Tagged: ICAT

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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18 Months Later…

Oh dear, where to begin? It’s been 18 months since L2Ork’s last post. This is in good part because I was on a year-long research leave. As can be expected, a lot happened during this time. Our program got formidable reinforcements, Drs. Eric Lyon, and Charles Nichols, the new Moss Arts Center with amazing ICAT facilities opened, DISIS is moving into a new and amazing space at the end of this semester, and we’re hosting SEAMUS national conference this coming March.

All along L2Ork remained active on many fronts. Charles, having taught L2Ork for the past year, joined me in managing the ensemble. We’ve continued development of pd-l2ork at a staggering pace (check out our latest screenshots for screenshots of  SVG-enabled patch canvas goodness). The Raspberry Pi version in particular has seen addition of new objects offering a comprehensive alternative to Arduino platforms. Last week, we utilized pd-l2ork in “Cloud,” an interactive art installation commissioned by the Ballston Business Improvement District (BID), and in part sponsored by Virginia Tech’s ICAT where 50 cloudlets were equipped with Raspberry Pis and programmed through a series of community workshops. We had over 150 participants working in teams and perhaps what I found to be particularly impressive about this experience (apart from the fact that the event and the ensuing art was an overwhelming success), was the age range of participants–we had families with small children all the way to senior citizens, all successfully completing the 75-minute workshop and producing a working cloudlet with no prior progamming experience required! Talk about making pd-l2ork accessible to all ages :-). “Cloud” is currently located in the main lobby of Virginia Tech’s National Captial Region (VT NRC) building and will stay there until the end of this month.

Pd-l2ork has seen dozens upon dozens of new releases, with another big one coming up. We have now more contributors and developers and are preparing for a historical jump away from the aging tcl/tk toolkit to the ubiquitous and Qt library (not to be mistaken with Apple’s Quicktime). We have continued to work with Boys & Girls Club of Southwestern Virginia, and in collaboration with the Montgomery County Public Schools have also expanded our summer Maker activities to gifted programs. As a result, this summer we held our inaugural Raspberry Pi Orchestra workshop where dozen children over three days and 9 hours of workshops successfully designed, developed, and utilized their own instruments. Our summer Maker camp was sold in less than 48 hours and was by far the most ambitious and successful yet. Last fall we premiered another exciting project–OPERAcraft, that also utilized pd-l2ork to coordinate real-time opera production our in-house custom Minecraft mod. And the list goes on…

This semester, we have a strong group of dozen energetic performers and I am excited by the upcoming program. We have also refreshed our VT student organization and elected new officers. Stay tuned for further announcements over the next couple of weeks. Until then, L2Ork on!

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Welcome to 2013

Following a rocky server migration that took longer than anticipated, L2Ork is now ready for another exciting semester. As part of the server migration our website has gotten a face-lift and a lot of behind-the-curtain systems have been updated and cleaned up. Hope you like our new design :-)

I am also thrilled to report that L2Ork has now become one of the signature initiatives of the newfound Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) and its Integrative Mind & Performance through the Arts, Creativty, and Technology (IMPACT) studio. With the grand opening of the new Center for the Arts less than nine months away… things do not get any more exciting than this.

L2Orkists spent the bulk of the fall 2012 semester helping with the infrastructure overhaul, namely laptop refresh (more about that soon), and a rigorous beta-testing of pd-l2ork software. As a result, we now have a formidable and ultra-stable platform we can continue building upon. Pd-l2ork is now leaner and meaner than ever. As a matter of fact, just a couple days ago we released our first officially stable snapshot (version 20130111). Enhancements are listed on the git page. The new builds now also support debian binaries for both 32-bit and 64- bit installs and the installers have been overhauled to make compiling from source easier than ever. For more info on this and a myriad of other cool features (like universal preset system) go to our Software page and download the latest version. As always, your comments and feedback are most welcome and appreciated–so, please consider joining us on our l2ork-dev mailing list.

This past fall, we’ve continued working with the Boys & Girls Club of Southwestern Virginia and consequently improving on the pd-l2ork K12 module. The result is a robust tool with a growing body of documentation linking it to K12 education.

This past fall, I was contacted by an old friend Michael Barnhart, who expressed interest in starting a K12 satellite laptop orchestra based on L2Ork’s K12 framework. I am pleased to report that Shawnee State in Ohio is now a home of yet another K12 satelllite laptop orchestra :-) Around the same time, we’ve had another inquiry from Florida about a possibility of organizing a similar K12 initiative in the Orange state. This opportunity is currently pending. I cannot get excited enough about the prospect of growing number of K12 programs like the one we started here at Virginia Tech a couple years ago.

With the infrastructure now being as solid as it gets and our education-based outreach growing, it’s finally time to shift our attention back to music, which is a good thing as I’ve been itching for some time to write another piece for the ensemble. If any of you out there are interested in writing for the ensemble, do not hesitate to contact us–there has never been a better time than now to write for us! And as we look forward to this next semester and all the opportunities it may bring, I guess this is as good time as any to remind all VT students to consider enrolling in the L2Ork ensemble. L2Ork is always on a lookout for a new talent, so please do not hesitate to contact us!

As always, we have some exciting new announcements to make in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more updates soon!

And so begins the fourth year of L2Ork’s journey…

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It’s been a busy summer. Apart from conferences, telematic geospatial performances across the Atlantic, and plenty of research, pd-l2ork has been making big strides towards becoming a robust full-fledged digital signal processing tool. The latest version includes revolutionary preset_hub and preset_node system that supports a wide range of data types as well as abstractions. It is essentially Pd’s counterpart to Max’s pattrstorage. We’ve also squashed dozens of bugs and clean-ups making pd-l2ork better than ever.

Perhaps the most exciting improvement involves Pd-L2Ork’s K12 module geared towards elementary, middle, and high school students. The new version has over 40 objects, allowing students to seamlessly interact with both Wiimotes and SARC iteration of Arduino Uno devices (a.k.a. Sarcduino firmware). And this very version together with 15 L2Ork stations is being used this week by more than 30 middle-school students as part of the inaugural ICAT K12 Maker Workshop taking place in ICAT’s Studio 1. So, head on over to the L2Ork’s software page and check out what the latest version of pd-l2ork is all about ;-)

On a somewhat related note, the entire fleet of L2Ork stations has been migrated to Ubuntu 12.04 and are now eagerly awating for the next generation of l2orkists to use them this coming fall as part of our ongoing L2Ork ensemble. For all VT students interested in participating, please do not hesitate to contact us.

More updates coming soon!

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L2Ork 2012I can hardly believe it–we are less than two weeks away from the end of the semester. With the SLEO performance barely behind us, L2Ork is now getting ready for its final performance of the 2011-2 season as part of the annual Spring DISIS Event. For additional info visit the DISIS event page or our Facebook event page. And while at it, don’t forget to like us on our new Facebook page ;-) So, here’s the summary of the most relevant info regarding the upcoming performance:

WHAT:   Spring DISIS Event featuring L2Ork
WHEN:   April 30th, 2012 @ 7:30 pm
WHERE: Squires Studio Theatre

I would also like to use this opportunity to thank our sponsors, ICAT and SOPAC, as well as our partners Kids’ Tech University. Looking forward to seeing you there!

 

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