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The Musical Web

Teachers
Tommy Martinez, Chloe Alexandra Thompson
Date
March 6, 2023 to May 8, 2023 (10 classes)
Time
Mondays, 6:30-9:30pm ET
Location
Online (Zoom)
Cost
$1200 Scholarships available learn more...
Deadline
Applications open until February 10, 2023

Apply Now

Description

With so many of our listening experiences being enabled through interactive, software based streaming platforms, it is exciting to imagine the new shapes music might take in these environments beyond the static audio formats we are familiar with. Tools for shaping sound on the web have become more standardized, giving artists a wide range of digital processes to explore generatively produced sound work. The breadth of realized potential under these new circumstances however is still emerging and under-explored. Together we will define what it means to make music in networked environments, expanding our idea of a compositional process to include interventions with code on the world wide web. We will ask, how can web frameworks be used to create new models for music making, and how is our understanding of the sonic arts growing to include web and other technologies? In this 10 week class, participants will work with a variety of tools to build interactive, spatial and generative sound pieces online. Class activities will unfold through discussion, sharing, and hands-on lab time. Approximately half of the course will focus on composition and sound design exercises to fuel the coding process. These activities will include field recording, sampling, and digital synthesis techniques. Participants will leave with their own personal web based sound pieces and will collectively define what music can look like on the web. No previous programming experience is required, just a willingness and excitement to work with html, javascript and other audio programming languages.

Images courtesy of teachers.

Course of Study

  • Week 1: New Experiments — How are musical artists currently working with web technologies in inspiring ways? What are the possibilities and challenges of working in this medium? In this class we will explore these questions and set up our programming environment.
  • Week 2: Tone Poems, Synths and Effects — We will work together to investigate synthesis and signal processing through building FM / subtractive synthesizers, as well as integrating simple audio effects.
  • Week 3: Field Recording, Sampling and Collage — In this week we will look at field recording and sampling techniques. We will use pre-recorded sounds, or collect some from our home and collage them on a web page.
  • Week 4: Compositional Strategies — Arrangements and Timing: Sequencing and using timing and changes for the tools we have built.
  • Week 5: Publishing — Wait, how does the web work? In this class we will learn to publish our websites to the web and learn about the history of the world wide web.
  • Week 6: The Platform — In this week we will discuss popular music platforms for musical distribution and the support or problems they pose for musicians. We will envision our own smaller platforms and distributional methods.
  • Week 7: Virtual and Web Based Performance — In this week we will discuss the work of performers and composers who have used the web (or some form of it in their work). We will use our own websites as tools for live performance.
  • Week 8: Beyond the Library — Writing our own custom audio code using the AudioWorklet API. This will be a very basic example but will illustrate the workflow for making our own audio nodes (noise generator, Math.Random(), etc…).
  • Week 9: Unknown Futures — How artists and collectives are using what have become known as Metaverse technologies and Web3, automated code generation and machine learning to imagine new distributional methods.
  • Week 10: Final Presentations — In this class we will share final projects and present or perform our musical web works.

Expectations

We expect that participants attend with an open mind and are willing to try out new forms of working both collaboratively and independently.

We aim to set up an environment where participants feel empowered to ask questions, but understand that this can be challenging when people are working with new technologies or creative modalities for the first time.

Time & Workload
  • There are weekly experiments and exercises, which appear to result in deliverables, but there is not a grading system in our coursework. We hope that these experiments provide a structure for you to grow and explore your own practice, with new tools, ideas or inspiration.
  • There is a final presentation to share back what we learn together. This exercise does not need to include work from every module, it is there for you to work towards a goal of focus and have an opportunity to share your work. With consent, this will be featured on a public website for others to explore and learn from as well!
Technical Experience

No prior coding experience is necessary, just an excitement to explore new sonic territory through code and art. The course will be taught in p5.sound, Web Audio API and Max MSP.

Materials
  • Mac or Windows computer (if you wish to use a ubuntu/Linux OS based computer let us know so we can plan accordingly)
  • Sound recording device (can be a phone!)

Is this class for me?

