I had the opportunity to attend the Live Coding & the Body symposium at Sussex’s Creativity Zone earlier this summer and what an enjoyable couple of days it was. The event was multi-faceted in its approach to live coding as a performance practise and academic research area and brought together visiting speakers and delegates from across the globe. Presentations were interspersed with performances demonstrating the various technologies used in the practise, ranging from laptop performances to a modular synthesizer.
A key topic of discussion was the problem of latency between gesture and sound output in live coding and the advantages and disadvantages this brings to the creative process. A related issue I found particularly interesting was the contrasting performance styles resulting from different technological mediums: the overtly physical nature of performances involving for example, the use of sensor gloves in comparison to the laptop performances where the performance is more static, movement is internalised and the body is located in the mind of the performer, envisaged as a form in 3D space. Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the ‘body without organs’ provided a really pertinent and illuminating theoretical perspective to these issues.
As someone fairly new to live coding, the symposium gave a comprehensive introduction to the practise that was stimulating and accessible, whilst also covering the more complex and cutting-edge aspects of the field.