Cycling 74’s Max/MSP/Jitter forum is a not just a resource for Max/MSP nerds doing Max/MSP nerditry, but an archive of new media art, ideas, algorithms, discussions and general mayhem. One gem caught my eye during a recent discussion: a YouTube video performance using nato+0.55. What is nato+0.55, you ask? Nato is one of the first, usable, extensible “new media” video systems ever. It helped bring real-time video manipulation to consumer computers, and thus was part of the birth of modern VJing. Ed.: Vade’s not exaggerating; some people still swear by nato, dissatisfied with Jitter and the like. -PK

Nato pre-dates Jitter by a few years, and was designed and sold by a narcissistic, rampant female AI / forum-trolling-as-performance-art spambot / Che Guevara inspired/reclusive futurist programming group/classic Ferrari-driving Dostoevsky character Netochka Nezvanova, aka NN, integer, antiorp (the list goes on). Get all that? I highly recommend this Salon article for some internet archeology on NN; it’s a fun read. Is it wrong to secretly lust after a meme?

But back to the point, KDaG_nato+0.55 is raw, in-your-face, f***ed up and just awesome. The user interface is the performance (McLuhan may have loved this), there is no distinction between the video screen, and buttons, patchcoords, preview screens, menus. It’s just beautiful, and reminds us how important a user interface can be, how it effects our aesthetics – or, how it can *be* our aesthetic.

Now go break stuff and report back!

Ed.: Okay, so now we know what turns vade on. I can’t get quite that excited — maybe I just need more coffee — but I am impressed. Other nato creations out there? -PK