DECIPHERING RANDOMNESS – creative hacking and coding workshop

June 12th, 2014 11:00 am 
STEIM Concert Space, Utrechtsedwarsstraat 134 Amsterdam STEIM Concert Space, Utrechtsedwarsstraat 134 Amsterdam

This workshop poses fundamental questions concerning the workings of the human brain and randomness. It is intended for experienced users interested in the practical use of randomness for creative purposes in visual arts, music and film.


DATE: 12th of June, 2014
TIME: 11:00 ­ 18:00
COST: €40 (includes hardware & software)
LOCATION: STEIM Concertspace, Utrechtsedwarsstraat 134, Amsterdam

What you should take:

We encourage the participants to bring a device, which emits electromagnetic waves and computer with PD or Supercollider installed. All the materials will be provided and are included in the registration fee.

During the workshop the participants will learn:

Generating random numbers is not easy. People are extremely bad at generating random sequences. People behave in a mechanic and repetitive manner. Human brain aims to conceive reality within periodic sequences and patterns.

practical application of pseudo­random generators for constructing visual works, music compositions and films with the use of languages such as Pure Data, Supercollider, LISP, Fluxus, Ianix etc. (automata, monte carlo method, random walks, Markov processes, pseudo­random generators, probability distributions and others)

extraction of randomness from a physical processes through hacking analogue devices for detection and amplification of electromagnetic fields (ultrawaves, infra, microwave etc.), gas particles, photons and decay of radioactive materials (alpha, beta, gamma) and complex random brain processes

mapping of random streams output to parameters of sound devices, DMX light beams, video and 3D projections

Randomness also plays an essential role in artistic practice (concept of the ready made, meta language in conceptual art, new formal ways of composing music through the use of probability distributions and stochastic techniques eg. Xenakis’s GENDY systems, experimental music and noise etc.).

The workshop researches the concept of randomness and nondeterminism that appear in many subject domains (mathematics, physics, biology, computer science, art and economy). Unpredictability, incompressibility and other key features of randomness turned out to be strongly connected. Nowadays, many procedures based on random processes lie at the basis of applications in games, stock market and banking. The workshop also deals with significance of randomness for socio­political processes. Internet is understood more in terms of control exercised by government agencies (NSA, GRU and intelligence agencies). Random numbers are crucial for: encryption keys, random authentication, key­agreement schemes, generating prime numbers and so on.


About the instructor

Robert B. Lisek is an artist and mathematician who focuses on systems and processes (computational, biological, social). He is involved in the number of projects focused on radical art strategies, hacktivism and tactical media. Drawing upon conceptual art, software art and meta­media, his work intentionally defies categorization. Lisek is a pioneer of art based on AI and bioinformatics. Lisek is also a composer of contemporary music, author of many projects and scores on the intersection of spectral, stochastic, concret music, musica futurista and noise. He also explores the relationship between bio­ molecular technology, code and issues arising from network technologies by combining his DNA code with codes of viruses and recently by testing influence of radioactive materials on biological entities. Lisek is also a scientist who conducts a research in the area of theory of partially ordered sets in relation with artificial general intelligence and complexity theory. Author of many exhibitions and concerts, among others: NUCLEAR RANDOM GENERATOR ­ Harvestworks Arts Center New York and ICM Gallery Chelsea, RADICAL MIND ­ Columbia University New York, TERROR ENGINES ­ WORM Center Rotterdam, SECURE INSECURITY ­ ISEA Istanbul? DEMONS ­ Venice Biennale (accompanying events)? Manifesto vs. Manifesto ­ Ujazdowski Castel of Contemporary Art, Warsaw? NGRU ­ FILE, Sao Paulo? NEST ­ ARCO Art Fair, Madrid? Float ­ DMAC Harvestworks and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, NYC? WWAI ­ Siggraph, Los Angeles? Falsecodes ­ Red Gate Gallery, Beijing? GENGINE ­ National Gallery, Warsaw? Flextex ­ Byzantine Museum, Athens, FXT­ ACA Media Festival, Tokyo and ISEA, Nagoya.