The Space Needle is My Neighbor

"A mind stretched by a new idea can never go back to its original dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
IMPORTANT NOTE: Click on the captions with dots. They are live links to additional content.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

"I Never Knew You Could Make So Much Noise!"

....and that really means something, coming from a kid. Way cool.

"Circuit-bending is the creative short-circuiting of low voltage, battery-powered electronic audio devices such as guitar effects, children's toys and small synthesizers to create new musical instruments and sound generators. "

B sent me an article about something called "Bent 2006". It looks pretty sweet. Here's an intro from their website:

"If you have the least bit of curiosity about electronics or electronic music, or if you've ever just really wanted to rip your toys apart, this festival is for you. Each day we will have open studios with expert benders on hand to help you get started. There will be installation artists building circuit-bent artwork throughout the space. There will be a full schedule of in-depth workshops. There will be nightly concerts of some of the best circuit benders in the world. It is genuinely fun for the whole family. You will have a blast."
(Come on! It's sanctioned toy demolition! I'm in.)

Exploring the site leads me to several links which help to further de-mystify the process of "bending". One is called and it consists of page after page of really cool stuff. I have to laugh; the summary of what bending is all about almost reads like a "how to" from Popular Mechanics on building a relationship. For the sixth grade girl in me who won second place at the school science fair, there's far more resonance in these words than anything that Dr. Phil or his pals (if he has pals- ugh) could ever cook up:

"The reality is that the new wiring of circuit-bending is compounded in many convoluted ways as the different controls are combined with each other. This may cause trouble. Be aware of such switching combinations; avoid them or modify the wiring behind them by finding another pair of points to wire one of the switches to. Re-test.
On the other hand, this chaotic snowballing of creative short-circuiting is at the essential and surreal heart of this chance process. There is no way to experience all the switching combinations as the new wiring is being charted on the board. It is not until the instrument is complete that it can be fully explored by the designer, since it is not until then that all discovered connections and new controls are in place at once and can be combined. At that point magic occurs. The instrument is explored, revealing itself in ways never evident during the initial, one-effect-at-a-time, discovery process. This is a wonderful moment."

Yes it is, and I didn't know you could make so much noise, either.


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