Monday, March 15, 2010

The Linux Laptop Orchestra

Though I realize the article to which I'm referring:

is a bit old, nevertheless it warrants some conversation. In recent years, there has been an absolute boom in laptop performance, with orchestras sprouting out as far as Montana, modeled in many ways after the PLOrk/SLOrk phenomena. Dr. Ivica Ico Bukvic will be returning to CCM for a live performance with his Linux Laptop Orchestra (L2Ork), which has for the most part focused on creating music using the Linux OS and finding new ways to build speakers for less money. Trust me, I just completed my third trip to IKEA for our own salad bowls, building speakers off of Ico's design. (IKEA must be wondering why their salad bowls are becoming so popular with the computer music community. Then again, maybe not.) Soon, CCM will be presenting our own laptop orchestra, name TBD, but we are equipped with speakers and Wii-motes, another necessity.

All of these implements (IKEA bowls, Wii-motes) are becoming a relative necessity in the laptop orchestra community. I am researching the topic of aesthetics in laptop performance for an independent study next quarter, but I think the article on cdm and the conversations it provoked are very interesting. Coming from Milwaukee, I played for two years in MiLO (Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra), a group founded by Dr. Christopher Burns. We, however, didn't utilize the same spatial elements of PLOrk, etc. (individual speaker pods), nor Wii-mote movement, instead focusing our performances around collective improvisation often utilizing real-time video processing and guest instrumentalists. In short, I'm finding all of these trends to be very interesting to study. I can't help but ask myself: Are we nearing a point of a normative performing aesthetic in the realm of laptop performance? Will the laptop orchestra one day be as prevalent as the symphony orchestra?

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