Signal / Space | Performance


at Artscape Youngplace
8pm – 11pm

Live audiovisual performances featuring vintage computation technologies, live signal processing and the manipulation of digital spaces.

With performances by Tasman Richardson (Toronto), Gabe Knox + Daniel Zabawa (Toronto), and foci + loci (NYC).


A Line Has Two Sides by Tasman Richardson
18 min, live, three-channel AV performance

Using glitches harvested from an Atari 2600 game console, a triptych audiovisual spectacle is performed in real-time. By triggering hundreds of clips and positioning them in space and time, the audience is wrapped in a pulsating foil of visual music made entirely from the sound of the source clips—a signature of the JAWA method first developed by Richardson in 1996. Manipulating these ghosts in the machine through synchronized cuts of the seen and heard induces an anxious immediacy as the nervous system responds to light and the heart rate responds to bass rhythm. The result is a fierce, abstract expression inspired in equal parts by Kandinsky and Pan sonic.

Dos Amigas by Gabe Knox and Daniel Zabawa
15 min, live AV performance.

A live performance of an audio-visual algorithmic composition written by Knox and Zabawa and “performed” on two Commodore Amiga personal computers, running custom software written in ARM assembler that takes advantage of the Amiga’s famous built-in sound and graphics chips.

The algorithmic aspect of the composition is based on two-dimensional binary cellular automata, a computational model that evolves over time from a basic set of rules. With some live interaction from its operator, one Amiga generates the cellular automata and triggers a modulating series of tones based on the changes of state of the automata. Communicating over a parallel interface, the other Amiga reads visual patterns in the automata using a pattern recognition algorithm and triggers a note when it recognizes a shape. Live input from that Amiga’s operator will determine what patterns to look for as well as manipulating timbral elements of the triggered sounds. The result is a hypnotic piece of music that evolves unpredictably from a simple set of individual notes to a complex, interlocking system of polyrhythms and modal changes.

Bramble and Other Works by foci + loci
30 minute, two-channel AV performance

Bramble, a 2-channel virtual instrument using the Little Big Planet game engine, produces an algorithmic composition in the form of a growing bush made up of electrical wires and circuit boards. In a 15 minute performance, both the instrument and composition are time-based unfolding simultaneously over the course of several accelerated days and nights in a desert scene. As the bush grows, the stems’ proximity to each other trigger musical notes and sounds while performers either navigate through and around the bramble or improvise with additional instruments outside the game space. Once the bramble/bush has reached maximum density or the instrument has fully manifested in form, its branch tips blossom with playable flowers which spin during performance interaction, interweaving discrete musical and sonic patterns into the foreground of the piece. Because both the instrument and composition of Bramble unfold in tandem, this environment may be played with 2-5 players/improvisers.

In conclusion, foci + loci will also perform two other short-form pieces (7 minutes each) in Little Big Planet showcasing their classic custom-made instruments that focus on the spatialization of audiovisual events and concise algorithmic outcomes.