Live Coding as a Performing Art Practice

  • 06. 03. 2015
  • 06/03/2015
  • 12:45
  • IIM, Technická 2

Demo performance and lecture by Juan A. Romero and Patrick Borgeat on the growing international live coding scene, audio live coding in the SuperCollider programming language and their work with Benoît and the Mandelbrots, a renowned live coding band based in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Live stream –

About the Artists

Juan A. Romero and Patrick Borgeat both studied musicology and music informatics at the University of Music in Karlsruhe, Germany. After finishing their degrees they started teaching computer music at IMWI – Institut für Musikwissenschaft and Musikinformatik. They formed Benoît and the Mandelbrots together with Matthias Schneiderbanger and Holger Ballweg in 2009 and received a Honorary Mention in Digital Musics and Sound Art at Prix Ars Electronica in 2012. In 2013 they co-organized the international live.code.festival in Karlsruhe. In 2014 they formed the audio visual duo Ganzfeld.

Juan is currently finishing his doctoral degree and is teaching SuperCollider and creative coding at the IMWI. He is also doing freelance jobs as a sound designer/composer for games and media.

Patrick is currently working as a freelance programmer/artist. His current main interesst shifted from programming sound to programming visuals.

Live Coding

Live coding is a performance practice where code is written and manipulated live on stage to generate sound and/or video. Following the tradition of the TOPLAP manifesto code manipulation is usually projected for the audience’s pleasure. Live coding is situated at the intersection of software culture and art: it enables new and deeper modes of improvisation with computers by exposing and manipulating the innards of software. Starting as a loose movement, somewhere between academia and underground, live coding has become an active field of computer music research and with the advent of the Algorave it is raising more and more awareness in the general electronic music world.

Benoît and the Mandelbrots

With Benoît and the Mandelbrots Romero and Borgeat performed over 60 live coding concerts all over Europe since 2009, ranging from performances under bunk beds to large open air stages, from dance clubs to churches and from art exhibitions to silent movie screenings. They use the programming language itself as an at first sight non-intuitive, but simultaneously expressive interface between man and machine in order to improvise sound and music. Sonic conceptions and structures are expressed live as source code, and interpreted by the computer. The laptop musicians are connected over a network, enabling them to communicate, synchronize and share data. Their music varies from electronica and ambient to experimental, noise, drones and avant-garde depending on the event, audience, venue and course of the collective improvisation.


Benoît and the Mandelbrots use the SuperCollider audio programming language for all their live coding. A brief introduction to live coding with SuperCollider will be given, demonstrating some of the basic concepts of SuperCollider and both its strength and ease to use as a live coding langauge, as well as a demonstrational live coding performance.


Attendants are encouraged to bring their own laptops with the SuperCollider software already installed, to follow some simple examples. SuperCollider is open source software and available for Windows, OS X and Linux.

If time permits they will also talk about their new audio visual project Ganzfeld, which doesn’t apply live coding techniques on stage but as an integral part of the compositional process. Ganzfeld will will give a performance on the same day at NEONE.



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