Wow, is all I can say after the Minneapolis stop of the Bent Festival 2008 put on by the Tank and executed by the Beatrix*Jar Duo from the Twin Cities along with the help of the staff at the Intermedia Arts Center and all the awesome volunteers from as far out as Indianapolis.
The quality of this event was unbeatable, so much raw talent present made it mind blowing.
The artists traveled from near and far to be at this event: Circuit Ben Reaction and DJ Tendraw all the way from U.K; Eraser – Italy, Brian McKenna from Amsterdam, Dr. Rek – Japan, Loud Objects – NYC, Ron S. – Denver, Sounds Happy – Chicago, Memory Selector – Chicago/Minneapolis Trio, Creme Dementia – DeKalb IL, Albino Ghost Monkey Rice Lake WI, Igloo Martian – Le Crosse WI, Life as a Number Five – Madison WI, Tim Kaiser – Duluth MN, Talking Computron – CR IA, Datura 1.0, Caly McMorrow, Beatrix*Jar – Minneapolis.
The pictures are slowly trickling online. So far the best quality can be seen in this flickr stream by Jeremy Pavleck. Unfortunately he was not able to make the Friday, but what he took rest of the time looks pretty amazing.
Stay Tuned for more, this is only part one.
Finally the last stop of the Bent Festival 2008. If you are in or around the Minneapolis area or don’t mind traveling there, please stop by the Intermedia Arts Center Thursday May 1 through Saturday May 3rd to check out the finest experimental artists Mid West has to offer in one place. Along with international performers that traveled specifically for this event. Workshops will begin on Friday with tutorials on HighlyLiquid’s MIDI kits and on Saturday there will be a wide range of classes for every skill level. I will be conducting the 555 timer workshop along with Mike Una and providing some exclusive GetLoFi 555 kits to everyone attending. Each night there will be Music and beverages of choice. For full lineup check out the Bent Festival website here or keep reading.
Concert 1 – Thu, May 01, 7:00 PM
(Intermedia Arts) – $10
7:00 Bent Festival Reception / Listening Party (Lobby)
8:00 Igloo Martian (Wisconsin)
8:40 Datura 1.0 (Minneapolis)
9:20 Caly McMorrow (Minneapollis)
10:00 Brian McKenna (Amsterdam)
10:40 EraSer (Italy)
11:20 Beatrix*JAR (Minneapolis)
Workshop – Fri, May 02, 7:00 PM
(Intermedia Arts) – Free – First Come First Served 7:00
Mike Una (Chicago)
Highly Liquid Workshop with Michael Una – Intermedia Arts Lobby Highly Liquid (www.highlyliquid.com) has donated 12 MSA-R MIDI-to-relay kits to Bent Minneapolis. Artist Michael Una will be showing people how to assemble them, how to apply them to control circuit bends via MIDI, and other applications like mechanical drum machines.
Concert 2 – Fri, May 02, 8:00 PM
(Intermedia Arts) – $10
8:00 Ronald J. Schleper (Denver)
8:40 Life as Number Five (Wisconsin)
9:20 Talking Computron (Iowa)
10:00 Sounds Happy (Chicago)
10:40 The Circuit Ben Reaction (UK)
11:20 Loud Objects (NYC)
Workshops – Sat, May 03, 11:00 AM
(Intermedia Arts) –
11:00 Intro to Circuit Bending
Dan Demchuk (St. Paul)
Class Limited to 75 | FREE | First Come First Serve
A great opportunity for kids of all ages to learn circuit bending! Bring an old battery powered electronic toy that makes noise to work on.
1:00 555 TIMER APPLICATIONS WORKSHOP with
Mike Una (Chicago) and
Alex Dyba (IA)
Class Limited to 15 | $3.00 Supply Cost + | Click Here to Register
Learn how a simple 555 timer circuit can open up a world of opportunities, like pitching down unbendable toys and adding a tremolo like effect on pitch resistors. During the workshop we will show you how to create a Theremin like synth and use 555’s square-wave oscillations for injecting into the data lines to create randomness and glitches.
3:00 Circuit Bending Drum Machines
Ronald J. Schleper (Denver)
Class Limited to 15 | FREE | First Come First Serve
Learn how to creatively modify your 1980’s PCM and analog drum machines. Some of the best rhythmic noise can be had from the Yamaha RX series and DD series, Roland TR series, Alesis HR and SR series, and Kawai R-50 as well as many kids toy drums. A brief primer on digital logic and analog circuits will be offered, and detailed instructions on my personal favorites, the Yamaha RX-17 and Roland TR-505, as well as instructions for other models as needed.
