MODALITY Workshop & Open Lab

April 3rd, 2014 10:00 am until April 5th, 2014

Modality is a toolkit to improve and facilitate the use of digital technology within sound art and music, based on the audio programming language SuperCollider.


The Modality toolkit aims to facilitate the following:

– Access to data coming from commercial controllers, such as game controllers (human input devices? HID), MIDI controllers, OSC controllers (including mobile phone Apps), and other controllers, by providing a common interface to access these controllers. This includes creating specification files which characterize these devices.

– Access to data coming from custom/DIY controllers/interfaces, such as Arduino (or other microcontroller) based sensor interfaces, linking into the same common interface as above.

– Send output to these same controllers/interfaces.

– Graphical feedback of the current state of a device, as well as a possibility to replace a controller with a graphical user interface (GUI) substitute.

– Manipulation of data streams coming from these devices.

– Mapping the output of these data streams to output parameters of sound units.

Specific attention is given to the concept of modal control: the ability to – ‘on­the­fly’, during a performance – change the mapping of one control of a device to a control on another device, or change the functionality of one control based on the state of another control (compare to changing the function of an alphanumerical key by using the SHIFT key on a computer keyboard).

During the workshop participants will learn how to use the toolkit, create their own instruments using the toolkit, and play together to evaluate the instruments. The public workshop is a “hands-­on” workshop, where participants learn to use the toolkit
During the workshop they will create a first instrument with the toolkit, based on their own controllers.

Day 1 – Workshop

Introduction to the toolkit:

– Presentation of the overall goal of the Modality project, and the toolkit.
– Accessing devices and using data from devices.
– Exploring data coming from devices by looking at graphical representations of the data, and mapping it to simple sound units.
– Mapping out the devices (writing the specification files) of the participants of the workshop, in case their devices are not yet specified (contributing to the library of known devices).
– Manipulation of data streams
– Defining output parameter spaces
– Creating a first simple instrument

Day 2 and 3 – Open Lab

Under the guidance of the Modality Work Group, each participant will be able to work on his or her own instrument, and use and play it along with the other participants.

The Modality Work Group consists of:

Jeff Carey, Bjørnar Habbestad, Alberto de Campo, Marije Baalman, Wouter Snoei, Hannes Hölzl, Miguel Negrão & Till Bovermann : all artists and developers and experts in the SuperCollider audio programming language, particularly with a focus on live performance with controllers and interactive environments.

– 3rd of April (Workshop)
– 4th & 5th of April (Open Lab)
– €50 (Workshop)
– €100 (Workshop & Open Lab)
– €60 (Open Lab, basic familiarity with the toolkit is required)
– 10:00 / 17:00
– 10:00 / 16:00 for the last day of the Open Lab
– STEIM Concert Space, Utrechtsedwarsstraat 134, Amsterdam
link (Please indicate if you want to register for the Workshop, Open Lab or both)

Participants should bring their own laptops (with SuperCollider) and controllers, and have a basic familiarity with SuperCollider.

This workshop is organised in collaboration with nescivi ( and BEK (

Funding from: Creative Industry Fund