Ben Taylor is an interdisciplinary artist and creative coder who specializes in web art, web audio, and networked performance practices. His research investigates the way ideas translate between the arts, and how we can apply that history to guide the artistic use of networks. He likes to build toolkits that help other people make music in web browsers (nexusosc.com), and occasionally uses those toolkits himself, with varying success.
Ben has presented his research internationally at conferences and festivals including the Pixilerations New Media Festival (Brown/RISD, 2011), New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME 2013 Seoul, 2014 London), Web Audio Conference (IRCAM/Mozilla 2015), Leaders in Software and Art, Music for People and Thingamajigs, and others. He is a founding member of the Louisiana Mobile App Orchestra (LMAO), and his music has been released by the Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS).
He received an M.F.A. In Electronic Music & Recording Media from Mills College and has studied with members of the League of Automatic Music Composers and The Hub, Brian Harnetty, and Pauline Oliveros.
When not making art with the web, Ben is a developer and CTO at bitdreams.io, a creative audio app company, and teaches creative coding at Goucher College Digital Arts.
I'm an active member of several communities surrounding art & technology. I've participated in technical committees for the New Interfaces for Musical Expression Conference and the Web Audio Conference. I also volunteer for Leaders in Software & Art.
Interests creative code, networked art and music, web development, sound art, browser-based performance practices, tuning, outsider art
Contact taylorbf [at] gmail [dot] com
Educational Design of Live Coding Environments for the Browser Journal of Music Technology in Education, in press
C. Roberts, J. Allison, B. Taylor, D. Holmes, M. Wright, J. Kuchera Morin
In December I released NexusUI 1.0, a major update, just in time for the 1st Web Audio Conference. I travelled to Paris to present at the conference with Jesse Allison. We presented an in-progress project BRAID, which is a way to build audio instruments by drag-and-drop right in the web browser. The conference was at the legendary electronic music studio IRCAM, which was incredible to see. The conference included talks about some cool new projects including (but not limited to) Lissajous, Meyda, and Tone.JS.
I also participated in a concert, at the Mozilla Paris office, of distributed web audio performance, meaning all sounds were created through the mobile devices of the audience. I performed a version of my networked piece, Pearl River. Of particular note, though, was a piece Fields, by Tim Shaw and Sebastien Piquemal, which has been touring for a few years now. The piece, and the concert, felt like a new way of listening. I expect this is a performance paradigm we'll be seeing more of in the years to come.
Oh, and another new project (what am I doing to myself...) tentatively titled ToneJam, which I hope to turn into a tool for improvisatory distributed computer music performance.
Other misc notes:
• I recently completed an independent study of sorts, on the relationship between visual art and music in the 20th century. If you're interested in this subject, you may enjoy my blog on the subject, linked to there. First posts are at the bottom.
• Teaching web development at Goucher this spring. More specifically, teaching how to think in code.
NexusUI must have made a splash at the conference because we got a surprising amount of press in the following weeks, including on Create Digitial Music via Peter Kirn, the front page of Hacker News(!!), Web Audio Weekly, and even in China? The project got 10,000 hits in a week and I'm so glad that people out there are using it. Two projects are even expanding upon it via github open-source sharing -- Duplex NexusUI and Rhizome, which I have been working on with Sebastien Piquemal of the Media Lab Helsinki.
More recently, I just finished up another residency at Goucher College Digital Arts. My amazing graduate students learned how to write creative code using the Processing language by Ben Fry and Casey Raes, creating mobile apps and interactive installations. See the teaching section for more photos of their awesome work!
Lastly, in addition to the new teaching section, I'm working on updating the site with my recent projects including some mobile apps and laser cut instruments, and hopefully finishing many artworks that I've been neglecting... Stay tuned!
