Puredyne is a wonderful system optimized for multimedia creation and computer art. It’s filled with all the linux tools to play music, program, edit images, video, audio. Loaded with pure data, super collider, processing and arduino to name a few – there is also a load of soft synth, dj mixing tools, multimedia player and also the basic file system and web browsing. It’s built on top of Ubuntu karmic koala so it offers quite a solid architecture while offering a good user interface and easy customization. It’s built with xfce instead of gnome in order to minimize the resources usage of the system, keeping the computing power of your machine for multimedia task.
Systems like puredyne are mostly created for a certain type of user, a user that care more about the power of the tool than the presentation, artist and thinkerer. When an artist is painting – he doesn’t really care if the paint container is nicely label, he doesn’t care if the studio he works in is a mess an located in an industrial building – what is important is that the tool respond to his or her creative impulse. That is what puredyne is, an artist tool crafted to be as powerful as possible for the computer artist.
It’s interesting to note that in this time of computing, where we rely more an more on browser based system, cloud computing and ‘thin client’ (sorry kids if you don’t get the thin client story… cloud computing has been around a lot longer than last year), I am asking why would we waste computer power on the user interface and the graphical system itself, the only real need is the multimedia factor of your machine. Operating system like puredyne is a really logical move in the overall operating system evolution.
Arduino is, in short, a prototyping electronic device that you can program from a simple interface. Since I started learning processing, I was interested in Arduino since you can program Arduino with processing. So the processing-arduino integration provide a complete interactive creative system for computer artist. Arduino bards are pretty inexpensive and easy to purchase and they’re also modular, you can plug them in different shield (proto board that add to the main board) to create what you want to create, from controller to musical instruments.
In this example I used a lcd-keypad module from ekitszone.com directly on a arduino mega board. Every add on to the arduino needs some library and if you get boards that are minimally maintained you shouldn’t have much to worry. In this case I simply had to download the library from ekitszone and add it to my arduino library (opt/arduino/hardware/) and there were even example to get me started on that.
Where is it all going ? I feel with the learning of processing, arduino and my recent acquisition of electronic music devices there is something being blended together for my creative expression to flourish in some way. Hopefully something fun will come out of all that – but it might only be to keep my brain alive 😉