November 20, 2017 7:30 PM - 9:15 PM

Liveware is a new performance duo comprised of Michael Century and Shawn Lawson, both Professors in the Rensselaer Arts Department. The name Liveware plays off a slang term that denotes the “human operator” in computer systems. Lawson is an expert practitioner of “live-coding” using graphics languages he developed himself. Century performs on piano and accordion, and uses software he developed allowing live manipulations.

Live-coding takes on-the-fly programming and adds a performance aspect. The code editing itself is often displayed live, projected for the audience to see. Lawson’s live-coding integrated development environment automatically compiles and executes the code as it’s being written (imagine fixing and building a car while driving it on the highway). Liveware will premiere a new machine learning algorithm to Lawson’s software. The AI will respond to Century’s software and performance with live coded visuals. Arts PhD student, Jeremy Stewart, was key developer for integrating the machine learning. Musically, for the software-augmented parts of the program, Century is taking advantage of EMPAC’s Yamaha Disklavier, a player piano with computer interface.

The music for this show features several composers who make use of rigorous formal structures and repetitive patterns with subtle variations: Johann Sebastian Bach, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Century himself. Using the accordion for the sound element, Century and Lawson will premiere a new composition dedicated to the memory of late Rensselaer Professor of Practice, Pauline Oliveros. Music by Morton Feldman and John Cage provides a contrasting time-feel to the typically pulse based musics of Bach, and the US minimalists.

This performance is supported in part by a grant from the Media Arts Section of the Canada Council for the Arts.

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