The Piksels and Lines Orchestra is an experimental performance system for graphic design. The image industry populates our visual culture, yet it exists in a world with an inner life that is invisible to most people. The orchestra shifts the focus from the end results to the actions and decisions that take place during the creative process. By turning the tools of graphic design, the software applications, into instruments, the active labour and the operational gestures of designers are converted to sound. Actions like painting, cutting, setting text, adding layers, drawing shapes etc. are reflected by sonic events within a score. At the same time, the system brings the audience visually into the everyday work environment of the designer by exposing the application interfaces as they are used. In order to make the necessary software modifications, the applications used in this project are all free and open source software.
Howell and Nordby are working with four volunteer actors this evening, performing the first composition for the PLO system, a noise opera set in a fictional design agency. The software instruments played in this performance include GIMP, MyPaint, and Scribus, and this instance of the PLO Soundserver is realized in SuperCollider.
The performance starts today Friday 12. April 21:30 GMT +1 and the live stream is found here.
The PLO system was commissioned by Piksel as part of the Libre Graphics Research Project funded by EU, and realized through an artist residency throughout November/December 2012 in Bergen. The first presentation of the system was given at the 10th anniversary of the Piksel festival: Piksel [X] 24th November. The technical documentation, specifications and source code of the system is stored on GitHub.
The initial idea for the Piksels and Lines Orchestra commission was developed during the 3rd Libre Graphics Research Meeting held in Bergen June 2012, and is one of several commissions developed through the LGRU-project.