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[w007] workshop facilitated by Thor Magnusson

Concurrent with our work on developing the ixi software, we (Thor Magnusson and Enrike Hurtado) have given presentations, lectures and workshops in various European institutions, from universities to music or software art festivals. In the last year we have developed a workshop where we introduce the techniques we’ve been developing and using in our own work, but also other open source platforms to create music, music software, installations, instruments and other performances.

The ixi workshop is a short but intensive course where participants get in touch with concepts and technologies related to the creation, design and production of experimental music interfaces or other audio-visual works. In an approximately five days workshop (depending on the wish of the host), participants get to know and work with different prototyping tools, both for physical and virtual interface prototyping (Director, Flash, Max/MSP, iCube, etc.) and for sound engine prototyping (Pure Data, Max/MSP, Supercollider, jMax, etc.). Communication protocols connecting or interfacing the various environments are also explained (MIDI and OSC – Open Sound Control). We present various works of other artists made with these technologies and discuss the theoretical and aesthetical impact of these works.

The aim of the workshop is to introduce the basics of these technologies based on our experience of developing our own software, participating in festivals and conferences and working in academies and art institutions. Participants will be encouraged to propose a small project to work on, either individually or in a group, which forces
them to face the real problems and concepts of the explained technologies. We think that real understanding involves practise and not just theoretical explanations. In order to get people started, we present the participants with ready-made code examples of sound generation, filters, effects and communication channels. This code can be easily changed and adjusted to participant’s individual project. The aim is not to go into technical details of the physics of sound or programming practises, but rather on how we use these programming environments for human expression.

We have given workshops that are quite technical when the participants have had those wishes, but we have also given workshops which are more theoretical, experimental and with discussions about the aesthetical issues relating to interactive music/sound, generative music, installations and software art and free software. It all depends on the
context in which we enter. The participants in the workshop do not have to have any programming background, musical background nor design, but it would surely be of an advantage. The workshop is about ideas, not technology.

Content of workshop:
- Project description. Participants make projects either individually or in a group.
- Introduction to ixi software, our philosophy and way of working.
- Introduction to Max/MSP, Pure Data, Supercollider and jMax.
- Introduction to building interfaces: Director, Flash, Java (virtual) and iCube and other sensor technologies (physical).
- Lectures and discussions about key aspects of design, such as interactivity, differences between traditional and virtual instruments, generative processes, digital sound, and making music with computers.
- Project work. People work, either individually or in groups, on creating software that can be used as tools for music creation, installations, sound effects or related to video.

Length: during the RAM5 - 5 hours (usally approx. 5 days)

Website: Bibliography, workshop schedule and code examples will be on our website at least 3 weeks before the workshop, so participants can read, experiment and prepare for the workshop.

Some selected workshops:
January, 2004: Urova University, Lapland/Finland
November, 2003: Ultrasound Festival, UK.
May, 2003: Arteleku, San Sebastian, Spain.
February, 2003: Media Lab UIAH, Helsinki, Finland.
November, 2002: Huddersfield University, U.K.
+ Several lectures about music software and interfaces as well as ixi software presentations in universities and institutions around Europe: Art Academy in Vienna, Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona; Faculty of Art and Design of Hull; Department of Electroacustic Music at the University of Huddersfield, ICA in London, MIT-Media Lab in Dublin, University of Copenhagen, Piknik Frequency in Helsinki.