Behind The Screens
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Behind The Screens

Behind the Screens: Joana Chicau

An interview with Joana Chicau, graphic designer, dancer and livecoder.

Joana Chicau is a graphic designer, dancer and livecoder who combines concepts from the realm of choreography with the realm of coding.

In this interview we’d like to talk about her practices and tools, as well as work in the community and the way she copes with the radical and drastic changes in her practice resulting from the corona crisis.

10 Minute Livecoding Challenge

What is your first encounter with live coding and what are sources of inspiration?

I was firstly told about live coding by Aymeric Mansoux, currently the head of XPUB; who introduced me to Alex McLean who introduced me to Kate Sicchio— a choreographer who also live codes as part of her performance practice. And from there I got to know many more practitioners, some of who I had the opportunity to invite for a series of live coding events I have co-organised at Worm Rotterdam.

Performance < Tango for Us Two > photo by Hyjunji Jung at _V2 in Rotterdam

Which platform do you use and why?

I use web environments, either created for specific projects or existing web interfaces that I “occupy”, as seen in my contribution for the 10 minutes live coding challenge. I am particularly interested in investigating ‘mundane’ websites, and bringing new meanings to the modes of interacting with them, drawing a parallel with choreography for thinking new ways of moving within those.

Screenshot from < All nerves on the universe > developed during a residency at Tama University in Japan

How has live coding influenced your way of making things?

It has certainly opened up new horizons in thinking visual composition processes. In my practice live coding has become not only a performative act but also a methodology for learning about the tools I use, finding new forms of exploring audio-visual collaborative work, and let improvisation take a more fundamental role.

Screenshot from < Anatomies of Intelligence > a research project in collaboration with Jonathan Reus

In these times of lockdown, what can we learn from the live coding community in terms of their way of organisation?

We can learn a lot from the tools and processes developed that allow for people to connect at a distance. Not only in terms of performance but also for exchanging resources and knowledge.

Screenshot from < Circle and Half > a research project in collaboration with Renick Bell

Did the isolation force you to make adjustments to your current practice, and can you elaborate on how these changes impact your work?

A lot of the production for solo work I can make wherever I can meet with my laptop and the internet; though for other collaborative work it’s more difficult to do so and it has certainly been a challenge. Also a lot of my practice means exposure, meeting people IRL, and in those cases there has been a shift, since performances and workshops have been moved online — if they have not been cancelled. I feel the biggest change, though, in not being able to plan mid or long-term, and to commit to re-scheduling.

Find the code on Github.

Find more of Joana’s work here:

Website TwitterGitHub

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This article is part of the 10 Minute Livecoding Challenge by Creative Coding Utrecht and Netherlands Coding Live — a series of events where digital artists and live coders create a piece in ten minutes.

The 10 Minute Live Coding Challenge is sponsored by Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie.



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Anne-Linde Munsterman

Anne-Linde Munsterman


// Freelancer in creative communication, media & design. // Editor for The Aesthetics of Creative Coding by Creative Coding Utrecht.