Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications

School of Music

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Dr Alex McLean

Research and Teaching Fellow in Human/Technology Interface

0113 343 38209

ICSRiM lab 2

Office hours: Mondays, 12 midday - 1pm

PhD Arts and Computational Technology, MSc Arts Computing (distinction)

Researcher with interests in music interaction, particularly live coding, the use of programming languages in exploratory work and improvised performance. Alex works across several areas of research and practice including music improvisation, computational creativity, programming language experience design, computer vision, cognitive psychology, textiles and dance.

Biography

Alex McLean is a Research Fellow in Human/Technology Interface working from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Scientific Research in Music. As a live coding musician, he performs with Adrian Ward and Dave Griffiths as the live coding band Slub (http://slub.org/), getting people to dance to code including at the Sonar (Barcelona), Transmediale (Berlin), Ars Electronica (Linz), STRP (Eindhoven), Sonic Acts (Amsterdam), Lambda (Antwerp), Make Art (Poitiers), Piksel (Bergen) and /* vivo */ (Mexico City) festivals.  He also collaborates with Kate Sicchio in the Sound Choreography <> Body Code project, EunJoo Shin in the installation art project Communications, Jake Harries in the spam-pop band Silicone Bake, Matthew Yee-King as Canute, and Paul Hession as the Hession/McLean Duo.
Alex is active across the digital arts, for example as organiser of regular dorkbot events in Sheffield and London, and chaired the first International Conference on Live Interfaces in 2012 (http://icli.lurk.org/), and first International Conference on Live Coding in 2015.

Responsibilities

Deputy Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Scientific Research in Music.

Publications

Books

  • Cox G, McLean A (2012) Speaking Code. MIT Press.

  • McLean A; Magnusson T; Ng K; Knotts S; Armitage J (eds.) Proceedings of the First International Conference on Live Coding. ICSRiM, University of Leeds.

  • Cox G, McLean A Speaking Code: Coding as Aesthetic and Political Expression. MIT Press.

Journal articles

  • Blackwell A, McLean A, Noble J, Rohrhuber J (2014) “Collaboration and learning through live coding (Dagstuhl Seminar 13382)”, Dagstuhl Reports Blackwell A; McLean A; Noble J; Rohrhuber J (eds.). 3: 130-168.

  • McLean A, Rohrhuber J, Collins N (2014) “Special issue on Live Coding: Editor’s notes”, Computer Music Journal. 38

  • Magnusson T, McLean A, Collins N (2011) “DVD Programme notes”, Computer Music Journal. 35: 119-137.

  • Forth J, Wiggins GA, McLean A (2010) “Unifying Conceptual Spaces: Concept Formation in Musical Creative Systems”, Minds and Machines. 20: 503-532.
    DOI: 10.1007/s11023-010-9207-x

  • Gingras B, McLean A (2010) “Book review: Embodied Music Cognition and Mediation Technology.”, Psychology of Music. 38: 119-124.
    DOI: 10.1177/0305735609342483

  • Griffiths D, McLean A, Ward A (2008) “Slub: Phone_Mr_Biskov (sound recording)”, Leonardo Music Journal Collins N (eds.). 18: 92+-92+.

  • Collins N, McLean A, Rohrhuber J, Ward A (2003) “Live coding in laptop performance”, Organised Sound. 8: 321-330.
    DOI: 10.1017/s135577180300030x

Chapters

  • McLean A (2014) “Textility of Live Code”, In: Torque#1. Mind, Language and Technology. Link Editions. 141-144

  • Cox G, McLean A (2014) “Not Just For Fun”, In: Goriunova O (eds.) Fun and Software: Exploring Pleasure, Paradox and Pain in Computing. Bloomsbury. 157-173

  • Stowell D, McLean A (2012) “Live Music-Making: a Rich Open Task Requires a Rich Open Interface”, In: Holland S; Wilkie K; Mulholland P; Seago A (eds.) Music and Human-Computer Interaction. Springer.

  • Cox G, McLean A, Ward A (2011) “Praxis de la programmation : reconsidérer L’esthétique do code généneratif”, In: Lartigaud D-O (eds.) Art++. HYX Editions. 77-87

  • McLean A (2008) “Live coding for free”, In: Mansoux A; de Valk M (eds.) FLOSS+Art. Mute Publishing Ltd.

