bek 2004::


The ap project [jonathan kemp + martin howse] can be described as
working through a series of social, performative and (free)
software-based projects towards the notion of an artistic operating
system in its broadest sense.  ap are active in the creation of open
physical digital systems, hardware development, the free software
movement, networking technologies and speculative theories.
Performances, presentations and ad-hoc actions have taken place
world-wide in numerous venues and festivals.

The ap project is concerned with the liberation of data encoding and
generation from any given model or architecture, with the central
notion of environmental code expanded/contracted into code-based
environments [a nodal, interoperable OS] where layers of abstraction
are treated as environment - mobile, almost viral code nodes invoke
open exchange as opposed to protective/security-based OS modeland/or
I/O dependencies.  The project, where the content of the work is the
description of its system, is promiscuious, distributed and about open

ap views technology as not a series of progressive tools within the
lineage of species development, rather that this teleology masks the
beautiful physical ontology [or 'otherness'] of the machinic. Thus ap
use the inherent data structuring of virtual and physical machines at
an analogue/digital border to set up exo/endo parallaxes through
micro/macro realities rewritten in cellular constellations.  It could
be argued that the disruption of such a disjunction is central to such
a project or system which will utilise the cut (or elimination of one
pipe of data flow in favour of another) as its major symptom and
ongoing principle (compare to scratching) the cellular, granular
nature of a self-generating/changing micro/macro structure of
re-combining links and data flows made manifest.

as our work is highly process driven, it's easier to give an idea of
where we're situated using a few examples of our work as

Project descriptions:

1] core performance/situational work:


the ap02 system has been used in performances at festivals in holland,
sweden, iceland, germany in autumn 2002 and in norway, france, germany
and london in 2003. ap02 software enables the experimental insertion
of hardware modules (robot dj decks, film transfer and laser imaging
modules) and performers into a baroque, networked, cellular
system. ap02 presents a promiscuous model of data generation and
self-display, making use of a virtual machine
architecture. reconfigurable code is interwoven with and determined by
network and environmental data. the gdapp (generic data) matrix
application is used by two performers to access, manipulate and
manifest complex underlying data flows and metrics.

this complex mesh of custom software and hardware makes manifest
underlying systematics in a highly immersive, intense performance; the
digital made physical, audible, and visible through geological
computing and complex code systems. recoding data processing
algorithms on the fly, ap transform the performance space into an open
laboratory. heavily improvised, playing with the collapse of massed,
barely functional salvaged equipment and software systems made
manifest in sound/noise and image, ap present a complex,
process-driven constructivist performance; the symphonic rise of the
attempt to piece together fugal systematics is played out against the
noise of collapse and machine crash at the deserted border of control.

ap02 is a virtual computer, an organism which runs on top of a host
computer. it mirrors the host machine almost exactly. it possesses a
CPU (Central Processing Unit), memory and can detect all manner of
input and provide a wide range of outputs. however, rather than
running instructions designed for speed and efficiency in
accomplishing a specific task, the ap02 virtual CPU runs a reduced and
abstracted set of instructions. and the programs this CPU runs are not
determined by a user or programmer. ap02 runs software which has been
determined entirely by its environment. in other words, the
environment has written the code which ap02 runs. this environment, a
mirror of the host computer, can consist of audio data from a
microphone or CD, video from a webcam or other input device, all the
information in the files held on the machine and all network data
recieved by the machine and on the local network. each ap02 virtual
machine also communicates with others running across the global
internet. all data is converted from disparate file formats into a
generic format for use by the ap02 system.

this data is used to construct an initial cell space whose individual
cells will run on the virtual CPU. this cell space is constantly
examined by the software to determine new cell boundaries which
establish the identity of cells as they split and reproduce.

the set of instructions used by these cellular programs running on the
virtual CPU has been carefully chosen to match the needs of the cell
space. it allows for complex computations, reproduction and
communication. the instruction set also allows for great
flexibility. there is no incorrect series of instructions and the
virtual machine cannot crash. communication is conceived here
primarily as primitive self-display. this act is priveleged and cells
which are un-responsive within the environment are swiftly
replaced. the two key instructions used by the cells are say and
listen. listen looks for activity within the machine environment and
inserts this data into the cell body. say operates in reverse,
inserting a portion of the cell body into the environment. this
implies some form of display or a communication with cells running on
remote networked hosts. each ap02 application maintains a list of
internet hosts which are running ap02. as cells communicate remotely,
the application exchanges lists with others and adds new hosts to the
list as they arise. the network grows as applications communicate and
exchange lists. the cell environment expands.

ap02 is expressed within three interwoven projects; as physical self
display devices [ap0201], as a freely available, distributed networked
application [ap0202], and as the performance-based application
interfacing to a range of hardware modules such as EEG equipment


the current gdapp version marks an essential transition point within
the ap project: between ap02 distributed virtual machine software and
future fm01 film machine

gdapp is an intensely nodal, modular, environmental, self-referencing
system which thoroughly explores a modern practice of mobile
coding. gdapp builds on ap02 foundations [embedded and distributed
versions], and extends and multiplies this model: performing a coded
dissection towards nodal/geologic strata models.

the gdapp virtual machine model is essentially globular/dynamic; a
changing node structure of connections, of flow and
instructions. gdapp provides a total environment, an operating system
which dynamically re-codes itself, is recoded in operation.

gdapp codes through a nodal model under which nodes run and write code
and data, nodes run other nodes, nodes link other nodes, nodes reflect
macro linkages or embed code and linkages within a neural model of
linkage excitation. all node code is executed through single or
multiple nodes which can also execute arbitrary data. access to
diverse, autodetected PC hardware and I/O is provided by a range of
nodes. above all nodes are mobile, eminently distributable across
gdapp instances, operating and interacting on the gdapp vm bed. a node
can function as instruction, data or as memory. nodes can even contain
a full nodal space.

