Network Music Festival

Sound without Borders // 15-18th July 2020

Go to Online Exhibition


Technical Talks will take place at The Edge, 79-81 Cheapside, Digbeth, Bimringham, B12 0QH

The Talks are FREE to attend and open to the general public.

Robin Fencott // The challenges of designing for networked musical collaboration

When people get together to write music, the interaction is often highly creative. The group members can become thoroughly immersed in the activity at hand as contributions emerge and are exchanged between musicians, whilst spontaneous actions and happy accidents often result in new or unexpected musical directions. Collaborative music composition software has the potential to tap into this fertile ground for musical creativity, and the design of such software a fascinating, yet challenging task. Because collaborative music software involves interactions from multiple people, some of it’s requirements are very different from those of conventional single user software. In particular, collaborative music software needs not only to support individuals in creating musical contributions, but may also need to provide ways for the individual musicians to communicate, coordinate, and potentially discover who contributed which sounds or musical parts. Designers may also need to consider how sound should be presented to group members, and how the shared interface itself might provide support for organisation, planning and the establishment of musical roles. With reference to existing network music applications, and the speaker’s own research in the field, this informal and non-technical discussion will address some of these important questions and design challenges. The talk will conclude by suggesting a number of design implications for future systems.

Robin Fencott has been researching sound and networked music since moving to London in 2005. His PhD thesis ‘Computer Musicking: Designing for Collaborative Digital Musical Interaction’ concerns the design of collaborative musical interfaces. He has developed several musical multi-touch interfaces, programmed interactive soundscapes for accelerometer embedded poi and collaborated with Proboscis to create Sensory Threads, a mobile networked interactive sound experience which premiered at the London Science Museum in 2009. Robin chaired the 2012 SuperCollider Symposium Arts Exhibition. He is a freelance computer programmer, occasionally hosts circuit bending workshops, and is engaged in online music collaborations across the globe.

Nicolas Bouillot // Switcher: A New Modular Streaming Engine for Telepresence Applications

Switcher is a new modular streaming engine for telepresence applications. It is designed for enabling complex communication architectures that involve not only multichannel audio and video, but also arbitrary data streams. Switcher relies heavily on shmdata, a library enabling real time sharing of data flows between applications. This approach enables the possibility of streaming real-time data from any other media software that allows for writing external plugins. As a consequence, switcher opens the possibility to connect artists of various fields, in spite of possible difference in creation processes, software and geographical locations.

Development of switcher and shmdata library started in 2012 at the Société des arts technologiques in Montreal, Canada, and is supported by funds from the Quebec Ministère du Développement Economique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation. Switcher and shmdata have already been used for 3D telepresence installation where remote participants were captured in real-time as point clouds with lip-synchronized audio. Shmdata plugins has been written for several software architectures, such as the Puredata audio engine and the Spin framework, a graphical 3D engine for spatial interactions.

The talk will introduce switcher and shmdata general features, and will be illustrated with example communication architectures involving distributed performers.

Nicolas Bouillot (Ph.D., Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers de Paris, 2006) is a researcher at the Society for Arts and Technology, Montreal, Canada. He was a research associate at McGill university and a member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT).

His former interests led to his development of the distributed virtual concert project (2002-2006). He then contributed to the Audioscape project (2007-2009), in which mobile technologies were used to support group collaboration. After the Open Orchestra project (2010-2011), he initiated the development of switcher (2012), a streaming engine enabling complex telepresence communication architectures.

Sébastien Piquemal // Introducing WebPd

For more than 10 years, Pure Data (a.k.a. Pd) has been one of the tools of choice for hacking audio : interactive installations, live performances, prototyping games or apps. Recently, the libpd project brought Pd to app developers, enabling the creation of a whole new range of musical apps on IOS, Android or on the desktop.

Even more recently JavaScript became capable of synthesizing audio, and now the Web needs Pure Data’s superpowers! This is the philosophy behind the open-source project WebPd. Hack a Pd patch and just drop it in your web page or HTML5 app.

This talk will introduce the WebPd project, present its roadmap, technical challenges and achievements. As web applications grow bigger and bigger, we will talk about the potential of WebPd for helping split work between developers and sound professionals in multidisciplinary teams. And finally, as JavaScript is taking over native environments, we will sketch future possibilities for WebPd, as a sound engine for programming desktop applications … could there be a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) implemented in JavaScript and Pure Data?

Sébastien Piquemal, born in France in 1986, is a computer engineer, musician and sound designer based in Helsinki. He has been working as a web developer at Futurice Ltd. since 2010, mostly developing Futurice’s internal services and IT infrastructure. Sébastien is also studying sound design in Helsinki Media Lab, and on his free-time, developing open-source projects such as WebPd – a Javascript library for running Pure Data patches on the web.

Andy Farnell // Low Level Networking and Transmission of Musical Data

A technical talk on low level networking and transmission of musical data in LAN and WAN contexts.

Andy Farnell is a UK-based computer scientist.