  • Cox G, McLean A, Ward A (2004) “Coding praxis: Reconsidering the aesthetics of code”, In: Goriunova O; Shulgin A (eds.) read_me Software Art and Cultures. Aarhus University Press. 161-174

  • Alexander A, Cramer F, Fuller M, Kaulmann T, McLean A, Schultz P, Men TY (2003) “Quickview on Software Art”, In: Goriunova O; Shulgin A (eds.) read_me 2.3 reader. NIFCA.

  • McLean A, Wiggins G “Computer Programming in the Creative Arts”, In: McCormack J; d Inverno M (eds.) Computers and Creativity. Springer.

Conference papers

  • McLean A (2015) Reflections on Live Coding Collaboration. Proceedings: Proceedings of 3rd conference on Computation, Communication, Aesthetics and X (xCoAx)

  • Ogborn D, Tsabary E, Jarvis I, Cardenas A, McLean A (2015) Extramuros: making music in a browser-based, language-neutral collaborative live coding environment. Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Live Coding

  • Armitage J, Ng K, McLean A (2015) Silent Metronome. Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Live Coding

  • Ng KC, Padilla V, Marsden A, McLean A (2014) Improving OMR for digital music libraries with multiple recognisers and multiple sources. DLfM 2014: 1st International Workshop on Digital Libraries for Musicology Proceedings: Proceedings of DLfM 2014 ACM International Conference Proceedings Series, ACM Press.: 49-56.
    DOI: 10.1145/2660168.2660175, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81918/

  • Ng K, Armitage J, McLean A (2014) The Colour of Music: Real-time Music Visualisation with Synaesthetic Sound-colour Mapping. Proceedings: Proceedings of Electronic Visualisation and the Arts

  • Ng K, McLean A, Marsden A (2014) Big Data Optical Music Recognition with Multi Images and Multi Recognisers. Proceedings: Proceedings of Electronic Visualisation and the Arts

  • Parkinson A, McLean A (2014) Interfacing with the Night. Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Live Interfaces

  • McLean A (2014) Making programming languages to dance to: Live Coding with Tidal. Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2nd ACM SIGPLAN International Workshop on Functional Art, Music, Modelling and Design

  • Hession P, McLean A (2014) Extending Instruments with Live Algorithms in a Percussion / Code Duo. Proceedings: Proceedings of the 50th Anniversary Convention of the AISB: Live Algorithms

  • McLean A, Sicchio K (2014) Sound Choreography <> Body Code. Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2nd conference on Computation, Communcation, Aesthetics and X (xCoAx) : 355-362.

  • Collins N, McLean A (2014) Algorave: A survey of the history, aesthetics and technology of live performance of algorithmic electronic dance music. Proceedings: Proceedings of New Interfaces for Musical Expression

  • McLean A, Shin E, Ng K (2013) The Paralinguistic Microphone. Proceedings: Proceedings of 13th Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression : 381-384.

  • McLean A (2013) The Textural X. Proceedings: Proceedings of xCoAx2013: Computation Communication Aesthetics and X : 81-88.

  • McLean A, Reeve H (2012) Live Notation: Acoustic Resonance?. Proceedings: Proceedings of International Computer Music Conference

  • Stowell D, McLean A (2011) Live music-making: a rich open task requires a rich open interface. Proceedings: Proceedings of BCS HCI 2011 Workshop - When Words Fail: What can Music Interaction tell us about HCI?

  • McLean A, Wiggins G (2011) Texture: Visual Notation for the Live Coding of Pattern. Proceedings: Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference 2011 : 612-628.

  • McLean A, Wiggins G (2010) Petrol: Reactive Pattern Language for Improvised Music. Proceedings: Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference 2010

  • McLean A, Wiggins G (2010) Live Coding Towards Computational Creativity. Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Computational Creativity 2010

  • McLean A, Wiggins G (2010) Bricolage Programming in the Creative Arts. Proceedings: 22nd Psychology of Programming Interest Group 2010

  • McLean A, Griffiths D, Collins N, Wiggins G (2010) Visualisation of Live Code. Proceedings: Proceedings of Electronic Visualisation and the Arts London 2010 : 26-30.

