Digital Camera Mod Workshop w/Phillip Stearns

May 6th, 2012 10:00 am 
Mediamatic BANK, Vijzelstraat 68, Amsterdam Mediamatic BANK, Vijzelstraat 68, Amsterdam

Modify old digital cameras to make surreal dream machines

In this workshop Brooklyn artist Phillip Stearns will guide you through the process of interfacing digital circuits into the electronics of old digital cameras to create beautiful controlled malfunctions.

In an open lab format we will dissect various specimens of digital cameras, learn to identify the different parts of the circuits and understand how to rewire them to induce controlled malfunctions. The primary technique we will use is circuit bending, which requires only a bit of courage and dexterity enough to handle small screwdrivers, manipulate bits of wire, and operate a soldering iron.

Once we have covered basic techniques we will go into more advanced topics such as circuit modification/augmentation, the construction of digital oscillators to interfere with the normal operation of the cameras, and how to use transistors to interface different electronic systems with the digital processing chips of the camera. The main goal of the workshop is to develop the basics skills necessary for continued individual exploration of digital image generating devices. Discussion on the relationship between technology and the conceptualization of the body, mind, soul will take place throughout.

Date: 6 May, 2012
Time: 10:00 – 18:00
Cost: €50 (+ cost of parts, paid at the workshop – €10)
Location: Mediamatic BANK, Vijzelstraat 68, Amsterdam
Maximum number of participants: 16

You must reserve a spot online to register for this workshop. Registration can be done through our partners at Mediamatic by following this event page.

Also be sure to check out the other Hack Queensday events happening the weekend of May 5-6 at STEIM and Mediamatic!


For this workshop you must bring one or more functional digital cameras (sacrificial of course, never circuit bend something you can’t live without!). To be on the safe side we suggest you find at least two cameras. The older 1 or 2 megapixel cameras work best for the types of modifications we’ll be doing. Kodak, Olympus, Fujifilm, Canon, Sony, and Agfa cameras are all good choices.

Please bring a laptop if you have one, along with any spare memory cards or memory card readers you can find.

Also, it would be helpful (but not absolutely necessary) to bring any tools you are fond of using. Cutters, pliers, strippers, and especially precision screw drivers for opening up the cameras. We’ll have a few available but it’s always nice to have your own. Circuit components will be provided at the workshop.

No knowledge of electronics is necessary to participate in this workshop. Phillip will teach you everything you need to know.


Phillip Stearns (US) received his MFA in music composition and integrated media from the California Institute of Arts in 2007 and his BS in music technology from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2005. His work has been exhibited internationally at electronics arts festivals, museums, and galleries including: Harvestworks (2010 NYC); (2010, 2011 Chicago, IL); Festival De Arte Digital (2010 Belo Horizonte, Brazil); FILE (2009 Sao Paulo, Brazil); NIME (2009 Pittsburgh, PA); Filmer La Musique (2009 Paris, France); FONLAD (2009 Coimbra, Portugal); Torrance Art Museum (2008, 2007 Los Angeles, CA); Optica Film Festival (2011, 2008 Spain). He has participated in residencies at IEA (2012), Museums Quartier (Vienna 2010), STEIM (Amsterdam 2007, 2010), Experimental Television Center (NY 2009), Harvestworks (NY 2010), and Free103Point9 (2010-2011). He has curated Bent Festival in 2011, Algorithmic Unconscious Group Exhibition, and organized several concerts in NY for audio-visual and improvised electronic music.

Phillip has recently received notoriety for his year-long investigation of digital glitches entitled Year of the Glitch.