Fave 2006

With fully charged iPods, Jamie, Chelle and me caught the coach to London to visit Fave 2006. Lunch was Pringles, sausage rolls and Twixes which resulted in a heated debate on the validity of multipacks wrapping the fingers singularly and not in pairs as was intended. When we reached London, we got off at Earls Court and made our way cross town to Limehouse Town Hall.

We were a little early as they were still setting up plus a cycle club who obviously had the hall in the morning, still had bikes stripped all over the floor. After having our names ticked off on the list by Dan who organises Fave, we grabbed some seats. First up was Andy Farnell who ran a workshop on using Pure Data for sound synthesis. The theory was a bit heavy going but after a break and some coffee he moved onto practical examples. He showed us some quite convincing examples of phone’s ringing and water bubbling and pouring. Fire was really interesting especially how he broke it down into 9 seperate sounds. Unfortunately I was distracted a bit with the devasting news that Leeds had just done us 2-1 at home but being a true professional I was able to set my personal feelings aside and concentrate on the job in hand.

After that, Dan gave a talk and a demonstration of 64 Studio which “is developing a collection of native software for digital content creation on x86_64 hardware”. It’s currently on version 0.99 I think he said with the full first version due anytime soon. This was followed by Steve Harris who did a quick talk on LV2 but the talk that really got us scribbling in our notebooks was the one given by Chun Lee on DesireData. DesireData is a graphical front end for Pure Data and looks like MAX/MSP with some nice features. It has multiple undo levels, you can copy and paste from the text editor into the patch editor, there’s keyboard navigation so you don’t have to rely on a mouse, you can connect up multiple objects in one hit, dynamically insert objects between previously created objects and disconnect them and automatically create subpatches from selected objects which will then create the inlets and outlets for you as well. It’s currently only available for Linux although the source will build on OSX – windoze users will have to wait a bit longer. The package as a whole seemed to go down well with the audience. During the Q and A after, someone asked Chun if Miller Puckette has been in contact which apparently he hasn’t although he has been made aware of the project.

There was a break for food (chicken biryani) and some beer during which they showed Elephant’s Dream. This is a film made using open source graphics software such as Blender. All production files are available freely under a Creative Commons licence so you can remix them as you want – and some people have already. Nice looking film and it’s good to see that you don’t need a Hollywood budget either.

After the break were the performances but we only stayed for the first as we wanted to get back across town at a reasonable hour so we only got to see Simon Egan. Simon did 2 pieces; the first was made using an egg slicer which you can hear below and the second was made by connecting a volunteer from the audience up to some electrodes and using her as a sort of biometric input device. Strange but still very interesting.

As the next performer was setting up, we left and headed back to Victoria where we had time for a beer and a kebab before catching the overnight coach back. It was a pity that Rob Myers didn’t give his talk on Free Culture but even so it was another interesting day out.

Simon Egan’s egg slicer

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