Alex McLean is an artist, musician and programmer. He is a pioneer of live-coding and Algoraves (algorithmic raves) – sound and visual performances generated by computer code that is created collaboratively in real-time. His own sonic works manifest as a series of improvised looping structures in which simple sequences transform over time into complex patterns, ranging from sparse melodies to polyrhythmic techno. McLean’s collaborations also explore connections between the ancient codes of textiles and the contemporary codes of software, recognising the discrete structures of weaving and knitting as precursors of contemporary digital art. Exposing thought processes is an important aspect of McLean’s work. He critically challenges notions of the digital as ‘seamless’ or complete, noting that the long and involved production processes behind many impenetrable digital cultural artefacts, are curiously divorced from the finished work.
McLean’s work will be represented in the exhibition through Looking Screen. A window into McLean’s desktop and artistic works, Looking Screen will feature a live stream of scheduled and unscheduled activities and archive material produced during his residency, including a new composition, broadcast into the ODI headquarters. Also on display will be McLean’s award-winning early work forkbomb.pl which consists of 10 lines of code, which, when executed, gradually overloads and disables a computer system. A wall-based printed output visualises the state of the system during its descent into disorder.