Tagged: Between

After another tremendously busy year, virtual cobwebs have covered L2Ork’s front page. It is time for another mega-post, a year in review, if you like.

2015 has been an exciting year. Following my research leave in 2014, things were slowly revving up, only to kick in the high gear with the onset of the spring 2015 semester. With the highest enrollment yet, in January, 17 L2Orkists performed as part of the Band Camp in the beautiful Fife hall in the new Moss Arts Center. In March we had an opportunity to perform at University of Maryland Architecture’s “Great Space” where we were also interviewed by UMD’s Diamondback who published a really flattering article.

L2Ork performing Between at SEAMUS 2015

Spring was also a really busy time with the national SEAMUS 2015 3-day conference taking place at Virginia Tech with 14 concerts, two listening rooms, two installation locations, and six paper sessions and panels. L2Ork peformed Between in ICAT’s Cube in front of a standing room only audience as part of conference’s opening concert. The performance featured L2Orkist Brock Allen on the sax and the rest of the L2Orkists spread across two levels of catwalks. It was also the first L2Ork performance featuring the new Glasstra app for Google Glass that displayed network and FUDI-enabled GUI that was controlled via pd-l2ork, and a concealed Wiimote and Nunchuk that was used to conduct and switch between sections.

On April 9th, L2Ork had its second visit to the Ferrum College for an evening-long performance, followed by the April 19th School of Performing Arts’ Exposition scholarship fundraiser concert back at the Fife hall. Around the same time L2Ork did another photo session with the Spring 2015 generation of L2Orkists guided by the talented eye of Cooper Long. Finally, on May 4th, L2Ork performed as part of the Spring 2015 DISIS event and the annual ICAT day where we premiered two new works, including a really cool Insomniac composition by the L2Orkist Jacob Stenzel.

Summer was just as intense with two week-long Maker camps, the annual K-12 instrument building camp and the inaugural teachers’ Maker camp. With the addition of new objects, such as the complete General MIDI implementation within pd-l2ork K12 module, this year kids have taken instrument building to a whole new level. Speaking of which, Pd-L2Ork development continues at a rapid pace with a number of releases, including most recently the 20151018 release that introduces rtcmix~ external, Eric Lyon’s fftease and potpourri libraries, as well as the new autotune~ external. There is also a major new version (currently in the alpha stage) we are hoping to release sometime this academic year.

This fall, we also participated in a number of performances, including Virginia Tech’s Center for Human-Computer Interaction‘s 20th anniversary celebration, as part of the Electro-Acoustic Barn Dance festival where we premiered a new work by Eric Lyon, and perhaps most excitingly a recent outreach performance made possible by one of the summer teachers’ Maker camp participants, Stephanie Hufton at Botetourt County’s Read Mountain Middle School, where L2Ork performed in front of 300 incredibly enthusiastic middle school students and teachers. The event was also covered by the regional Roanoke Times whose Saturday newspaper front page and online flattering coverage really made our day.

So, all this brings me to perhaps the most exciting announcement. This summer, the international Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, a non-profit organization with an amazingly exciting goal of establishing and validating the so-called transdisciplinary third space that in many ways defines L2Ork and its mission, put out a call for national transdisciplinary exemplars, the pool of applicants included top national institutions. Only six exemplars were selected  by the national peer review to be showcased at the upcoming a2ru conference scheduled for November 8-11, 2015 at Virginia Tech, and we are thrilled by the fact that L2Ork was one of them!

And so this brings us to roughly today, even though there are a few more pending announcements in the pipeline I will leave for the next blog, so stay tuned for more updates soon! All right, now that we are mostly caught-up, it’s time to get back to preparations for the upcoming a2ru conference. Hope to see you there!

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raspberry_pi_image_by_TPBarratt

The sparser these posts get the more I am convinced that I need to recruit a full-time blogger. So much happened since the last post. Where to begin?

