A chance to unleash some participatory musical robot livecoding in Falmouth this weekend, with an Al Jazari installation at the relaunch and opening event of the Fish Factory Arts space. The last couple of galleries it’s been running in I’ve been unable to be physically present, so it was a good chance to get some feedback and pay careful attention to what people do.
While the robot programming is very simplified from the original version, there is still quite a steep learning curve. The learning process is audible and largely depends if a group of friends or an individual is having a go.
The programming seems to take several stages:
1. People initially experiment with single instructions, resulting in simple, slow beat with a single robot.
2. Learning how to navigate around the program and place more instructions comes next, resulting in complex but disorganised sounds. At this point often more people are attracted to join in.
3. Making more structured behaviours, palindromic patterns, repeating drum beats – people who get this far tend to stay for a while, working together programming all robots to coordinate their sounds.