3:00 Analog Sensor Devices
Mike Taylor (Dekalb)
FREE | Lecture Based
This workshop covers the basics of building and working with analog sensor devices. It will also cover the basics of physical computing by looking at some inexpensive ways to interface sensors with computers. I/O platforms will include the Arduino and CreateUSB interfaces. We will also look at software like PD, Max/MSP, Jitter, and Processing. After an overview of the basic hardware and software, the workshop will cover building basic sensors and the electronics theory for analog signal conditioning. We will look at resistive voltage dividers and direct voltage output types of sensors. I will demonstrate my 3D accelerometer ball, magnetic shaker ball, 3D light sensor, and a really easy to build ribbon controller. If time permits we will also look at some software programming for computer interfacing.
5:00 Bent BBQ
Concert 3 – Sat, May 03, 8:00 PM
(Intermedia Arts) – $10
8:00 Crème De Menthia (Illinois)
8:40 Memory Selector (Minneapolis/Chicago)
9:20 Albino Ghost Monkey (Wisconsin)
10:00 Tim Kaiser (Duluth)
10:40 DJ Tendraw (London)
11:20 Dr. Rek (Japan)
The lineup is Solid! See you all there.
The Bent Festival’s leg of the East Coast is over, leaving only 1 event remaining in the Mid West, the Minneapolis, being held Thursday May 1st-Sunday 3rd. I had fun and it would take me hours if not days to talk about everything that happened during the Event. So for now I will leave you with the fine media produced by the Get LoFi photographer Austin Cliffe, whom had the burden of lugging around the enormous digital camera that seemingly took the only good pictures from the event.
…And back home Alex Inglizian was documenting the monumental trans-Lake Michigan Roth Mobot NYC Eco-Friendly Skype HD performance at the K-Town Moon Base production Facility in Chicago.
The transmission went on without a hitch and was a fantastic success! Thanks to the hard work of Roth Mobot agents in NYC and Chicago.
The GetLoFi Gallery also contains some candid shots of the backstage performer area and equipment used.
Some snap camera videos are also up from several users on youTube. But if you are in no hurry, I highly recommend pre-ordering the Festival Documentary, which is constantly being filmed by Dr. Rek at every event in crisp HD. Now I am off like a jet to get ready for Minneapolis. Thanks for reading!
Boing Boing did a TV episode on the Bent Festival 2008 LA, focusing mainly on Krach Der Roboter. The stage setup looks pretty neato, some sort of an Amphitheater in a middle of a fountain.
There are some videos that Univac/TechDweeb posted to youTube and also pictures on Flickr. The Boing Boing post also included this Documentary from 2007 Festival in LA which haven’t seen before. Enjoy.
Bent 2008: New York – April 24 to 26
The Festival is upon us! Please feel free to check it out if you are not already planning to be there. Plus there is Free Beer thanks to Singha Beer nightly from 7pm-7:30pm. Come early and stay late!
Each concert is $10.
A Festival Pass to all events is available for $25.
Buy tickets online: Smarttix
87 Lafayette St (map)
New York, NY, 10013
Installations are permanently on display during festival hours.
Michael Dory (NYC)
Lesley Flanigan (NYC)
Andy Doro (NYC)
Phil Stearns (Los Angeles)
Ed Bear (NYC)
Lea Bertucci (NYC)
Leah Wechsler (NYC)
Dr. Bleep (Austin)
Christopher McDonald (NYC)
Concert 1 – Thu, Apr 24, 6:00 PM
(DCTV) – $10
6:00 – Opening Reception
6:30 – Dr. Bleep (Austin)
7:00 – Furby Youth Choir (Austin)
8:30 – Steak (Austria)
9:15 – Joo Youn Paek (Korea)
10:00 – Phil Stearns (Los Angeles)
Concert Fri, Apr 25, 7:00 PM
(DCTV) – $10
7:00 – Aimee Norwich (NYC)
7:45 – Computer at Sea (Maine)
8:30 – EraSer (Italy)
10:00 – casperelectronics (USA)
10:45 – Dr. Rek (Japan)
11:30 – Roth Mobot (Distance Performance) (Chicago)
Workshops – 11:00 AM
(DCTV) – 11:00
Intro Workshop with Clifford Bret (NYC)
Free with your own toy! Or keyboard toys available for $10 at the venue (while supplies last!) In the Madnoodler’s introduction to circuit bending course, participants will learn the basics of circuit bending. Organizational skills and soldering will be demonstrated. Other skills to be developed include pin pointing bends and taking an ordinary keyboard and making it into an opto theremin. Using variations of the “starmate” style keyboard, participants will be urged to explore with photo-resistors and alligator clips to find unique possibilities. After the fun of exploring these versatile keyboards, participants will stabilize and optimize their creation by heat shrinking the connections.
