Inspired in artistic movements related to tool hacking, social media and massive access to image and sound production softwares, Black Coded MIDI proposes an exploration of the relationship between image and sound by expanding Black MIDI genre with scripts in different programming languages. Narrative scope of short animations, visual and sound rhythm patterns generated with abstract shader compositions, pattern generation via formulas or live coding techniques, and spoken word to MIDI are some of the artistic searches that we intend to deepen during the residency. We aim to develop an online collaborative editor to live code and generate MIDI scores into our Black Coded MIDI device, encouraging remote cooperative art making.

By creating tools for specific purposes, the human being set in motion a process of environmental and self change that reaches the present, embedding the globe, our bodies and psyches with technology. Culture embraces innovations, art redefines them.

hack #demoscene #glitch #datamosh #click&cuts #glitchhop #vaporwave #synthwave #meme #socialmedia #mass #softwarelibre

There has been several artistic movements/phenomena in the recent past that approached art from a hacking perspective by pushing production tools’ boundaries, such as the demoscene in the 90s (characterized by crackers who looked for hardware and software limitations of computers and videogame consoles to create optimised programs for musical and visual composition, and later, work with error as aesthetic resource). But with a socialised internet and established platforms for social interaction and content creation a new wave of artists appeared in the 2000s, using online and free software tools to manipulate and hack digital material such as glitch art (with digital image techniques as data bending and data moshing, or digital music genres as click&cuts or glitch hop). Other examples of cultural impact of this massive access to production tools can be genres such as vaporwave and synthwave, or even communication expanders like memes.


Among other new cultural manifestations, we are especially interested in Black MIDI. Arised in social media, this artistic practice was born in 2009 when Shirasagi Yukki uploaded to Nico Nico Douga (a Japanese video-sharing service similar to YouTube) a video of a reinterpreted version of a popular videogame song, composed with a high number of MIDI notes (piece intended to be executed by devices, not piano/keyboard human players). Also known as blackened musical notation due to the black note head stains in a score (if translating MIDI to pentagram), this practice articulates both visual and sound aspect. The MIDI notes flow down the screen and activates the notes of an horizontal piano roll, located at the bottom, producing moving visual patterns. By virtue of this activation, sound is perceived, sometimes as rhythm, melody and harmony and sometimes as a dense, homogenic timbre, due to clusters created by note duplication and addition processes. Both visual and sound aspects were thoroughly explored by the increasing number of people who started producing and uploading their own Black MIDI videos and organising virtual challenges.

diversity #development

As creative code enthusiasts we want to appropriate Black MIDI aesthetic resource with a strong ludic and experimental approach to update and expand it by hybridising it with several technologies via different programming languages and tools, including software developed in Latinamerica. We want to explore the image and sound relationship, focusing on each one.

stroboscopicanimation #phenakistiscope #bioscope #python #mido #pygame #omnimidi

We developed a script in Python that allows automatic image to MIDI conversion, enabling us to use any video source as input to get MIDI sequences in a score, which will work as frames in a tape, by reproducing it with Mido and Pygame (Python libraries to read/send MIDI data and to create a visual interface, respectively). Our device output reminds of antique stroboscopic animations.

livecoding #hydra #javascript #shaders #glsl #bytebeat

We would like to explore short animation narratives in this up-cycled device, and also explore visual and sound rhythm by working with digital video synthesisers such as Hydra, a live coding language made in JavaScript, shader languages as GLSL, or by writing “bytebeat formulas” and converting them to MIDI to visualise sound waveforms.

pianola #speakingpiano #patterns #tidalcycles #conlonnancarrow #bytebeat #flok

But we would also like to explore the image/sound relationship by focusing on different sound-oriented strategies. Just as Conlon Nancarrow in the late 1940’s experimented with musical composition through fractal patterns applied to sound duration and pitch in his player piano studies, we would like to explore high density MIDI patterns generated with TidalCycles, a language made with Haskell for live coding rhythmic sequences and sound processes, and with nanc-in-a-can, a library that we developed aimed to extend the sound language SuperCollider by adding classes, methods and functions with specific Nancarrow composing strategies. Besides, we would like to work with semantic language by adapting the speaking piano technique, by which a spectrogram of spoken word activates frequencies areas in a piano.
Finally, we would like to adapt an online collaborative script editor we developed named Flok (made with JavaScript) for remote live coding jams with the aim of building an online collaborative tool to live code a Black Coded MIDI device that helps building new non-utilitary human bonds.

In this preliminary stage we also realised that some animation MIDI patterns produces a sound which, when observed in any DAW (Digital Audio Workspace) shows beautiful sound waves. We might want to use those for further visual pieces.

Iris R Saladino

I am a sound programmer and producer.

I trained mainly in music and electronic arts. My interest led me to study double bass, but as I approached contemporary music and, within it, electroacoustics, I was able to incorporate knowledge about sound as a physical phenomenon and its treatment with technological means.

I got to know analog synthesis thanks to Ernesto Romeo’s master classes, a foundation that would later allow me to understand digital synthesis in classes by Hernán Kerlleñevich and Mene Savasta Alsina first, and then by Lucas Samaruga.

I am part of the GBA-CABA node of CLiC (Collective of Live Coders) where I operate as an artist, researcher and producer, although I also contribute to the La Plata node.