Algorave: algorithmic dance culture – talk by Alex McLean TEDxHull

Algoraves are parties where people dance to algorithms, where all the music and visuals are made by live coders who work by exposing and reworking ‘source code’ – the innards of software – on the fly. What does this mean, technically, culturally, historically? Alex finds an answer in pattern – patterns in numbers, in sounds and in movement, all demonstrated using the TidalCycles live coding environment.

Alex has been active across the digital arts since the year 2000, developing a creative approach to computer programming, including live coding music. Alex co-founded the TOPLAP and Algorave movements, and has collaborated widely, as part of Slub, Canute, Aalleexx and xynaaxmue. He completed his PhD thesis on Programming Languages for the Arts at Goldsmiths, during which time he initiated the popular and free/open-source live-coding language TidalCycles (, connecting code and music to create a rich approach to pattern making.
Alex is based in Sheffield UK, and works as part of the research institute in the Deutsches Museum in Munich, using live-coding techniques to explore the ancient thought processes of textile weavers, for the European project PENELOPE. He releases his solo music as Yaxu on the Computer Club label, including the EP Peak Cut and the album Spicule. He curates the annual Festival of Algorithmic and Mechanical Movement (, bringing together code and machines in the performing arts.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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