robotcowboy: cabled madness

Signal + Noise 08

robotcowboy will appear at the new media art/music Signal + Noise Festival 08 in Vancouver, CA April 17-19.

I’m set to play after 10:30 pm on Sat April 19th at the VIVO Media Arts Center.

UPDATE: 4/21

I just want everyone involved with the Signal+Noise 08 festival that I let you all down and I’m sorry. I’m used to dealing with technical problems on my own but, as was pointed out to me in this case, it also reflects upon the festival. It was bad end to an otherwise awesome 3 days. If I seemed indifferent to what was going on I’m sorry, that is what my mom calls my notorious “cavalier attitude”.

What follows is a short breakdown of what happened:

  • I was late to my sound check
  • The software midi connection somehow stopped working and I did not have midi in from the guitar. That was why I was fiddling with it at the beginning.
  • Upon rebooting my computer, the wireless card refused to connect to the wireless network. Without that connection, my wearable cannot send data to the laptop which was running the projection.
  • Two songs stopped prematurely, I do not know why. This is a software problem.
  • Before the second to last song, I accidentally hit the tune-up button on the guitar which put it out of tune. I had to restart the song.
  • I lost stereo out on the last song.

Everything was working perfectly during my sound check. I wore the belt, plugged in all of my gear, and ran through all the songs with no problems. My jumpsuit is just a suit, there are no integrated electronics or sensors, so it made no difference if I wore it during the sound check or not. If anything, I simply should have rebooted the computer before performing, instead of leaving it on after the sound check.

There were not any hardware issues on Saturday. I have spent a great deal of time making sure the cables and physical connections are solid and reliable. Apart from one usb port that I have repaired and strengthened, I have not had any recent hardware problems. My gear is rugged and meant to be pulled upon.

My project is experimental in the practical as well as aesthetic sense. The problems that occurred during my Signal+Noise performance stems from my need to constantly tinker with and add new elements to my software and lack of a solid testing regimen. For the last few weeks I was updating and reworking several aspects of the system. In fact I was adding a few things Saturday at the last minute and was late to the sound check as a consequence. I simply did not test my setup as I should have and we all paid the price.

robotcowboy went on tour for 2 month back in Jan and Feb and, aside from a few small issues, worked reliably for nearly 40 shows. After this stress-test, I made the erroneous assumption that my system had become solid and reliable … until I added new things to it. If I had left well enough alone, there would not have been any problems on Saturday. I did not take my preparation as seriously as I should and I am sorry.

My problems were in the vein of a computer presentation: no matter how much time is spent in preparation, something invariable goes wrong with the computer or software resulting in an awkward moment. But in this case, I should have spent more time in my preparation. I just wish my awkward moment had not been so important.

– Dan Wilcox 4/21/08

Leave a Reply