Tuesday, December 18, 2012

DorkBot PDX

Steve Holden and I crashed this subculture on invitation from Ward Cunningham, inventor of the Wiki and now working on his Federated Wiki concept (mostly in JavaScript).  The venue was Someday Lounge, where I'd been long ago for Esozone, and just a few doors down from Backspace (connected management and kitchen as I understand it) where Tim DuRoche was playing jazz that evening -- I found out by happenstance.  SW 5th and Davis.

This event had me thinking of Trevor and his performance as Gadgetto by William Black.  Having mechanical and/or electronic music emerge mysteriously from black (opaque) boxes was one of the themes of the evening.  They called it open mike, meaning OK to fail.  Some seemed to take this literally, making the talk about failure and having the demo not work.  Such discomfort may be therapeutic when properly channeled.  This seemed a good venue for that.  Dork out at DorkBot.

Some of the presentations were quite successful, especially the purely musical numbers (though perhaps with visualizers -- the Wall Street audio collage was amazing, child-sounding voices reading headlines about a moody character).

A full-sized doll house served as the target of a specifically customized projection.  Characters danced in each window and light schemes took over the surface.  The display was seasonally apropos as control of lighting by electronic means is a lot of what winter is about, decoration-wise.

Much of the talk was about MIDI and pure data.  Meanwhile, at our table, the discussion was somewhat deeply into electronics, instrumentation, welding techniques and so on.  I was clearly in the presence of some very gifted and talented individuals.  Many thank yous to all concerned, and to Ward for alerting us about this bi-weekly gathering.  I look forward to being there again sometime.

We drove home past Dukes Landing, now abandoned.  A lot of musicians took advantage of that facility, to share with an audience.  Belmont street kids.  Muddy's.  A mostly vanished subculture by now.  They come and go.

The conversation at our table was educational, not run of the mill.  Much of it went over my head or got filed for future reference.  I like to connect the dots, but sometimes it's more dots than connections.

Viva L'Arte