AlgoRave Symposium; a theoretical reflection on Live Coding

The past year various magazines paid attention to the practice of live coding. The rise of the phenomena called ‘Algorave’ sparked the imagination of the future music movement. This Creative Commons-licensed event where artist/programmers are live coding; writing software that generates music from scratch, has been getting much attention. TEDx and magazines such as, Wired, Dazed Digital, Vice and even the Dutch broadcasting company NOS made items about live coding. This raises the question: ‘why all the sudden attention for live coding?’

This Sunday a mini-symposium held at STEIM will try to answer this question. Talks by Alex McLean, founder of the Algorave, research fellow and director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Scientific Research in Music in Leeds, and Marcel Wierckx, lecturer live electronic music at the conservatory of Amsterdam, will both provide their view on this topic.

Wierckx will pose the question ‘to what should live coding be the answer?’ He will give an historical overview of the live coding practice in electronic music and pose some philosophical views on the phenomena. McLean will talk about the materiality of live coding and the paradoxes that exist in live coding and the Algorave. He will discuss topics such as the meaning of ’live’, creative feedback (quoting Paul Klee and Timothy Ingold), interfaces, and the connection between dance and code; programming as a dance or choreography.


The afternoon will be moderated by Tijmen Schep who has a background in theory and practice. He works as programme manager at the New Institute and is founder of Utrecht’s media lab SETUP. The afternoon will be concluded with a performance by Marije Baalman, an artist researcher/developer working in the field of interactive sound art. In the performance Code LiveCode Live TopLapTop she uses the typing sound of the keyboard of the laptop as source material for the audio in the performance. The sensing devices embedded in the laptop are mapped through live coding to manipulate the sound material.

So if you’re not so much into the Algoparty on Saturday, you can always join us on Sunday afternoon at STEIM for a theoretical reflection on live coding. The doors open at 14:30, tickets cost €8,- and the event finishes at 18:00.

See you there!



14:30 Doors open

15:00 opening by Tijmen Schep (moderator)

15:05 Marcel Wierckx (keynote)

15:35 switch (introducing Alex)

15:40 Alex McLean (keynote)

16:10 switch (introducing the discussion)

16:15 Discussion

16:45 Break (introducing Marije)

17:00 Marije Baalman (performance)

17:15 closing

17:20 drinks

18:00 end