Live Coding the intersection between the arts, research and education

Posted by thor magnusson on November 17, 2015

:::: Wednesday, December 2nd, 1pm, @ Silverstone Building, Room 121 ::::

Code is one of the most powerful, creative and transformative media available. However the potential of code is still largely incomprehensible and out of reach for most of our society. How and why should we address this as a problem? In order to help us unpick and explore these simple yet deep questions we will follow the story of Sonic Pi – a live coding music synth designed for the arts, research and education.

Sonic Pi was originally created as a response to the challenge of finding new ways to teach code in schools. It has since evolved into an extremely powerful and performance-ready live coding instrument suitable for professional artists and DJs. It is also a rich research platform for exploring questions related to liveness, time and concurrency in programming languages. Yet, despite this rapid evolution it has maintained its core mission – to be simple enough for 10 year olds.

Through Sonic Pi as a lens we will be forced to confront some interesting and challenging questions: – How is code creative? How can we communicate through code? Can programming languages be expressive interfaces? Can notation become an instrument? To what extent is performance a form of education and education a kind of performance?

You’ll also leave with a simple, joyful and powerful new musical instrument to start playing with.

Sam Aaron

Sam Aaron Bio: Samuel Aaron is a researcher, software architect and computational thinker with a deep fascination surrounding the notion of programming as a form of communication. His research focuses on the design of novel domain specific languages to explore liveness, conceptual efficiency and performance within programming languages. Samuel works as a Research Associate at University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, where he has created Sonic Pi, a powerful live coding environment for realtime sound synthesis targetted for education. Sonic Pi has been used successfully to teach programming and music within schools but also to live code music for people to dance to in nightclubs.

Sam will give a workshop afterwards between 2-4pm. Sign-up here: