Beta Testing La Scala: The TX Modular System Journey
Once upon a time in the world of digital art and music, a pioneering open-source audio-visual software known as the TX Modular System emerged, crafted for the creation of modular synthesis and mesmerizing video generation. This is the story of my 15-year journey with this remarkable software, leading to the creation of a graphic score for the grand Prestatyn Cinema, La Scala.
It all began 20 years ago when I spoke with Paul at a cafe after studying a creative course with Thomas Gardener at Mary Ward college London. I had the good fortune to cross paths with Paul Miller, a brilliant mind who shared my passion for the TX Modular System. We met during a course where a group of artists explored the world of computer music using unconventional instruments – computer game controllers. Paul, a master of coding SuperCollider, soon became an invaluable collaborator. At the time, it was in its infancy, and after I decided to become a beta tester became more fluent. The software has become a playground for sonic and visual experimentation. It allowed me to explore the limitless possibilities of modular synthesis and video creation, and I was instantly captivated. You can make a lot of stuff with these tools.
As my journey with the TX Modular System continued, I found myself drawn to a grand project – creating a graphic score for the Prestatyn Cinema, the illustrious La Scala in collaboration with Rhys Trimble. La Scala had a rich history of showcasing the arts, and I was determined to contribute something extraordinary to this legendary venue, a project funded by .
I spent countless hours crafting the map for a graphic score using the TX Modular System and at this time was running Quartz Composer for graphics using a battered old power consuming Mac Pro G5 with a real graphics card networked to a couple of laptops over ethernet. The software allowed me to translate my musical proposal into a collection of art elements that were submitted by students at Glyndwr University that would play across the big screen at La Scala. The synergy between SuperCollider and the TX Modular System gave my mapping a potential depth and complexity that was truly unique, the performance was tired but then again on the budget we had, I thought it went very well.
The day arrived when we unveiled the graphic score for La Scala. As the lights dimmed, and the audience filled the grand cinema, the TX Modular System came to life. My creation, backed by Paul’s expertise and the new modules, wove a tapestry of tense sound and visuals that left the audience awestruck. Commissioned by bloc: creative technology wales
The synergy between technology and art had transformed the historic venue into a modern spectacle, paying homage to its rich heritage, and supported by Greg Byatt, so when the laptops started lagging and the graphic animation system begun to slow, miss and fail, faded most elegantly to one of the Glyndwr artist collaboration submissions we had running on dvd, it worked.
Paul compiled a treasure trove of new modules for the TX Modular System. These modules added an entirely new dimension to our artistic endeavours, opening doors to uncharted territories of sound and visuals, although back then all of the networked items had to be set individually and on the day of the performance the IP address on the network changed, so I had to spend the last few hours copying the IP across all the connected modules! Rest assured, the software was soon updated by Paul with better features, more modules and a second app with powerful visual image and animation tools called TXV and the next 2023/4 release is going to be amazing! More on that later.
Our collaborative efforts bore fruit, and the TX Modular System was on the verge of a monumental new release. The expanded list of modules, meticulously curated by Paul Miller, promised to take the software to unprecedented heights. It was a testament to the software’s evolution and the vibrant community whose shoulders we stand upon.
In the end, my 15-year journey with the TX Modular System had not only paved the way for an astonishing performance at La Scala but had also showcased the immense potential of open-source audio-visual software. It was a story of artistry, innovation, and collaboration that transcended time and space, leaving a lasting imprint on my world of digital creativity.