Behind The Screens: Aliceffekt
An interview with Devine Lu Linvega, also known as Aliceffekt.
Devine Lu Linvega is an esoteric and constructed languages nerd, who currently resides on a sailboat and writes live coding techno while sailing around the world. In this interview, we’d like to talk about their practices and tools, as well as work in the community and their upcoming activities.
What is live coding, what does it mean to you and how has it influenced your practice of making and thinking about art?
To me, livecoding is inviting people into the real-time process of creating a piece of music. At music shows, I’ve always wanted to sneak behind the stage, and to look at the screen of the performer. Algorave was a festival dedicated explicitely to looking behind the screens, blending the ideologies of open-source with music performance, this forever changed how I thought about live electronic music. I’ve dedicated the following years to research how to craft engaging experiences through livecoding.
Could you tell us what your first encounter with live coding was and what are your sources of inspiration?
While living in Japan, I was following the livecoding scene evolve remotely, through forums, chatrooms, and social networks. I was trying all the different environments that artists had created for their sets, trying to figure out what was compatible with my own process. I had already began to think about ways to serialize music source files, and livecoding seemed like the ideal way to preserve tracks in human-readable plain-text, as opposed to heavy proprietary formats and complex binaries.
The first livecoding show I saw was Algomech 2019, I was instantly hooked.
Do you have any preferred platforms and/or languages, how did you come to use them and do you have a specific reason for it?
I use Orca, it’s a 2D esolang similar to Befunge. It’s implemented on top of a tiny portable virtual machine that runs on all sorts of old computers and handheld devices, it’s extremely light. The source files are plain text, making it easy to store, preserve and exchange projects.
Are there any platforms, tools, libraries or other extensions you
have developed yourself and if so can you elaborate on why and for
I’ve built various synths designed to play well with Orca and respond to specific commands. I tend to play shows by alternating between livecoding sequencing and knob tweaking for synthesis. The virtual machine that Orca is running on top of allows me to bring Orca to the NintendoDS, and various other gaming consoles, making it possible to carry my livecoding environment along with me.
Are you part of a (local) community? How do you organize and do you share works or collaborate often?
I travel a lot, but try to join in local events when possible. I participate in a little community of artists and developers with a handful of livecoding members, some of them also use Orca, like @npisanti. We sometimes do livesteams, exchange tips and create remixes of each other’s patches.
In what forms are algorithms and randomness applied in your practice or performance? Do you try to pursue serendipity and how or why not?
While I embrace procedural music creation, I don’t use randomness much at all in my sets. I tend to use livecoding as a way to create complex sequences that can evolve beyond my original planning, but while there are plenty of random generators in the tools, I tend to stick to very deterministic music writing. Maybe that’s something I should explore more, I’m still just a student of livecoding myself.
Do you have any recommendations for people who have not gotten into live/creative coding but are curious to give it a try?
Try out all the different livecoding environments that you can find, find something compatible with your creative process, and if you can’t find any that you like, write one!
Could you share a sneak-peek into an upcoming project or something you are currently working on and very excited about?
I’m spending my days working on the virtual machine that currently hosts Orca, it’s called Uxn. I’ve been fascinated by the concept of emulation and digital preservation lately, this project is a way for me to explore how simple systems with few possible operations can be used to host complex systems. I keep my notes on this topic under the permacomputing portmanteau. If this is something that interests you, I am inviting you to read Viznut’s paper.
This article is part of the Behind The Screens series of Creative Coding Utrecht — a series of events where digital artists and live coders create a piece in ten minutes.
The Behind The Screens series is suppported by Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industries and Gemeente Utrecht.