Homegrown 'Algoraves' Are Blurring The Lines Between Artists & Engineers

Abhinay Khoparzi
Abhinay Khoparzi Abhinay Khoparzi, Prarthana Mitra

Around 2009, Alex Mclean, a musician and postgrad student in Goldsmiths in London started working on TidalCycles, a software for making patterns with code. Not much later, he coined the term Algorave along with Nick Collins to define the idea of taking live coding and using it to make dance music; a rave where people dance to algorithms.

The purpose of an Algorave which believe it or not has been around for a decade, is for people to see someone making the music in real-time with their laptop where their screen is projected and they can actually see the code. Even if they don't understand it, they can see keywords repeating and see them actually making something. That is important to the Algorave ethos.

Alex Mclean performing at an Algorave
Alex Mclean performing at an AlgoraveOur Favourite Places

By 2018, the phenomena of using programming as performance art through events reached India with Abhinay Khoparzi, a multidisciplinary creative technologist founding Algorave India along with filmmaker and visualist Dhanya Pilo to promote the performance format and underground movement of live-coding, that involves writing and editing code live in front of an audience to create music and visuals.

Algorave India not only promotes coding as art through performances and concerts, it is also a strategy for community development, music education, and computational literacy and functions as an alternative learning platform for creative coding and contemporary live-art practices in general. They have organized a multitude of workshops, raves; both physical as well as online like their 2020 MusicLab Lockdown Rave where Renick Bell from Japan and Khoparzi improvised live-coded music on their computers while the audience danced with their movements being measured using a new MusicLab mobile application that used smartphones’ accelerometers and gyroscopes.

Check out one of their gigs below.

Playing on the universal concept of patterns, coders and musicians work with them at a structural level to create music and visuals with programming language. They use computational expression as an instrument to make generative music which may have grunge, lo-fi and erratic texture but in the end is the similar to musical genres like noise, drum n bass or breakbeat. Algoraves are the future of performance art and a growing community where creative coding is used to blur the lines between artists and engineers.

Follow Algorave India here.