The Slime System

International Festival Innovations Music Production and Composition 2012

S. Hewitt


The laptop group ‘HELOpg’ operates as a non-unified ensemble, exploring individually designed interfaces without common hardware or software architecture. The diversity and independence of performers within the group is valued for both aesthetic and pragmatic reasons. Nonetheless, for all ensemble members there has been an occasional urge to sync/merge further into the emergent soundworld within performance events (e.g. by sharing real-time meta-data). HELOpg have therefore been exploring the formation of new systems, software and strategies for performance within bounded-improvisation, adopting processes for integration and interaction to create new opportunities for performance. The SLIME system to be described and demonstrated here has been developed by members of HELOpg as a library for shared performance parameters via a non-hierarchical network. SLIME aims to challenge the conventional one-to-one performer-to-laptop ratio. Rather than viewing SLIME as a network of discrete laptop instrument systems, hardware and software interconnect in such a way that control data is distributed throughout the collective which might then be conceived of as a single entity, accessible and exploitable by all. Whilst operating to facilitate collaborative practice within the group, it is also intended that SLIME provide a framework for listener integration and inclusion through an interface on a broader scale. In this paper/ performance/ presentation, we will reflect on the ongoing development of SLIME, then demonstrate the system through performance, encouraging those present to contribute themselves to the event and inviting them to explore and reappraise the roles of ‘performer’ and ‘listener’.