⏳ 19.07.2023

#Algorave in the 42 Berlin Spaceship

 In April 2023, prospective students and guests of 42 Berlin entered the enchanting world of composer and programmer Alexandra Cárdenas, a live coding artist whose work focuses on the algorithmic behaviour of music. The concert took place at the 42 Berlin campus in Neukölln and contained a novel listening experience: Alexandra presented an hour-long, live coding performance in which concertgoers watched and heard how music is created through algorithms in real time.

Crowd on the 42 Berlin campus


The algorave concert, sponsored by 42 Berlin, aimed to show the creative career paths available through code. “Everyone can learn how to live-code as long as they have access to a computer and internet,” Cárdenas noted on the evening.

“My advice for anyone interested in discovering live-coding is: don’t accept ‘no’ as an answer. You are not too old, or too ignorant, too brown, or too anything. Anyone can access this knowledge,” she continued, “as it is all nurtured by a big global community; don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Start with the basics and start enjoying all the things you can access online for free, such as academic papers, videos, codes you can copy and use yourself, etc. Find a live-coding community close to you, for example in Berlin we have Toplap.berlin (link: https://toplap.berlin/ ) You can visit us by getting in contact and we can guide you. Hopefully soon we will host more workshops and go deeper into different softwares. Don’t be afraid to ask, don’t be afraid to reach out and don’t listen to that inner critic.”

Over 100 concert-goers attended the algorave. Regarding her audience, Cárdenas observed, “My experience performing and teaching at 42 Berlin was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had, and I’ve been doing this for many years. It was the first time I did such a thing in a programming school and I really clicked with the audience. The space was really ours to enjoy; the preparation and the environment really allowed us to communicate and follow the flow of the live-coded performance. The audience really resonated with my message. I felt like I was facilitating a space for people to discover this practice and it was beautiful to see how fast the audience learnt to live-code during the workshop. I saw people being so moved. The way 42 Berlin teaches programming shares an ideal of communication with the live-coding community. One of my missions is to help people discover that everyone can be an artist if they want. To do an artistic activity is good for the soul and the mind, so why not with code and your computer? I love to see programmers discovering art through code.”

Cárdenas provides much needed inspiration for aspiring coders, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds.

Regarding the live-coding community in Mexico City, where Cárdenas has organised two festivals, she says: “Live coders are quite an inclusive and transparent community, and this is very important in such a troubled country with so much discrimination against women, and with such racial and other social issues. It opens a safe space to create. This is the hacker philosophy. And generally speaking, the mix of artists and hackers tend to be a happy mix.”

More information about Alexandra Cárdenas and her creative project can be found at: https://42berlin.de/alexandra-cardenas/

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Alexandra Cárdenas studied Composition at the Los Andes University in the city and completed a Sound Studies and Sonic Arts Master’s Degree at Universität der Künste, Berlin. Besides her live-coded music works, she has composed contemporary pieces for orchestra, ensembles, and soloists, and worked with theatre companies in Mexico, Belgium, and Germany. She is a core member of the international algorave community and performs worldwide using the live coding platforms SuperCollider and TidalCycles.

42 Berlin and 42 Wolfsburg are tuition-free programming schools that accept students from all backgrounds, with or without previous coding experience. The schools are part of the global 42 network of more than 40 programming schools in 22 countries with over 15,000 students in software development training themselves via peer learning. With the opening of 42 Berlin, 150 students will begin their programming studies in December. The new campus in Berlin-Neukölln offers space for up to 600 programmers.

Important focal points on the Berlin campus are “mobility” and “cities of the future”, “digitally enhanced healthcare” and “educational technologies”. The supporters of this concept, which is unique in the capital, include companies such as Volkswagen, CARIAD, Bayer, SAP, Microsoft, T-Systems, Capgemini and many other partners from business, science and politics.

If you are a live-coder and would like to our Spaceship to host an event to showcase your art or practice, please reach out to: mia@42berlin.de 

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