Zaptopistas Experiment with Social Sound

sd indymedia volunteer

A group of audiophiles packed the Activist San Diego meeting room in City Heights for the Jan. 8 "Zaptopistas" Enero Zapatista event.

The Zaptopistas are a makeshift collective of sound artists that network their laptops together and create sounds by typing. The orchestra is created by using open source software SuperCollider and Audacity to program keystrokes to certain sounds.

This is the second year of the Zaptopistas. The collective was formed last year during Enero Zapatista 2011 and has been on hiatus until now.

Armed with laptops, Subcomandante Bruno helped "tune" the computers with the open source audio production software.

The Zaptopistas are experimenting with social sounds, said Bruno, the same way the Zapatistas are experimenting with social change.

After an intensive session of tuning the laptops, Bruno led a workshop introducing audio recording and editing with Audacity. Suggesting those new to audio production should start with Audacity and move on to a non-linear editing workstation like the open source Ardour or professional commercial software.

This inaugural meeting of 2012's Zaptopistas observed a diverse group of musicians, techies and beginners to audio production. Two additional rehearsals are planned prior to their live debut at the Enero Zaptopista closing event on Jan. 28.


Interested in experimenting with audio production or composing with computer sounds? These are links to the software mentioned in this article. While they are free and open source, they may not run on your computer's operating system. They should run fine on any recent version of Linux and Mac. They may, but probably will not run on Windows (with the exception of Audacity).

Audacity will allow you to record and edit audio.

SuperCollider is the programming language that will allow you to make sounds by typing.

Ardour is a complete digital audio workstation allowing you to mix and master audio.

PureDyne is a bootable Linux operating system with these creative softwares, plus others pre configured. So just burn to a cd/dvd or usb drive, plug them in, restart your computer and start creating.

*If you are running Windows you can boot Linux Ubuntu from a CD. Here's directions,

**It is also possible to have Windows and Linux on the same computer. It involves partitioning your hard drive to free up memory to store the Linux operating system files. Here's a tutorial to dual boot,

For more info on the Zaptopistas visit,

Zaptopistas jamming

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