  • McLean A, Wiggins G (2010) Tidal - Pattern Language for the Live Coding of Music. Proceedings: Proceedings of the 7th Sound and Music Computing conference 2010

  • McLean A, Wiggins G (2009) Patterns of Movement in Live Languages.. Proceedings: Computers and the History of Art (CHArt) conference

  • McLean A, Wiggins G (2009) Words, Movement and Timbre.. Proceedings: Proceedings of New Interfaces for Musical Expression 2009

  • McLean A, Wiggins G (2008) Vocable Synthesis. Proceedings: Proceedings of International Computer Music Conference 2008

  • Forth J, McLean A, Wiggins G (2008) Musical Creativity on the Conceptual Level. Proceedings: Proceedings of International Joint Workshop on Computational Creativity 2008

  • McLean A, Leymarie FF, Wiggins G (2007) Apollonius diagrams and the Representation of Sounds and Music. Proceedings: Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Voronoi Diagrams in Science and Engineering

  • Ward A, Rohrhuber J, Olofsson F, McLean A, Griffiths D, Collins N, Alexander A (2004) Live Algorithm Programming and a Temporary Organisation for its Promotion. Proceedings: read_me — Software Art and Cultures

  • McLean A (2001) Hacking Sound in Context. Proceedings: Proceedings of Music without walls

  • Cox G, McLean A, Ward A (2000) The Aesthetics of Generative Code. Proceedings: International Conference on Generative Art

Thesis / Dissertations

  • McLean A Artist-Programmers and Programming Languages for the Arts.

  • McLean A Improvising with Synthesised Vocables, with Analysis Towards Computational Creativity.

Research Projects & Grants

Weaving Codes, Coding Weaves
Leading an 18 month AHRC Digital Transformations Amplification project starting in September 2014, investigating the historical and theoretical points at which the practice of weaving, computer programming and music making connect.

Sound and Music Composer-Curator
Awarded funds to curate a series of events with Sound and Music as part of their 2014/2015 programme.

Weaving code: learning computer programming through pattern and craft
A three-month CCI Exchange Ignite project, collaborating with Becky Parry, Kia Ng, LoveBytes and ArtBoat, bringing pattern making in weaving, together with pattern making in live coding of music, in a pedagogic context.

Live Coding Research Network
A two year AHRC research network starting early 2014, developing the cross-disciplinary field of Live Coding, exploring such themes as live coding and the body, live coding and computing education, collaboration and diversity in live coding, and the materiality of code.

Live Notation
A digital transformations research development project funded by the AHRC, in collaboration with PI Hester Reeve (Principal Lecturer in Fine Art, Sheffield Hallam), which included building a network of live coders and live artists in dialogue.

Declaration Kriole
A component of a CSI Hub embedded research project. Working with world music band Rafiki Jazz, making a new Kriole based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As part of this project I will be collaborating with a puppet-maker, and giving the puppet a live coded voice which sings in this new language.

Research Centres & Groups

PhD Thesis

Artist-Programmers and Programming Languages for the Arts

Professional Practice

Communications
Working with EunJoo Shin (Asst. Prof, Incheon Catholic University) on a new version of the Microphone, an interactive sound installation which uses a camera as a microphone for communicating using paralinguistic gesture. [website]

Sound Choreography <> Body Code
A performance collaboration with Kate Sicchio (Senior Lecturer, Lincoln School of Performing Arts) which creates a feedback loop through code, music, choreography, dance and back through code.

Slub
Live coding band with Dave Griffiths and Adrian Ward, performing widely since the year 2000 including in many major international festivals.

Slubworld
An on-line commission from the Bristol Arnolfini: “You are invited to join a new, on-line, sonic world co-inhabited by beatboxing robots. Participants will be able to make music together by reprogramming their environment in a specially invented language, based on state-of-the-art intarsia, campanology and canntaireachd technology. The result will be a cross between a sound poetry slam, yarn bombing, and a live coded algorave, experienced entirely through text and sound.” Beta launch in May 2013.

TOPLAP
Co-ordinating this informal network of live coding practitioners and researchers interested in Live Coding since 2004.

Chordpunch
A record label co-founded with Nick Collins in 2011, promoting generative music with stage presence.

Links

Personal website.

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