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STEIM Events | STEIM Events Archive 2011

4 June - 5 June 2011 | 11:00 - 18:00 | Workshop | €90,-

Bend, Craft, and Hack with Circuit Bending master Juan Matos Capote 

Original annoucement:

2-day workshop. Learn sound circuitry basics. Open up toys, radios, and other electronics and turn them into musical instruments!



In this two-day workshop we will use Circuit Bending techniques to give commonplace electronic devices a new life as noise instruments that were never meant to exist. Participants will learn the basics of audio electronics hands-on, by opening up circuits and exploring how they work. A goal of the workshop is providing each participant with the necessary knowledge and practice to be able, after the workshop, to modify an electronic circuit in his/her own studio using the techniques of Circuit Bending. By the second day you will go home with a musical instrument or device that has been modified using the techniques of Circuit Bending.

The evening of the second day of the workshop will culminate with a concert by the workshop group!

Topics we will cover include:

  • History and theoretical background of Circuit Bending.
  • How to do Circuit Bending safely.
  • Understanding the essential tools.
  • Necessary and basic concepts of audio electronics. How components work and what effects they have on sound.
  • Which circuits are best to modify and why.
  • Probing the circuit to find interesting shorts and sounds.
  • Typical circuit modifications and how to implement them.
  • Modifications of device casings to install various knobs, switches, light-sensitive sensors, contact sensors, and other electronic controllers.

What is Circuit Bending?
Circuit Bending is the term used to designate creative and innovative modifications, based on short-circuiting low-voltage electronic devices such as toys, effects pedals, etc. with the aim to create new musical instruments and sound generators.Circuit Bending is an art of transforming recycled devices, which can be found on the streets or in second hand shops. After their transformation, such objects, which were rejected by society, acquire a new life form completely different from the one planned by the original manufacturer. These devices, originally not associated with music production, eventually become musical instruments in certain practices of experimental music. Although there are Circuit Bending practitioners that modify new devices, one can say that in its most orthodox practice, Circuit Bending is a recycling of electronic waste in our society.

Reed Ghazala, who was a pioneer in the late sixties, is considered to be the “father” of Circuit Bending. He gave the name to the practice in which two points of an electronic circuit are connected by a cable so that current can flow from one point to another (short-circuiting). The practitioner listens for interesting new sounds produced when short-circuiting. It is an experimental and creative search, based on trial and error, and trying different connections between some points and others.Electronic toys are the devices that are most commonly modified. They are battery-powered and of low voltage (max. 9-12 volts). On the one hand, the circuits are often well suited to be modified with interesting results, and on the other, they are safe to modify (no electrocution hazard or breaking of the device if they are used with batteries). The result is often very personal because each practitioner has a unique concept of what are "interesting sounds" and has different pursuits in the practice. It is through trial and error, in a non-scientific way, that the practitioner will end with a device that is characterized, among other things, for its randomness and inconsistencies. One does not need and often cannot know in advance the result of the modifications, and previous knowledge of electronics can be basic or minimal.

Date: June 4 - June 5, 2011
Time: 11:00 - 18:00
Cost: €90 (includes €10 materials cost)
Location: STEIM, Achtergracht 19, Amsterdam
Teacher Speaks: English, Spanish
Maximum number of participants: 15
Reserve a spot online through the registration link above no later than one week before the workshop!

Each attendee must bring a toy or electronic device to be modified using the techniques of Circuit Bending. The device must run on batteries at a low voltage (9 volts maximum). Flea markets and toy shops are excellent places to look for interesting sound electronics to modify (think: battery-powered radios, casio keyboards, and Furbys). Attendees will be provided with all the necessary parts and tools to disassemble and modify these devices.

No knowledge of electronics is necessary to participate in this workshop, Juan will teach you everything you need to know in order to get started modifying circuits.

Juan Matos Capote is an experimental audiovisual artist from the Canary Islands. Since 2008 he lives in Barcelona (Spain) where he moved to after living for thirteen years in New York City. He studied Circuit Bending with pioneer, and father of Circuit Bending, Reed Ghazala in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, and techniques of Deep Listening with composer and musician Pauline Oliveros in New York and Barcelona. He has taught several Circuit Bending workshops in USA. In Catalonia he has given workshops at the Escola Superior de Disseny (ESDI) in Sabadell, in Hangar (Barcelona), in Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), in Miscelanea ( Barcelona), in Estudio Circuit Torçat (Barcelona), etc., and he has lectured on the subject at various festivals and events such as the EWeek Vic (Vic) and Gargall Festival (Manresa).

In his performances, Matos Capote makes use of analogue equipment, circuit-bent toys, effect pedals and radios, self-built oscillators and occasionally, field recordings that he plays back on modified walkmans. Many of his circuits are characterized by random, yet controllable, behaviors.

Juan has participated in various music festivals such as Sónar Festival 2010 at Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA), Störung 5.0 Festival (Barcelona), LOOP Festival (Espai Ubu, Barcelona), Ciclo HUM (Barcelona), Gargall Festival (Manresa), Cap Sembrat (Sala Apolo 2, Barcelona), Tune (Out)))Side 07 (Free103Point9 Transmission Arts Center, Acra, New York), etc. He is also one half of the duo Monolith with the musician Alfredo Costa Monteiro.
His last solo album, Jabal, was entirely played with electronic devices he created and modified, and was published by Circuit Torçat Records (Barcelona). His previous album, The Subway Aural Recordings, is a series of compositions based entirely on field recordings of the New York City Subway System, and was released by Einzeleinheit in Munster, Germany.
The Jabal cassette was published by Circuit Torçat Records.

Matos Capote holds the title of Master of Fine Arts Degree from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, and has been the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship. He also studied at the University of La Laguna (Tenerife) where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts, and at the Higher Institute for Fine Arts (HISK) of Antwerp, Belgium. His visual works have been exhibited in Europe, North America, Australia and Africa. His works were lately exhibited at Dak'art OFF Biennale 2008 in Senegal, at PS1 Contemporary Art Center (MoMA) in New York in 2009, and at the Centre d'Art La Panera (Lleida, Spain) in 2010.

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