Since LAMPO in March of 2011, I’ve been referring to some of my solo performances as: “Prepared Desktop.”
The handle/title came out of a class visit to the “Playful/playme” course at SAIC in 2008 (taught by jonCates and Ben Chang). I was invited to share I♥RESETS, a hybrid video game/album by I♥PRESETS. As a part of my presentation, I shared my process of preparing for an I♥PRESETS show.
During a typical I♥P practice, we build a (loose) narrative based on what’s coming out of our various systems. We take those ideas and build a programatic framework to visually and sonically flow through and improvise with. For me, this involves building, hiding, and wedging scripts, GIFs, programs, and short-lived objectives throughout existing applications and the OS itself.
As the class was discussing a widget I had hacked together, Ben Chang remarked: “It’s a sort of Prepared Desktop.” His assessment and lucid connection to John Cage’s piano augmentation resonated with me.
In the Prepared Desktop, nuts, screws, bolds, and bits of rubber are swapped for a bricolage of widgets, icons, Applescripts, and folders.
The workflow that has emerged over the years supports odd technical obsessions, cultivates unnecessary skill-building ventures, and encourages executable content creation.
Just as you go along the beach and pick up pretty shells that please you, I go into the piano and find sounds I like.
- John Cage from CD-booklet “Sonatas & Interludes” 1995