This class may be for you if:

  • You are an artist and want to expand your practice to include computer based forms of music making on the internet.
  • You are a coder / designer and want to expand your practice to include composition and sound art.
  • You want to spend 10 weeks thinking about form in a different way.

This class may NOT be for you if:

  • You are looking for a coding bootcamp.

Meet the Teachers

teacher

Tommy Martinez

Tommy is a musician, programmer, and organizer investigating algorithmic approaches to sound composition, simulations, and manifestations of identity, tradition and history in electronic culture. He has lectured on computer music and media art and is a professor at School of Visual Arts. Tommy is the co-editor of Software for Artists Book: Untethering the Web (Pioneer Works Press, 2022), and currently a Brooklyn College Sonic Arts MFA candidate.

he/him · website · twitter · instagram

teacher

Chloe Alexandra Thompson

Thompson is a Cree, Canadian, interdisciplinary artist and sound designer. Thompson approaches sound as a mode of connection—embracing the kinesthetic agency of sound to compose abstract feats of spatialized audio recording and synthesis. Her work engages tactics of material minimalism to create site-specific installations that sculpt droning, maximalist experiences out of space and sound. Using audio programming software, computational processing, and acoustic instruments, Thompson’s work seeks to create connection by guiding audience participants through these augmented experiences.

she/her · website · instagram

Accessibility

Our programs are conducted in spoken English with audiovisual materials such as slides, code examples and video. Online programs are held over Zoom.

Please take care and be well. We hope you are comfortable in your housing, living, and working situation in general. Never hesitate to ask us for advice and reach out if you have accessibility requests or need any assistance during your time at SFPC. We will work closely with you towards co-creating the most accommodating learning environment for your needs.

reach out with questions about access...

How do I apply?

Apply Now

How do you use tools, technological or not, to express yourself?

Applications open until Applications closed on February 10, 2023.

You can expect to hear back from us about the status of your application on February 24, 2023. Please email us at admissions@sfpc.study with any questions you have.

more about what we look for in participants...

How much does it cost to attend?

For 10 classes, it costs $1200 + processing fees, for a one-time payment. We also offer payment plans. Participants can schedule weekly or monthly payments of the same amount. First and last payments must be made before the start and end of class. *Processing fees apply for each payment.

SFPC processes all payments via Withfriends and Stripe. Please email admissions@sfpc.study if these payment options don't work for you.

Upon payment, your space in the class will be reserved. We offer scholarships for those who cannot pay full tuition. Read more about scholarships below.

I can’t pay for SFPC. Can I come at a reduced rate, or for free?

If you can’t pay full tuition, we really still want you to apply. Our application will ask you how much you can pay. We will offer subsidized positions in all of our classes, once each one has enough participants enrolled that we’re able to do so.

We have also started a scholarship fund, and we will be offering additional scholarships as community members redistribute their wealth through SFPC. We direct scholarship funds towards participants who are low-income, Black, Indigenous, racialized, gendered, disabled, Queer, trans, oppressed, historicially excluded and underrepresented.

Right now, tuition is SFPC’s main source of income, and that is a problem. It means that we can only pay teachers, pay for space, and organize programs when participants pay full tuition to attend. Tuition is a huge barrier to entry into the SFPC community, and it disproportionately limits Black participants, indigenous participants, queer and trans participants, and other people who are marginalized, from participating. Scholarships are not a long term solution for us, but in the short and medium term we hope to offer them more while we work towards transforming SFPC’s financial model.

How can I help others to attend SFPC?

For SFPC to be the kind of place the community has always meant it to be, it needs to become a platform for wealth redistribution. If you are a former participant, prospective participant, or friend of the school, and you have the financial privilege to do so, please donate generously. There is enough wealth in this community to make sure no one is ever rejected because of their inability to pay, and becoming that school will make SFPC the impactful, imaginative, transformative center of poetry and justice that we know it can be.

What if I can’t go, can I get a refund?

  • Yes, we can give you 100% refund up to 10 days before class starts
  • 50% refund after 10 days, until the first day of the class
  • No refunds can be given after the first day of the class

Interested in more learning opportunities at the School for Poetic Computation? Join our newsletter to stay up to date on future sessions and events, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter. Support our programming through scholarships. Get in touch over email.