Behind the Screens: Kesson
An interview with livecoder Giovanni Muzio (Kesson).
Giovanni Muzio is a livecoder who goes by the name of Kesson. He combines technology and creativity to explore the space between physical and digital realms, by creating immersive experiences where sensory impressions are transposed into an abstract level.
In this interview we’d like to talk about his practices and tools, as well as work in the community and the way he copes with the radical and drastic changes in his practice resulting from the corona crisis.
What is your first encounter with live coding and what are sources of inspiration?
I was always doing live coding (mixed with precoded stuff) during my performances, without knowing it was actually a thing. By following the creative coding community, I went to what I think was the first meetup of Netherlands Coding Live (or at least was the first for me), and I realized that there was a big scene and an incredible community behind that world.
Live Coding is a way to show in a transparent way how the “magic” happens. It’s like unveiling the secret of a trick by preparing it in front of the audience, making the audience more captivated and involved in the show. It is a constant experimentation, as big part of the performance is improvised, leading sometimes to fatal errors, which in turn are part of the show itself, making it pure and genuine, but also dirty.
I am also inspired by what surrounds me in my daily life, by the perfect balance between the order of math and the chaos and unpredictable realm of randomness, by technology and by nature, by cyberpunk literature and philosophy. I am fascinated by sociology and anthropology, as I think that studying the world in which we live and the one where our ancestors lived, could lead to a better understanding of the social impact of new media.
Also, when I am doing a live coding performance, I can experiment and share imaginary landscapes that are laying virtually in my deepest part.
And of course a big plus goes the communities of creative coding, live coding and art, infinite sources of inspiration and confrontation!
Which platform do you use and why?
But I am experimenting a lot with Shaders and WebGL to render right in the browser, as I don’t like much the idea of being attached to specific machines.
How has live coding influenced your way of making things?
The big sense of community, its non-hierarchical structure and its constant interest in everyone’s practices is what mainly affected my work. From a way of making things it didn’t affect me that much, if not improving incredibly my improvisation skills but surely it changed my way of doing performances, although I also kept the traditional approach. I love the feeling of showing how I build my tools while at the same time playing them and making a show (I also got suggestions from the audience a few times), and I love and share the flat layers between me and the audience. As said, I also keep working on the traditional way of making art as I truly believe the result is important, despite the tool used, which should not (completely) be the show itself.
In these times of lockdown, what can we learn from the live coding community in terms of their way of organisation?
The Live Coding community was always very active in the digital domain, and since it’s spread across the globe, there were already cases of remote collaborations and streaming events. During the lockdown we saw these “formats” spreading to keep in general the performative world alive, and we understood that in some cases the sense of union that a physical place could offer is not the same, but we can keep learning and I am pretty sure the community will keep finding new ways to collaborate and perform.
Did the isolation force you to make adjustments to your current practice, and can you elaborate on how these changes impact your work?
The isolation forced few planned projects to a halt, but on the other hand it gave me the possibility to work on some interesting projects for streaming events and platforms which will be published soon. In the meanwhile, I could have a reasset of my tools and update my skillset, while sharing some knowledge and experimenting with tools I never had the chance (time) to do.
Find more of Giovanni’s work here:
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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.