Codebending is the exploration of software with “patch points.” Patch points expose the inner workings of computer programs, and allow for atypical connections between things like games, music making software, office suites, etc.
illucia is a USB device with physical jacks that correspond to software patch points, which can be connected and disconnected using patch cables. Thus, illucia is a console for routing information between computer programs, and opens strange relationships across systems that don’t usually interact – it turns systems themselves into play objects.
I’ve written several codebendable games / programs that open their inner workings via patch points. Fascinating and unexpected things happen when connecting otherwise-unrelated programs:
Video games can play other video games. Music synthesizers can control word processors. Feedback loops turn everyday software tropes into generative art. Simple AI is patchable. Anything controls (and can be controlled by) anything; in codebending, every system becomes an instrument with a unique voice, ready to control, and be controlled.
illucia is a physical instrument to explore these kinds of connections – it is a way to treat systems as playgrounds.
Bottom Panel (Left to Right)
uuddlrlr Plotter – A joystick controller that maps 4 directions to 4 gates with LEDs (it also has an additional 3 way switch per axis). The joystick shaft is a custom design fitted for an RGB LED – it can be used to visualize values patched into the RGB inputs.
PCO – A control panel with breakout patch points for the Paddle Controlled Oscillator.
Knobs: Paddle Y, Ball Angle, Ball Y position, Ball Speed, and Ball Color. These all have input jacks as well, and the knobs serve as value attenuators when a jack is plugged in.
Other Input jacks: New Ball, Kill All Balls
Output Jacks: New Ball, P1 Collided, P1 Missed, P2 Collided, P2 Missed, Oldest Ball X &Y, Newest Ball X&Y
Switches: New Ball, Kill All Balls, 4-Way directional Split
Soviet Life Sequencer – A control panel with breakout patch points for the Soviet Life Sequencer. The top section is dedicated to the falling Tetromino pieces. It can control fall speed, moving the piece, rotating the piece, engulfing the piece into the board, and more. There is also a utility expander for RGB modifications and background color modes (including the one that shows ghosts in the Game of Life). The middle section provides control over Conway’s Game Of Life which can remix the sequencer patterns. It can be clocked externally, and has an option to toggle color: classic conway black, or “coloreater mode” which utilizes the color of recently killed Tetromino pieces. The bottom section is the heart of the sequencer, allowing for control over time, and start and end points.
tceleS B hsuP – “A magic spell?” It has 6 arcade buttons, each linked to a gate output jack and LED. There is also a retrigger or “rapid-fire” function built into the unit, where rate and quantity can be modulated.
Top Panel (Left to Right)
Flower Matrix – 8 outputs and 16 inputs. Unlabeled, and thus can be used for different purposes on different days. An “anything” module.
Lacanian Function Generator – An “arbitrary function generator” style sequencer. It has 8 steps with independent control over step value and step length. Also, of course, it is the insistence of drive, deformed by the objet a, producing signification/the subject. 303 style “slippage” can be toggled on and off.
Quad Anything Generator– 8 knobs, 12 input jacks, 8 output jacks. Unlabeled, and thus can be used for different purposes on different days. An “anything” module.
Blank – I left a panel open for future development. In the meantime, I thought a panel of art by the intense-and-brilliant Shintaro Kago would be a nice fill
This video is a teaser/trailer: it features illucia, and the first wave of codebendable games that I’ve created:
- PCO (Paddle Controlled Oscillator): a classic ball and paddle game. When pushed, it morphs into a function generator and spills abstract art.
- Soviet Life Sequencer: falling Tetromino pieces generate step sequencer patterns, all remixable by Conway’s Game of Life
- War Machine: a crosshair blasts colorful explosions into a dense nest of shoots that approach from above
- Miserable Pile of Secrets: a codebendable text editor
You don’t need illucia to codebend or interact with these games – they speak OSC and can easily be routed into each other, or other programs / physical controllers. Visit the codebending faq for more information
“Every human being is the LFO modulating his own health or disease.”