Over the last year or two I have programmed several pieces of software dedicated to authoring different kinds of media. Each is a sort of sketch which incorporates a set of features by which the media in question can be generated or manipulated. These programmes (or apps) often embody segments of bespoke workflows, the virtual part of a sequence of tasks which are usually sandwiched on either end by the physical world.

Commercial software and hardware is usually developed as a solution to a generic set of problems, whereas my programmes (or apps) each address a very particular problem-space. Although they nod toward the generality of off the shelf packages such as the Adobe Creative Suite or the Roland TR 909 drum machine in terms of general intention, each can be conceptualised as a tool with a very narrow set of capabilities.

Towards the end of the development process in each case, I’ve made a ‘how to’ video of the kind common on YouTube. Sometimes, as is the case with the BLESH app tutorial video, the intention is instructional. I want to show potential users how to use the app. I made the MARK video as a demo to give potential test users a sense of the system’s process and musical output. It turns out that I’ve jumped the gun a little. The MARK sequencer is by far the most complex project I’m working on and it’ll be a good while before there’s something worth showing them! Finally, the Beachcomb video was produced to accompany a recent public art commission proposal. The software enables me to rapidly visualise a rule-based pattern layout for a bespoke concrete paving system.

In all cases, the videos serve a dual function. They are useful as a way to communicate the system’s feature set and workflow to potential collaborators, but on a very basic level they also act as a kind of prosthetic memory, an instruction manual aimed at my future self so I can recall their mode of operation and the related interface shortcuts whenever I return to use them again.

DMN. December 2017






The password is paver