Seminar March 7th | Alex Dowling

Wednesday March 7th, 2012

3.00pm Computer Science Auditorium (CSG-01)

Alex will give a talk on laptop orchestras that will include technical details on how to create a ‘lork’ along with examples of different compositions.

The Dublin Laptop Orchestra (DubLork) aims to bring some theatricality and ‘physical presence’ into electronic music performance by creating software instruments that require movement and skill from performers and encourage interaction and improvisation. We consist of performers (currently six to eight) on laptops that each have their own hemispherical speaker placed next to them allowing for a direct relation between themselves and the location of their sound. A wireless network is also used for syncing laptops allowing the orchestra to build up intricate rhythms and textures that go beyond anything physical musicians could perform.

This seminar will look at the steps taken to set up DubLork (i.e. how you might do the same if for some reason you wanted to..), technical issues (how do you actually create sounds and talk over networks, etc), and ways to write for this type of group (no right answers here but I can show examples of things that have worked well in the past). A couple of demonstrations of pieces will be given and the hemispherical speakers and infamous golf controllers will be available for people to mess around with if things go that way.

Alex Dowling Biography:
I make music for real and imaginary instruments. I’m particularly interested in traditional music (mostly Irish and Scandinavian) and keep looking for ways to create something that is truly original but rooted in these traditions. This year I’ll have stuff performed by the Crash Ensemble, Orkest de Ereprijs, and Sideband (offshoot of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra) among others. At the start of 2011 I co-founded the ‘Dublin Laptop Orchestra’ with Dan Trueman thanks to funding from the Irish Arts Council. I also co-created the audio-visual installation ‘Bodysnatcher’ for the Biorhythm exhibition at the Science Gallery, Dublin that subsequently featured at Oxegen and Electric Picnic music festivals. This installation was exhibited at the Eyebeam Gallery in New York during the World Science Festival 2011. Later this year I’ll be starting a PhD in Composition at Princeton University.