musician’s technological practice (e.g., coding, digital instrument design) with sound sources commonly used in electroacoustic music, such as environmental sounds and recorded samples of works from earlier eras.


Virtual Agents in Live Coding: A Review of past, present and future directions

A review of past and present perspectives on and approaches to the use of virtual agents in live coding contexts provides insight into the potential for the use of AI in the field, as well as highlighting practices that point to future directions.



Interview with Tony Martin, Liquid Light Artist and Painter: A Visual language of enormous and tiny, brilliant and slimy, dark and fuzzy

Working interactively as early as 1962, Tony Martin used glass slides, projectors, a cracked prism, self-made image plates, light bulbs, fibre optics, backlit glass rods and more to create slowly evolving paintings-in-time in venues such as the Electric Circus (New York).


Interview with Adam Basanta, Canadian Visual and Sound Artist: Kinetic mixed-media installations and an (almost) autonomous AI art factory

An amicable discussion of Adam Basanta’s recent works offers insights into the development of a kinetic installation comprised of cement, gravel and microphones, and an art factory that autonomously generates, sorts and classifies works before curating and printing its own exhibition.

Other Items

[YouTube] Playlist of Live Coding Performances

A selection of videos related to the artists and projects featured in this issue has been compiled into a playlist on the CEC’s YouTube profile.

Works by some authors and / or artists in this issue can be heard in, the CEC’s online electroacoustic jukebox:

Media in This Issue

Adam Basanta — A Large Inscription, A Great Noise (2019), mixed-media installation | documentation video (4:13)

Adam Basanta — Persistent Teenage Gestures (2018), mixed-media installation | documentation video (2:29)

Adam Basanta — All We’d Ever Need Is One Another (2018), mixed-media installation | documentation video (3:12)

BEER (Scott Wilson etc.) — NotSoMassRadioCoding, performance at the 2014 Akou Festival | video (7:07)

Dave Griffiths — live coding with Betablocker DS (2011) | video (3:20)

Mara Helmuth — from Uganda (2016), excerpt of a performance at NIME 2016 | video (1:27)

Shelly Knotts — Flock (2015), performance at ICLC 2015 | video (10:55)

Shelly Knotts — Union (2016), performed by OFFAL at ICLI 2016 | video (17:48)

Shawn Lawson and Jeremy Stewart — Cibo Agent demonstration (2019) | video (9:42)

Shawn Lawson and Jeremy Stewart — Cibo V2 performing solo (2020) | video (10:45)

Norah Lorway — Autopia: An AI Collaborator for Live Coding Music Performances (2019) | demo performance (1:22)

Michael Lukaszuk — all the moon long… (2015), rehearsal for a performance in NYCEMF | video (5:55)

Thor Magnusson — ixi lang autocode livecoding for no one (2012) | video (0:52)

Mynah Marie — Algorithmic Positivity Symphony (2020), performance at Github Satellite 2020 | video (33:02)

Luis Navarro co-performing with Cacharpo (2017) | video (5:49)

Norah Lorway — Stream (2020) | video (13:32)

Niklas Reppel — Mégra: Creating a Pattern Language on the Fly (2019) | video (1:54)

Ramón Sender — Desert Ambulance (1964), performed by Pauline Oliveros | video (16:26)

Kate Sicchio — Hacking Choreography (2012), performed by Pippa Lockwood and Elisa Hinds | video (16:47)

very long cat (David Ogborn, Shawn Mativetsky), performance in the 2020 Third Shift Festival | video (40:35)

Scott Wilson — What if There’s Nothing You Can Do? (2021), live coding performance | audio (11:19)

Scott Wilson — What If There’s Nothing You Can Do? (2022), performance at the Thailand Creative & Design Center | video (18:50)

Shared Buffer (David Ogborn etc.) performing at the 2014 TransX festival | video (17:38).

SuperContinent performing at the Eulerroom Equinox 2020 | video (30:04)

SuperContinent performing at the 2020 HalfStack Conference | video (33:37)

SuperContinent performing at ICLI 2021 | video (28:55)

SuperContinent in rehearsal using the “Anarchy” strategy (2022) | video (27:19)

Fondation SOCAN Foundation

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