Tagged: Updates

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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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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Isn’t it ironic that I would finally find a few moments to blog right on April 1st? Now, who will actually believe anything I write? Add to that earlier prank on our Facebook page and we’re definitely not boding well in the “we’re-not-kidding” department.

So what’s new in the wondrous world of L2Ork? With the new Institute for Creativity, Arts & Technology (ICAT) research engine revving up, things have been particularly intense over the past couple of months. pd-l2ork development has been also intensifying. The latest version (no April fool’s joke) includes intuitive tooltips, infinite undo, an array of GUI improvements, and a revamped Wiimote connectivity.

The most notable development is the upcoming performance at the first international Symposium on Laptop Ensembles & Orchestras that will take place at Louisiana State University April 15-17. L2Ork will be one of the four guest ensembles (also featuring European Bridges Ensemble, LSU’s Laptop Orchestra Louisiana, Mobile Performance Group, and Princeton’s Sideband) performing on April 16th @ 10:30pm in the Varsity Theatre. Hope to see you there!

I am also pleased to report we’ve had two additional publications accepted to conferences, including aforesaid SLEO, and the upcoming NIME conference. One deals with our ongoing work on integrating Taiji mind-body practice, while other is explores our most recent project in collaboration with the Roanoke’s Boys & Girls’ Club of Southwest Vriginia.

The other day, most of the l2orkists added their own signatures on the beams that will soon find their way into the new Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. The center will also be the home of the aforesaid ICAT. Until I upload the latest photos from my camera, check out our Twitter feed for a photo from the event.

Lastly, on April 30th, L2Ork will be also performing at home in the Studio Theatre as part of the spring 2012 DISIS event. We also have some special guests planned for this event so stay tuned for more exciting updates soon! Until then, happy April Sages day everyone :-)

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L2Ork North-East Tour of 2012 Yep, it is that time of the year and L2Ork is getting ready for our first mini-tour of the 2012 with following performances and presentations:

February 19th @5pm — University of Maryland Baltimore County
February 20th @12pm — Rutgers University
February 21st @12pm — Temple University
February 21st @2:30pm — A talk at Community College of Philadelphia

Some of the PR is already up, so please make sure to check it out for more detailed info on the events. Hope to see you there!

Apart from the frantic tour preparations, things have been particularly busy on the recruitment front. L2Ork has again grown to over dozen members, many of whom have joined us less than a month ago. Needless to say, last couple of weeks were quite intense as everyone worked hard to get up to speed with the L2Ork repertoire. There are also a number of exciting announcements we would like to make, pertaining to our Spring itinerary as well as other related developments. So, as we work towards our next blog, here’s a quick update for pd-l2ork users. Pd-l2ork now features regular releases of both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. A bunch of updates have been made to improve responsiveness of the user interface and to squash a few lingering bugs and regressions and the latest version released earlier today is making its way online as I write this. I am particularly proud of the fact that pd-l2ork has been rock solid in terms of stability for over a year in rehearsals and performances alike. So, head over to our software page for more info…

Stay tuned for more updates!

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