In recent years live coding has emerged as a practice of improvised musical and visual performance. Watching programming seems an unlikely thing to do whilst listening to music or watching a performance, but its proving a popular and effective way of reconnecting the computer performer with his audience. Al Jazari is an installation derived from a musical livecoding performance where robots are programmed live. It fuses a livecoding language and environment with computer games technology to explore the potential for improving the expressiveness of programming (by removing keyboards and syntactically complex languages). Also, this is a livecoding performance which is very accessible to audiences it looks like a game, so people have started asking to have a go themselves. To meet this desire, the Al Jazari installation is a simplified and expanded version of the original performance software which invites you to experience livecoding for yourself.
Ibn Ismail ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari was an influential scholar and engineer who lived at the beginning of the 13th century. Along with inventing and making detailed plans for many currently used mechanical devices (the crankshaft, mechanical clocks, combination locks, segmental gears and valves, to name a few) he also worked on plans for automatons and humanoid robots. Some of the robots he designed were intended to be used for playing music at royal drinking parties. As well as being inspired and named after Al Jazari, the programme also has elements inspired by computer games such as The Sims with the idea of instructions and states visibly floating above a characters head and Gullibloons Army of Darkness, a robotic installation piece, where robots chaotically explore an environment which happens to be populated by strategically positioned electric guitars.