2] example ap projects (in addition to core performance and
situational work) over the last two years:

a] series of lectures using non-traditional formats addressing end of
discourse/non-discursive spaces and species-independent notions of
technology. examples include a highly nodal presentation (chunking)
at Ultrasound03, UK and augmented platform presentation at ram4,
Helsinki, Finland.

b] media manipulation and theoretical interest in auto-destructive art
eg. monument re-call, public process/planning deposition with local
government for the deconstruction of the island of santa clara, san
sebastian, spain

c] highly situational performances in public space eg. mobile
satellite performance at back_up festival, weimar, germany 2003 using
wireless technologies and custom code.

d] production of ap software (distributed, performative applications
based around virtual machine architectures). ap projects are designed
around modular, re-usable, semi-autonomous platforms,
fast/slow-time-based computations, mobile coding, virtual machine
abstractions and peer-to-peer/networked systems. all ap software is
developed using free software models and collaborative techniques. an
information realpolitik for distributed applications. examples include
ap0202 and gdapp (both presented within context of free software
audio-visual apps as part of piksel, bergen, norway 2003).

e] ap0201 environmental coding project to be completed april 2004, USA
with Centre for Land Use Interpretation, Los Angeles.  examination of
mobile ad hoc coding/functionalities, mobile data and non-iteration in
the context of self-powered embedded computational devices which use
environment data in communicating evolving operational
codes. examination of an alternative timescale involved in new media
and a non-retinal focus for digital work.

f] organisation of symposium for summer 2004 examining a wider context
for software art and the supervenience of post-humanist ontologies on
this radical space. the symposium is organised in parallel with the
open development of the fm01 software environment for expanded
cinematic production.


synopsis:: a semi-automated film scripting and editing environment for
the production of endless cinema

currently in initial research phase, where coding of DV/firewire +
display and embedded interpreter + collaborative environment (**cliki)
are all in place

fm01 will offer a total software environment for the semi-automated
production, scripting and editing of endless cinema.

fm01 transposes non-metaphoric systems and grammar theory (of computer
languages, abstraction and data containers) to the realm of expanded

the base proposal concerns the development of a scripting language ,
data structures, and suitable filesystem for the automated production
and grammatical expression of endless cinema.

a relational, nodal language of connection will be formulated to
descend through levels of scene, shot and frame (stored and to be

visual and syntactical analysis software will form a large part of the
fm engine.

however, fm01 is not totally automated and in parallel with ap03 forms
a mechanism of personal insertion into systematics.

a filesystem will be devised to deal with such fragments in terms of
these markers (as language and as data), allowing rapid
self-programmed, structural retrieval and re-assembly of material.

fm01 is not conceived as an engine for the manipulation of generic
clips (an expanding database of all possible scenes categorised
according to a huge number of elements and relations, although it does
have some elements in common with this strategy) but is rather an
enmeshing within script, a writing of script-now already filmed; a
script written and to come via this now-empty machinery.

fm01 is a large-scale project which builds on previous ap research and
process to push the envelope of what can be achieved in terms of
computer languages and data visualisation; re-thinking hard-wired
notions of input and output.

1) the filesystem:

the design of the filesystem encompasses both a fast raw system for
information retrieval and the conceptualising of a mark-up system
inserted into compression scene data. in common with schemes such as
mpeg4 encoding meta-data is encoded with time-based frame data. fm01
expands the mpeg-4 approach towards the poetic. meta-data is written
in both in dialogue with the user (see 2) below) and by encoding
algorithms (although this is not a hard and fast task-based
separation) which examine movement and in-shot data.

2) the scripting language :

both senses of scripting are implied in the design of a scripting
language; borrowing from computer science and cinematics. the
scripting language conditions the dialogue between user/producer and
fm01. it is though use of this language that the film script/
production regime is first created (see 3) below) and later shots are
encoded with mark-ups. the language is totally modular and extendible,
allowing the user and fm01 to fluidly create new constructs
together. the scripting language will be coded in Lisp

3) the production regime: 

the shooting/production regime in interaction with fm01 could be
described as follows:

a) scripting language/data structures and filesystem pre-programmed in
fm01 as core software though that language is always open to change
itself/be changed ie. this language is used by both system and author

b) in scripting language entry and response of script-in-progress

c) scenes shot and inputted in response to stage 2. mark-ups from
stage 2 inserted with new response mark-ups with compressed image data

d) generation of expanded film begins from moment stage c) begins and
becomes 2nd level interrogative material marking a return to stage b)
with d) now continuing with any new material. expanded film is now
running (either in interrogative or auto-pilot modes)