Slow coding, slow doing, slow listening, slow performance
- Hester Reeve, Sheffield Hallam University
- Tom Hall, Anglia Ruskin University
Explorations of slowness over the last generation have ranged from the ‘slow food’ movement, ‘slow scholarship’ and ‘slow technology’ in design practice (Hallnäs and Redström 2001), to recent academic work on aesthetic slowness (Koepnick 2014) and in popular culture, the emergence of ‘slow television’ (BBC Four Goes Slow, [http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02q34z8]). Whilst speed has been an ubiquitous trope surrounding cultures of the technological, in this workshop we focus on the implications of different notions and approaches to slowness in relation to the body (hearing, seeing, performing), sound and composition (composition of code, music, writing or a mixture of all three).
This workshop is open to coders/performers and writers/theorists alike. Our objective is to allow participants to experience and understand the aesthetic value of altering the timescale of live coding and live performance, and to consider the wider social and theoretical meanings of doing so. We consider this workshop to be an experimental laboratory rather than a masterclass.
What to expect: firstly, through simple workshop situations, we will facilitate participants to experience the ‘texture of the present’ via a series of slow activities aimed at the senses. Secondly, through participants’ own work, we will provide a framework for participants to consider and experiment with how insights gained from the above might open up potentials for their own practice of composition (and therefore for the experience of their audience or readership). There will be an opportunity for an open group discussion of issues and discoveries that have arisen at the end of the session.
Some of the questions that have informed the content of our workshops are:
- How does timescale adjust the meaning and experience of a work? Can we meaningfully distinguish between aesthetic and purely temporal slowness?
- How can slowness be used as a non-oppositional force of the contemporary?
- ‘To slow code, is to know code’? (Hall 2007)
- What might a mindful experience of the electronic feel like?
- To what extent does subjectivity–authorship control code and under what circumstances does it collaborate with code to let in creative ‘unknowns’?
We ask participants to bring a current piece of work in process with them to the workshop (and a laptop if a coder, an instrument if a musician and writing means if a writer).
Hester Reeve has been working with time based live art performance for over 20 years. Many of her solo works are over 4 hours long, sometimes spread over a period of days. In 2012 Reeve devised the AHRC-funded “Live Notation – Extending Matters of Performance” with live coder Alex McLean ([http://blog.livenotation.org]). [http://www.shu.ac.uk/research/c3ri/people/hester-reeve]
Composer, performer and musicologist Tom Hall coined the music-related meaning of the term ‘slow code’ in a 2007 manifesto (Hall, 2007) and has a decade’s worth of experience teaching and performing using SuperCollider. Recent compositional work uses traditional instruments with electronics whilst embracing notions of aesthetic slowness. [http://www.ludions.com]
- Hall, Tom. 2007. Towards a Slow Code Manifesto. Available online, http://ludions.com/texts/2007a/
- Hallnäs, Lars and Redström, Johan, 2001. Slow Technology: Designing for Reflection. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 5 (3). pp. 201-212.
- Koepnick, Lutz. 2014. On Slowness. New York: Columbia University Press.