LiWoLi day two

audrey & i were practically running to keep up with aileen as she headed at high speed to one of her favourite wine-drinking places. it’s not that we were desperate for the wine (LiWoLi had inexplicably run out of red wine after the first night) but aileen’s speed was more because the main street was clogged with dirndls, lederhosen & little wooden hutts selling beer, schnapps & leberkase – an austrian “cultural” event was in full swing, complete with music that would have gone down well in any bavarian biergarten. we nearly lost aileen when she made a sudden turn into a shopping mall (audrey & i exchanged worried glances – the bar is in a shopping mall?) but we came out the other side into a courtyard with an open-air bar where we proceeded to enjoy a very nice glass of red wine in a peaceful atmosphere; essential to do in the short break between a busy LiWoLi day & an evening of performances.

i’d given my presentation, “performing open source”, that afternoon. i wanted to talk about the artist-developer relationship in open source software projects, and my own personal transition from artist-in-need-of-a-tool to artist-collaborating-in-an-open-source-development. i talked about how the vocabulary – words like twisted, python, ant run, and so on – conjure up vivid images for me that bear little relation to their meaning in the world of programming. i talked about how i’d had to learn about tools such as sourceforge and subversion and trac, & gain an understanding of what’s involved in actually developing something like UpStage. in order to “perform” this as part of my talk, i wanted to install & run an UpStage instance on my laptop. i’d worked with martin eisenbath over the preceeding week to install all of the dependencies required (fink, ant, mtasc, python, swfmill, festival …. ) & finally UpStage. in the presentation, i launched a terminal window, navigated to the UpStage directory, checked that everything was there, & ran it. miraculously, it worked – apart from the voices. so i called on martin, standing by on skype & accessing my desktop through teamviewer; he suggested that i run it again, & that made the voices work. since UpStage is a server side application, the end-users don’t normally experience this side of the software, & this was the first time i’d installed & run it myself.

the other presentations that afternoon were (whose workshop i’d done the day before) talking about their collective processes and methodology, & MAIS, a collective of migrant women, presenting a self-defence IT project. after my presentation there was a short dinner break before the lecture series “plutonium striptease”, curated by marloes de valk and exploring issues and ideas around social media, online privacy and the economy of open systems.

Martin Howse performance at LiWoLi

the red wine & conversation provided a good interlude before the evening performances, which began with martin howse who extracted an intriguing soundscape from a table laden with old hard drives, other electrical devices, implements such as an art knife and a garden trowel, water & plaster, & other unidentified recycled objects. it was very fascinating to watch. then followed a live coding performance by claude heiland-allen, which effectively engaged the audience by including the code in the projection & incorporating humorous comments about what was happening.

sleep was a little too short, then i got sidetracked by a fleamarket on the way to today’s workshop, but fortunately it started late & now i am learning about how a laser can be manipulated with sound waves to create interesting patterns. at the next table, the “LiWoLi, do you copy?” workshop is continuing, creating wearable audio receivers from recycled materials, surrounded by soldering irons & hot glue guns & interesting electrical bits & pieces. i’m finding my attention quite split between the two workshops … i really want to have another go with a soldering iron …

then there’s day three …