I don’t have too much to say about this year. It was of course difficult in many ways but there were some moments of relief, especially when I get to see people IRL. Of course the pandemic and everything else in this world is still happening but I really valued those little moments, especially around August – October, where I could just do things. Anyway, on with the overview of 2021!
There were a lot of presentations, lectures and workshops delivered this year and this activity all started around February. After lectures for VCU and The Courtald I did a rather big presentation as part of the Screenwalk series from The Photographer’s Gallery and Fotomuseum . It was a general overview of my practice but also welcomed back a sonification performance but with added Korg Volca synths.
Finally this month I announced (Algo|Afro) Futures.
This programme is really important to me, and its launch comes/came at a time when it’s more important than ever to address racism and diversity in every aspect of art and culture.
This month I did two presentations which came out of my takeover on the Minorities in Stem twitter account in 2020. The first was a presentation about live coding for Nerd Nite London. The second presentation only two days later I had the honour of being a Guest Conductor on The Coding Train!
Although I don’t use Processing/p5.js in my work I do really admire the work that Dan Shiffman does and how accessible his tutorials are. He’s really one of my favourite online educators and so it was an honour to be asked to present my work and talk about live coding to his audience. I followed my presentation with a little performance too!
It was fairly quiet in terms of output, partly due to ill health. I spent a week in London delivering workshops for New Town Culture with Company Drinks.
The Rules of Engagement exhibition that I curated for ODI happened back in November 2020, but in May I was in conversation with two of the participating artists, Everest Pipkin and Nick Briz, about their work . Always great to speak with them!
I also made a new video work for the Estuary Festival , which took a trip down the Thames Estuary, showing how it was projected to flood over 100 years. The video I created is titled A Short History of Nearly Everything (big-up to fellow Reuben fans).
Making this video was a real learning experience, particularly in making the soundtrack. I feel that since making the soundtrack for Windows Explorer and Nodes I’ve slowly begun to be more considerate about making music, and making a 40-minute soundtrack gave me a lot to think about in terms of pacing and transitions. Still more to learn about mixing and mastering, but I definitely could sense I made progress.
I also did visuals at the Overlap Social event, which was my first in-person performance since February 2020!
And also this month I contributed to an NFT artwork that was sold at the Proof of Sovereignty Christies auction. The artwork, F473 by Coin Artist was an NFT and also a game! I was really happy to be working with Coin Artist/Blockade Games again (I previously did some work with/for them in 2018 with Plasma Bears).
If you’ve been on the internet at all this year you will have no doubt seen the discourse around NFTs. I still have mixed-to-negative opinions about NFTs in general, so it’s very unlikely that you’ll see me “mint” or “drop” my own works,
This month I was really excited to finally launch A.M. Darke’s artwork that I commissioned for the ODI Rules of Engagement exhibition, fairlyintelligent.tech. To launch the artwork I was in conversation with A.M. about their work
This artwork, originally made in 2010, is a remix of Alvin Lucier’s (RIP) work of the same name. I’m really happy that they chose to acquire this piece as it marked a significant moment in my career as a digital artist.
The big thing to happen this month was the conclusion and celebration event for the (Algo|Afro) Futures programme. After a bunch of in-person and online workshops each of the participants presented a new performance at Vivid Projects!
The whole event was live-streamed:
I’m really proud of what they all achieved in just a few short months!
I also made a music video for Affirmation by Echo Juliet
I did an online performance for Flash Crash and then presented some illustration work for Birmingham Design Festival’s Creative City exhibition
Another month of not much output, primarily as I was busy preparing new works. I celebrated my birthday with a performance at an Algorave in Sheffield, my first in-person live coding performance since February 2020!
By far my highlight of September was Errorcamp, which saw around 50 live coders spend a few nights in the Lake District. We did some performances, some workshops, and some talks, but the most important thing for me was all of us just being in the same space together. The community aspect of Algorave and live coding is so important and I was really missing the in-person stuff, so I was glad to be there with others 🙂
I also appeared as a guest on the BBC Arts & Ideas podcast.
This was a big month! It seems as though almost everything that was postponed in 2020 was rescheduled to take place in October 2021! My month of events started with a couple of performances at No Bounds Festival in Sheffield. Part of it was a presentation of prerecorded performances by (Algo|Afro) Futures participants and music by me, and then I performed visuals with both Alex McLean and eye measure.
Then, a week later I presented new video work at the Corridor of Light festival in Manchester. The video, Move Fast And B̴͓̝͉͝r̴̞͕̬͒̾̃e̷̜̖̾̊a̸͙̲̾͐́k̴̡̩̥̆͘ Things is quite possibly my biggest projection and was placed in a very prominent position on Oxford Road. It was such a joy to see people stopping and watching the piece.
The following week I was in Nottingham to deliver a few workshops and then to install my work for the Cut & Mix exhibition at New Art Exchange. The conversations with the exhibition’s curator, Ian Sergent, started in February 2020, and so I’m glad that the exhibition was postponed rather than cancelled.
The exhibition is quite close to my heart, and it’s the first time I’ve ever really focused on race in my own work, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I’m already planning an extension of the work and will definitely talk and write more about the concepts behind it in the future. Also happy to see the exhibition get a mention in the Guardian.
On the same night Careful Networks also launched.
I also made a variable glitch typeface and some gifs for the Animate Assembly website.
By far the biggest thing was the Concerning Photography event by The Photographers’ Gallery and Paul Melon Centre. I did a keynote artist talk about my practice on the third day of the conference.
I’ll update this post with a recording once it’s published.
As usual December was quite quiet. I did a performance for the Between Sound and Concept: Listening with the CCRU event at Coventry Biennial. I was quite ill that day so wasn’t my usual energetic self, but did use it as a chance to do a live debut the Pulse and Nodes tracks. I’m definitely near the point where I’m ready to make an EP or something more official.
I then took part in a discussion with Alexandra Cardenas at ICLC.
We were discussing diversity within the live coding community and the challenges we have both faced in this area. I was really happy to discuss the (Algo|Afro) Futures programme further. In general I really hope that the programme inspires live coders and algoravers in other communities to start their own similar programme. I would hate it if people saw this programme and thought that the work to combat racism is now “done”.
I finished the year by taking part in the TidalClub Longest Night live stream event. My performance was similar to the CCRU set but with a more refined and a new ending piece.
Also in December a remix I provided for Phoneutrian’s Sercle EP was released! My contribution was a remix of the song Crystal Mashup. Lots of other great songs on there!
So that was the year! No specific hopes for the future other than to survive and continue to learn and develop. Vague, I know, but then so is the future.