Sabbatical update: I’m making new work! Focusing on online and installation work once again; a few different projects:
Algorithmic. Video. Still Image. Computer vision. Border region. Global. Social media. Speculative futures. And presents.
Despite the string of buzzwords, those are really some of the topics I’m working on. Some of it follows on from the ideas I started dealing with in “Utopian Algorithm #1,” and others are quite a bit different.
I’ll be posting more as I go along, but if you’d like to know more, give me a ping!
Back in 2013, Rick Silva invited me to make a project for the “W-E-S-T-E-R-N D-I-G-I-T-A-L” pavilion he was curating at The Wrong Biennale. “W-E-S-T-E-R-N D-I-G-I-T-A-L” being a pavilion featuring the work of west coast artists, I started thinking about what “west coast” means — and what “California” means. I decided to do something on the theme of Californias. I sent Rick the video and HTML links for the show at the time and did a news post about it here. But apparently I neglected to make “Googling Californias” a proper page on my site, which caused it to essentially drop off the face of the Internet after “The Wrong” ended. I just unearthed it again tonight. Thanks to Rick for inviting me to make something “wrong” on purpose!
So here it is, with its five years belated webpage: “Googling Californias (Half Truths for People on the Go.)” Video Loop, 2013. (Original, theoretically better quality web video here.)
Late at night, thoughts wander — and we find ourselves Googling Californias. Seems fitting — and all wrong: Google is itself the image of early 21st-century California technology, commerce, and power. It lives in California — and it doesn’t. The images Google offers up form a muddled patchwork of stereotypes and half-truths; but the awkward thing about half-truths is that they are half true. Like stereotypes of California itself: as awkwardly accurate as they are grotesque distortions. Sometimes you don’t find the California you were searching for. The system failed you — or you failed the system. Or maybe you weren’t looking for the right Californias. And as you travel between Californias, you remember, there’s yet another California beyond the borders of California. It doesn’t stop here. And it does.
I’d already posted the full length studio rehearsal / improvised audiovisual animation, “June 8th, 2018,” that Curt Miller and I recorded last month. Came across the second run-through from that day — same set of clips, but we did two improvisations. Rather like how this one flows as a film — slower paced, and you hear and see more of the people — so I’ve posted it too:
I’ve put together a new video discussing the Percussive Image Gestural System. Mostly I’m discussing / demonstrating the software from an real time experimental animation / visual music perspective: I talk about the main ways the PIGS system implements its approach to “structured improvisation.”
Abstract: Amy Alexander and Curt Miller discuss mixed modal improvisation with their custom integrated
software systems PIGS (Alexander, visuals) and The Farm (Miller, sound.) In this free-flowing
discussion, Alexander and Miller discuss historical visual, music and programming practices
including abstract animation, graphic scores, and object-oriented programming. They discuss
how these trajectories feed into the development of PIGS, a system designed to facilitate
improvisation by using drums and visual controllers to perform structured visuals. The artists
then discuss the specificities of mixed-modal collaborative improvisation, including the impact of
representational content (algorithmically curated YouTube videos) on their responses as
improvisers. They review responses to PIGS performances to date and discuss future plans for
new PIGS performance context. They conclude with a discussion of PIGS as audiovisual
performance research and propose some ideas for the future role of frameless visuals in music
Looking forward to doing some new PIGS performance and installation work with the AlgoCurator in the coming months.
Tomorrow evening June 16th! The amazing Curt Miller and I will be performing PIGS (Percussive Image Gestural System) at International Conference on Live Interfaces in Porto. It’ll be the debut of PIGS 2.0 and the AlgoCurator.
For those of you have been wondering the difference(s) between PIGS 2.0 and PIGS 1.0 — and those of you who haven’t — here’s a spiffy new PIGS / AlgoCurator FAQ.
I’m pleased as pizza to have curated this spring’s “Performing Code” exhibition featuring Shelly Knotts at gallery@calit2.
Now I’m especially ecstatic to be hosting the closing event, “Performing Code Live:”
Please join us Thursday June 7th for “Performing Code Live” at Calit2 Auditorium.
“Performing Code Live” is the closing event for the “Performing Code” gallery exhibition.
Shelly will be here live for this event. There’ll be a panel discussion on a hopefully enticing slew of topics encompassing collaborative improvisation, social hierarchies, networked collaboration as cyberfeminism, coding as performance, laptop ensembles and liveness.
Then we’ll have a live coding performance by ALGOBABEZ!
It’s free, and there’s a reception afterwards!
Performing Code Live
Featuring Shelly Knotts
Curated by Amy Alexander
Thursday, June 7, 2018
7:00 Intro from Amy Alexander and Presentation from Shelly Knotts
7:20 Calit2 Auditorium Panel with Amy Alexander, David Borgo, Shelly Knotts, Curt Miller, Suzanne Thorpe, Michael Trigilio, Pinar Yoldas and Q&A
7:40 ALGOBABEZ Performance
The amazing Curt Miller and I will be performing PIGS at the International Conference on Live Interfaces in Porto in June. Besides some improvements (hopefully) to the software and performance, it’ll be the debut of the Algocurator feature, which will attempt to curate an assemblage of global personal narrative YouTube clips of the moment; the clips will form the basis of our audiovisual improvisation. This is fun to practice; looking forward to doing it for real in Porto!
PIGS news! Finally implemented something I’ve been thinking about for awhile…
As of April 2018, PIGS compositions can be created using a pseudo-artificial intelligence. A “curator” algorithm analyzes newly uploaded YouTube videos for specified characteristics. Loosely provoked by the question: “What if an algorithm attempted to convert YouTube into Stan VanDerBeek’s utopian vision of a networked ‘culture intercom,'” the algo-curator currently works against YouTube’s algorithms, which encourage posters to upload content intended for commercialization, in the fervent hope of finding “real life.”
I hope to expand the algo-curator and use it for some other projects. I’ll explain a bit more about the initial implementation of the algo-curator another time. But for now… it’s a start! http://amy-alexander.com/pigs
New images posted to the Mary Hallock Greenewalt Visibility Project from the amazing Mary Hallock archive at Historical Society of Pennsylvania. A little bit of everything this time, from pastels and paintings to lots of scientific drawings and calculations. As always, you can search the Flickr database of uploads here.