Workshop 1

AHRC Real-time Visuals Workshop 1
Feb. 26, 2013
Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne

Theme: Data Abstraction to Cinematic Mashup – Visual Languages in Game-Based Live AV performance

Organizers: Tom Holley, Steve Gibson

This workshop will explore the influence of gaming on live audio-visual performance. The link between gaming and sound is not immediately obvious, but there is clearly a strong connection based on the number of game programmers who also perform as live audio-visual artists. Game programmers such as Tom Betts (UK) have alternate careers as game-boy performers. This workshop will focus on how gamers translate their work in game programming into a live performing context. The workshop will be of interest to game designers, computer scientists, VJs and electronic musicians.

Important notes for attendees: It is recommended that attendees bring their laptops along. For workshop 2, a 30-day trial of Unity may be downloaded here For workshop 3 please bring along your Kinect if you have one.



(30 attendees maximum)

Boardroom 2, Sutherland Building, Northumbria University

9.30-10.00 Welcome and coffee


10.00-12.00 Workshop 1 – Adriana Sa and John Klima


Evidencing both convergences and divergences between a musical perspective and a videogame perspective, Adriana Sa and John Klima will present both individual and joint work. They will discuss their divergent criteria while working with videogame technologies to make music, and expose how divergences can actually became creative matter.

Adriana Sa is transdisciplinary artist, performer/composer. Designing and building instruments is part of her creative process. Using digital and analogue, and often architecturally-scaled instruments, she explores ways of extending music beyond sound. Lately she is particularly interested in investigating how audio-visual instruments may modulate rather than obfuscate sonic experience. Between 1998 and 2008 she exclusively dedicated to her artistic work, developing and presenting her work in Europe, USA and Japan. Currently she is a researcher in Arts in Computing at Goldsmiths College.

John Klima employs a variety of technologies to produce artwork with hand-built electronics, and computer hardware and software. Consistently connecting the virtual to the real, Klima builds large scale electro-mechanical installations driven by 3D game software he programs from scratch. Since the mid 90s, his work has been exhibited in the US, in Europe and Japan, and it has been reviewed in several books. Klima has been a lecturer, and participated in several conferences including as a keynote at Siggraph. He has been coding for 25 years, and works in the videogame industry since its beginnings.


12.00-13.00 Lunch


13.00-14.30 Workshop 2 – Tom Betts, aka Nullpointer


In these days of mega-budget development studios and advertiser funded media art how can a lone coder get anything done! In this workshop, Tom will show how procedural and generative methods can help drive game production and interactive A/V design with  the development tool Unity*. Tom will show a number of his own projects and prototypes demonstrating modular and generative A/V design.  The workshop will then cover the basics of using Unity (development principles, 3d/2d spatial constructions, user interaction, audio & processing). Participants do not need extensive coding experience, but familiarity with development environments (Processing/Flash/OF) will be helpful.

*(a crossplatform IDE (mac/pc) with both a Pro and Free version, publishing to Mac, PC, web and Linux)

Tom Betts, aka Nullpointer, is an artist, academic, coder and gamer.  He’s been a lecturer, designer, published musician, professional artist, warlock… but right now he is working on his PhD about the sublime in digital games and he’s also head coder at Big Robot where he’s made a game for Channel 4 and published games on Steam. He’s exhibited digital artworks and performed at international venues such as Sonar, ZKM, Lovebytes, FACT and has done professional design/coding for Tate, the V&A and the Southbank Centre.


14.30-15.00 Coffee Break


15.00-17.00 Workshop 3 – Justin Love


In November 2010 the Kinect sensor for Xbox 360 was successfully reverse engineered.  Free, open source SDKs soon followed that made full body 3D motion capture possible via an affordable off-the-shelf consumer technology.  This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to the fundamentals of the Kinect sensor and teach them how use it as a real-time media control interface with any MIDI or OSC compatible software. No programming experience required.

Justin Love is an entrepreneur and multimedia artist based in Victoria, BC, Canada. Justin is a partner and VP Operations at Limbic Media – a company that specializes in real-time, interactive media control technologies. Justin’s work has been featured at a number of International events including Digital Art Weeks (Switzerland, 2007; China, 2010), Computational Aesthetics (Canada, 2009; 2011), and the International Symposium on Electronic Arts (Turkey, 2011; USA, 2012). Recent projects include: Exploding, Plastic & Inevitable ReduxGrand Theft Bicycle, Praystation, Borealis, and running the G++ interactive media gallery.


17.00-20.00 Dinner/Free time





(200 audience members maximum)
Space 4/5 Culture Lab, Newcastle University


20.00-22.00 Tom Betts / Nullpointer

Tom will perform a number of short audiovisual pieces using his own software, written in Unity and Pure Data. These will range from generative performance systems to some experiments with realtime A/V sampling, he might even get his gameboy out if he’s feeling adventurous.


20.00-21.00  Donna Leishman – Borderline

Performed by Steve Gibson and Atau Tanaka

Commissioned by the HERA funded collaborative research project ELMCIP (Developing a Network-Based Creative Community: Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice) Borderline adds to current debates on immersion and interaction within Electronic Literature – it challenges the solo reader and the gaming win/lose paradigm by designing a new dual interaction system where two users via improvisational action interact together within an audio-visual environment. The narrative is based on borderline personality disorder (visualizing the problems of disassociation and hysteria through image, movement and narrative structure).

*Sound and Programming by Dj Nord