“Performing Code”: Calit2’s Gallery to Launch Exhibition April 5

This Spring, the gallery@calit2 presents “Performing Code,” an exhibition and series of performances featuring the work of Shelly Knotts, a musician and audiovisualist based in Melbourne, Australia, who is active in the live coding community. 

Two women sitting behind computer screens with colorful code displayed behind them
A performance of ALGOBABEZ, with Shelly Knotts and Joanne Armitage. 

Live coding is the practice of writing code live in front of an audience, usually in the context of creating music or real-time visuals. Live coding investigates performative coding as a means of addressing “liveness” in computer performance. But a broader concern is making more transparent the processes by which humans create and improvise algorithmically. 

In addition to her live coding work, Knotts’ research and practice addresses improvisation and collaboration in networked music, exploring aspects of code, data and collaboration in improvisation. For January-May 2017 Knotts is Artist-in-Residence at the School of Chemistry at Newcastle University, where she has explored ways to use sound to represent drug design in useful ways, developed an audiovisual sound installation, written algorithms to produce graphic scores for musicians, and is organizing a chemistry themed “Algorave,” in which Algorave artists are invited to make dance music and visuals from the data with which her team is working.

In addition to performing at numerous Algoraves and live coding events, Knotts’ current collaborative projects include algo-pop duo ALGOBABEZ (with Joanne Armitage), OFFAL (Orchestra For Females and Laptops), and live coding performances [Siseta Pealkiri] with Alo Allik. In 2017, she was a winner of the PRS Foundation Oram Award for innovation in sound and music. 

Shelly Knotts typing on computer with code displayed behind her
Shelly Knotts at a live coding event.

"Live coding has become an important practice in the digital visual and sonic arts over the past fifteen years, highlighting the creative and improvisational aspects of programming,” says UC San Diego Associate Professor of Visual Arts Amy Alexander, who curated the exhibition. “Besides live coding and improvisation, Shelly Knotts’s work also spans networked performance, scientific data visualization and sonification, and cyberfeminism. Given UCSD’s strong research programs in computing in the arts and music within a cross-disciplinary environment, it’s exciting to be able to bring Shelly Knotts’s work to the UCSD community. " 

“Performing Code” opens on Thursday, April 5 with “Performing Code Stream,” a live coding and OFFAL performance stream from Melbourne, Australia, curated by Alexander. The performance is at 5 p.m. followed by a reception at 6 p.m.

On Thursday, June 7 at 7 p.m., the gallery@calit2 will host “Performing Code Live,” a live performance of “ALGOBABEZ,” followed by a panel discussion moderated by Alexander. 

“Performing Code” is open to the public from April 5 to June 8, 2018, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Gallery events are free and open to the public. 

Please RSVP to Trish Stone, Gallery Coordinator, tstone@ucsd.edu