So we’ve completed our migration to our new laptops (HP dm1 4142nr or their educational variant 3115m). The new puppies are working marvelously well and offer formidable performance improvements. Let’s just say that I don’t have to leave a laptop on overnight just to compile a new version of pd-l2ork :-)

Speaking of pd-l2ork, we’ve had a number of releases, many of which have tackled simplifying the building, dependency, and deployment. We also started maintaining a download page on the main puredata.info portal. In the light of recent developments, including the Satchmo SuitSup Award L2Ork received last fall for its contributions to the Pd community, as well as last month’s ICAT/IMPACT/DISIS/L2Ork Raspberry Pi workshop (I dare you to try reading that acronym soup in one breath), yep you guessed it, pd-l2ork is now running comfortably on Raspberry Pi (RPi) hardware. New versions will be posted shortly on the updated and vastly simplified software page, including detailed instructions on how to configure and run pd-l2ork on RPi. Needless to mention all the efforts at optimizing GUI operations really come in handy on the ultra-affordable and ultra-low-end hardware such as RPi. I guess there has never been a more affordable way to teach music technology, MAKEr, or even start an ultra-affordable RPi orchestra, particularly one geared towards K-12 education (pd-l2ork K12 anyone?)!

As I mentioned in a previous post, over the past year L2Ork has been particularly active in helping facilitate new *Orks around the country and beyond. I am pleased to report that since its inception, L2Ork has helped start 5 new *Orks with three of them coming online in this year alone, including Shawnee State University, Stetson University, and Santa Clara University. Perhaps even more importantly, the said newfound *Orks are using identical or near-identical Linux-based and pd-l2ork-centric setups!

It’s been a while since I wrote a new piece for L2Ork, mainly because of the infrastructural overhaul and heavy work on improving pd-l2ork. And then there was that small formality of tenure that ate up most of the last year. Looking back, it is truly inspiring to see how much the ensemble and its supporting infrastructure have matured. Yet, without new pieces it is easy to lose direction or worse yet, stagnate. I am thrilled to report that a new piece is brewing, one that includes things like earth-rattling dubstep bass, some sick electronic percussion, and smooth meditative textures (can a dubstep go hand-in-hand with meditative textures? good question–I’ll let you know ;-) In part due to infrastructural overhaul and in part due to the newfound dubstep needs, L2Ork is now a proud owner of five new Yamaha YST-FSW050BL2 subs supplanting our old, somewhat beaten up, and definitely underpowered Logitechs. On top of all that we managed to do this without increasing the bottom-line per-seat cost of the ensemble infrastructure. Let the earth-rattling experience commence! But I digress… The new piece titled “Between” is a commission as part of a grant from Temple University’s Vice Provost for the Arts. It is being devised in collaboration with a talented dance duo from Temple University Jillian Harris and Jae Hoon Lim. Speaking of new pieces and collaborations…

Unlike last semester which was dedicated mostly to pd-l2ork clean-up and experimentation with the K-12 module, this semester is packed with performances. Following local “warm-up” shows for new l2orkists at 622 North and XYZ Gallery (as part of the Rock The Blocks festival that took place in March), L2Ork is looking forward to following performances:

Contemplative Practices for a Technological Society
April 30, 2013 8pm @ Virginia Tech Inn (CPTS Banquet)

SPRING 2013 NORTH-EAST TOUR
April16th 7:30pm Princeton University Taplin Auditorium
February 18th 3pm Drexel University ExCITe
February 19th 6pm Temple University Conwell Theater

And then finally, Spring DISIS/ICAT event scheduled for May 6th with a bunch of guest artists (more about that later). So, yes, L2Ork will be paying a visit to the place that started it all, Princeton University, followed by performances and workshops at Drexel and finally Temple University. In preparation for the upcoming tour, we’ve also done a new photo shoot for the promotional materials. Special thanks go to L2Ork’s new photographer Cooper Long for a fantastic job on an incredibly short notice. For more promotional photos, including some entertaining bloopers, check out our Media page.

It is an exciting spring indeed, one that has kept us all both busy and sleep deprived! So much for now, stay tuned for more updates/announcements/music and software releases soon!

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