Undergraduate Degree




DM3009 Programming for Audiovisual Performance

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites:DM2008; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

The course focuses on the development of a hardware-software system for a designed audiovisual performance using controllers, real-time software, loudspeakers and projectors.


DM3009 Programming for Audiovisual Performance is an intermediate class in hardware-software system design aimed at realising an audiovisual artwork where audio and video syntheses are piloted in real-time by the performer. Software programming permeates the systems design, involving controller devices, parameter mapping, synthesis, sound diffusion and light projection.

The class will introduce students to artworks in the emerging field of real-time audiovisual performance, sometimes referred to as ‘visual music’, and its roots in ‘sensory cinema’, interactive computer music and related experimental art forms. Students are encouraged to design and think of new ways of realising a performance that challenges existing models in interactive musical, theatrical and visual art forms. By developing their project as an integrated hardware and software performance system, students are required to push the boundaries of their imagination to achieve some degree of novelty of expression.

The class embraces creative use of technology by relying on a variety of resources. While the conceptual, analytical and creative thinking are essential assets, it is important that students learn by doing - i.e. programming, performing - and by establishing a self-learning environment. Level of completion, formal execution and conceptual complexity will be valued on equal basis. The class engages the students in all the phases of work towards a performance, including ideation, design, implementation, execution, evaluation, documentation and analytical reflection..

Course Outline



1 - 3

Concepts of interaction design. Introduction to relevant contemporary artworks, to creative coding environments for audiovisual performance, and to principles of real-time interaction..

4 - 5

Design of a hardware-software performance system.


Development of a demo, proof of concept.


Mid semester presentations and critique

8 - 11

System development, implementation, debugging and testing


Final oral presentation of projects



Learning Outcome

Understanding of and experience in a creative coding environment. Understanding what is novel in contemporary forms of multimedia real-time performance. Understanding the importance of creative, conceptual and analytical approach in system design for audiovisual performance.

Student Assessment

  1. Final Assessment: 70%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 30%

Students will be assessed based on the following criteria: delivery, inventiveness, creative thinking, clarity and participation in self-driven learning.

Continuous assessment components will include:

  • Exercises in creative coding environment for audiovisual performance

  • Individual, group and team-based assignments

  • Writing and documentation of underlying/background research and system design


Suggested Reading:

  1. Chion, Michel (1994). Audio-Vision. New York: Columbia University Press

  2. The Cambridge companion to electronic music (2007). Edited by  Collins & d'Escriván

  3. Center for Visual Music (CVM). http://www.centerforvisualmusic.org/

  4. Olsson, Fredrik & Collins, Nick (2006). klipp av: Live Algorithmic Splicing and Audiovisual Event Capture. Computer Music Journal Volume 30, Issue 2  (June 2006). ISSN:0148-9267

  5. Len Lye Centre. http://www.govettbrewster.com/LenLye/centre/

  6. McCarthy, James (2002). Rethinking the Computer Music Language: SuperCollider. Computer Music Journal. Volume 26 ,  Issue 4  (Winter 2002). ISSN:0148-9267

  7. Levin, Golan & Lieberman, Zachary (2005). Sounds from Shapes: Audiovisual Performance with Hand Silhouette Contours in The Manual Input Sessions. http://www.flong.com/storage/pdf/articles/NIME_2005c_MIS.pdf

  8. MaxMSPJitter. Cycling’74, http://cycling74.com/

  9. Pure Data. http://puredata.info/

  10. SuperCollider. http://supercollider.sourceforge.net//

Resources/Equipment: computers, loudspeakers, projectors, microphones, controllers (MIDI, USB, gaming, Bluetooth etc