Andrew Bernstein and Leo Hylan, creative code, Digital Media Programming @ Goucher College, Fall 2014
March 2, 2014
A few new projects and videos –
Pearl River for Laptop Ensemble - now playable online! pearlriver.whitechord.org
This is a piece of music I created about a year ago, in which each player controls one note and the ensemble organizes its improvisation through a chat window. It's made with Web Audio API and node.js. If you are in a laptop ensemble, please try it out with your group!
Nexus UI demo video
I recently worked with Will Conlin to make a demo video of some mobile phone apps that I made. These apps use the NexusUI mobile music toolkit that I have been working on for the past year or so, in collaboration with Jesse Allison and Yemin Oh. Check it out!
Mobile Music + Theater = ?
Finally, I recently got to collaborate with a few actors and screenwriters... I hope to share a video of that collaboration soon. In the meantime, here is some musical browsing that has come from early conversations with them.
I'm happy to report that a short piece of computer music that I composed this summer, inflected dreams has been accepted for the upcoming SEAMUS electroacoustic "miniatures" CD. SEAMUS is the Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States, and I'm really pleased to be able to be involved with the project. Especially excited to see what other composers came up with for this year's theme, negative space. Thank you to the panel of judges and please check out the CD when it is released this winter!
In other news, the Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana has an upcoming concert on November 11 at the LSU Shaver Theater. We'll be playing all kinds of odd sounds and musics, many that send data through the network as a means to create compositional form. My piece DaisyHead - made entirely with Web Audio API and node.js - will be on the concert. More details on the concert here.
Lastly, a story:
In 2011, when I visited New York to present at the wonderful LISA salon, I stayed on the couch of my friend, artist Erik Sanner, in Harlem. The next morning, he woke me up before sunrise, we went to his basement studio, and he asked me to contribute to a painting while having a conversation about art while we videotaped ourselves painting and having this conversation. Then we ate Cream of Wheat and I drove back to Boston. It was a pretty awesome experience, mostly because of how much I got to learn from Erik and his artistic process and open-mindedness. Erik brought in several other collaborators into that artwork. Now he is showing the piece at Allegheny College, with the video of those conversations being projected back onto the painting. Nice!
August 2, 2013
Working hard recently on an iPhone game, Moonball, which is a sort of space-golf with portals and obstacles and fun things. The game is made entirely with HTML5/JS and web technology, ported into app form. If anyone would like to serve as an alpha-tester of the game, or if you would like to get involved, please contact me! It will hopefully see light of day in the App Store this fall.
In other news, I recently created a short audio work using the same homemade software that I used to create my Dream #6 short album. I submitted the work to the SEAMUS "miniatures" competition which Ted Coffey is putting together this year, so I suppose I can't post it now, but will soon.
Moonball (current state)
july 16, 2013
Nexus UI makes it easy to create a musical interface in a website, accessible by web browser or mobile phone. You can either connect it to the new Web Audio API, or
have the interface send OSC messages to your Max patch or any musical software with an OSC listener.
Nexus is full of fun toggles, dials, multisliders, accelerometer sensors, and bouncy balls. Check it out! Feedback is more than welcome!!
June 1, 2013
Just returned from a wonderful trip to NIME 2013 in Daejong and Seoul, South Korea, and felt like
revamping my website. Also taking the advice of Isabel Draves to present my bio / persona with a little
more clarity. (Haven't had an actual bio on my site for some time now.) I have tended to use this whitechord.org space as much to experiment with web design ideas as I have to show my own work.
Now, I feel like I'm at a point where I don't need to explore so much anymore, and I can have a stable design that lets me post updates, new works, etc.
NIME was great, I shared Plum Street, an online performance using node.js and websocketing, with artistic contributions by Nathaniel Parsons. That work is sort of endlessly in progress for the time being, but I will post some documentation soon.
Upcoming projects on the calendar include a mobile app game (seen below), a data vis JS library, two laptop ensemble compositions, making large contributions to nexus UI, and recording some summer ambient music with Philadelphia's Petal Shield.