Times New Dutchman #3: Algo~Rhythms

Remake//Remodel: An interview with Joana Chicau
Thu 25 Apr '19

Whilst sitting at my desk the other day, moseying through the upcoming weeks at WORM via the website’s agenda, a rather special event presented itself to me. Algo~Rhythms is an ongoing series curated and hosted by Joana Chicau, with a heavy focus on the possibilities of coding, particularly within a live setting. For those not familiar with the term, ‘coding’ refers to a set of instructions written for computers, which, when followed, can create a myriad of outcomes such as apps, websites, and games. Whilst these codes are usually preprogrammed, Algo~Rhythms is all about exploring how they can be used in real-time. So how did Chicau, a classically trained ballet dancer, end up merging the worlds of performance and coding? I thought I’d ask her to find out.

“I suppose it all came naturally as I have a background in dance and started coding because of my other background in graphic and web design.

After experimenting with different ways of interacting with web tools and environments, I started researching notation systems, mainly from choreography to understand how to combine the two worlds. “Choreo-Graphic Coding” grew from this attempt to build a hybrid vocabulary which I use as scripts for live coding.”

Chicau’s puts an emphasis on the ‘graphic,’ explaining to me that “performing the scripts live is a way to stress the corporeality of codes: from my body to the one of the machine — choreographic loops.” Algo~Rhythms though, is about so much more than this. As a curator, Chicau looks to shine light on other interpretations of code, “to bring together performers that contribute to plural and diverse meanings of what live coding is/ can be.” It is this openness and experimental attitude that has made the event such a success at WORM in recent years. But what will the upcoming event feature?

“At #3 there will be an interesting spectrum of tools, most of them created by or highly modified by the performers themselves.

I am also interested in the notion of embodiment within real-time algorithmic practices. In the upcoming evening, each performance will explore various forms, from in-situ to remote presence. And while T.Y.P.E will type their code in a shared live coding environment, Marije Balmaan will focus on gesture for live coding her piece.”

Marije Balmaan and TYPE are two of the evening’s performers, but Chicau is keen to tell me about the night’s final act. “The last session will be even more of a surprise as we are preparing a jam session (audience members can join!). The stage will open with Timo Hoogland and Raphael Sousa Santos representing the Netherlands Coding Live together with Sabrina Verhage and Carolien Teunisse who are part of the Creative Coding Community — all will be playing with different audio visual tools and languages for live coding! We will expand on this during the Q&A at the event as well.”

Although not performing at the event, it remains unequivocally Chicau’s, being founded after she felt “inspired by having participated in some international live coding events organized by different people in the community, so I decided to initiate a new series of performances “Algo~Rhythms” — here in Rotterdam. WORM has been supporting and hosting this events since the first iteration in 2017!”

So, why should you attend the event? “If you are new to live coding you can expect an insight to different practices, communities and platforms. For those who have been following the scene there is always a lot to experience as performances are highly improvised and made anew.

And in both cases, it will be an amazing evening of Algo~Rhythms.”

Times New Dutchman is written by PR Intern Eddie Smith, with new instalments published at irregular intervals over the coming months.

Algo~Rhythms #3: Remake//Remodel is at WORM on Sunday 28th April, 19:30.

Times New Dutchman is written by PR Intern Eddie Smith, with new instalments published at irregular intervals over the coming months.

Times New Dutchman is written by PR Intern Eddie Smith, with new instalments published at irregular intervals over the coming months.