1:00 – Sensors – op-amps, comparators, and digitally controlled switches with
Phil Stearns (Los Angeles)
$20 Materials Fee – Buy Ticket Here
FOR EXPERIENCED ELECTRONIC TINKERERS an understanding of the electronics basics is a must though they will be rehashed briefly We will cover some basic types of analog sensors and look at how to interface them with circuit bending projects. The hands-on component will guide you through building a circuit that will allow sound and/or light to control bends.
1:00 – Battery Powered Noise Generator with
Jessica Rylan (Boston)
$10 Materials Fee – Buy Ticket Here
Maybe you’re interested in EVP (electronic voice phenomena) and want a good source of white noise. Maybe you’re a nervous wreck and need something to drown the world out. Or maybe you feel the need to dance in from of a giant amp that’s blasting harsh noise every once in a while! If so, then this is the workshop for you. We’ll build a simple noise generator using a handful of resistors, capacitors, and transistors. We’ll also talk about the fundamentals of electric circuits, physical and mathematical approaches to noise, and historical perspectives on the electronics industry.
3:00 – Hands-On Digital Sampler Design and Analysis for Circuit bending Applications
Todd Bailey (Chicago)
Optional sampler kit available — (Limited edition designed just for this class!) This class focuses on the fundamental architectures of the digital sampler — how they work and what happens (technically) when you circuit bend them. I figured the best way to do this would be to design a sampler explicitly for this. In doing so I’ve tried to design a sampler which lends itself to circuit bending. As many of you know, older toys and instruments often lend themselves better to circuit bending than modern consumer products. The (one sentence) reason for this is the architecture of the circuits — older chips couldn’t do as much as new one can, so they needed more per toy, which essentially presents more “entry points” into the circuit. The sampler I’ve made (let’s call her “Where’s The Party At”) explicitly brings as many functions out of the central micro controller as possible — clocks, addressing, data lines, and analog components are all exposed. This allows a couple things: 1.) It makes the function of the sampler more transparent, and easier for someone learning electronics to understand. 2.) It allows tinkering, as it exposes as many important circuit functions as possible. I’m going to spend the majority of the class talking about how audio gets from a microphone into a sampler and back out, referring to the Where’s The Party At as a reference design. We’ll look at the schematics, source code, printed circuit board layout, and examine the waveforms of a functioning sampler with an oscilloscope. The goal is to expose the nature of the digital sampler, why it makes the sounds it does, and why circuit bending can make it sound so freaked out. Bring a notebook! (ps — you can check out the details of the WTPA as I get them done at http://www.narrat1ve.com/)
3:00 – Intro to Video Bending with Ed Bear (NYC)
Buy Tickets Here
The disappearing vocabulary of analog video is at once the signature of the 20th century and a powerful tool for recording, performance, and learning. A basic understanding of the video signal turns any television into an oscilloscope and all electronics into potential audio-visual instruments. The best way to learn is doing, and that is the focus of this class. Techniques of filtering and manipulating NTSC video signals will be demonstrated on working instruments Frankensteined from old equipment. All Ages.
Concert 3 – Sat, Apr 26, 7:00 PM
(DCTV) – $10
7:00 – Gunung Sari (NYC)
7:45 – Speaker Synth (NYC)
8:30 – F4RM (Mexico)
10:00 – alias pail (NYC)
10:45 – Big A little a (NYC)
11:30 – Spunkytoofers (Backcountry Ozarks)
12:15 – Burnkit 2600 (Connecticut)
Pictured above is Where is the Party At? 8 Bit sampler from www.narrat1ve.com/ come to the workshop for more info.
Circuit Bending themed Bent Festival has just wrapped up the 2008 stop in LA over the weekend, if you were there please feel free to post links to pictures/video or what have yous. Also this week we have NYC and following that Minneapolis. Speaking of Minneapolis, if anyone is interested in Volunteering to help out please read the following call from the organizers:
Minneapolis Bent Festival
Thursday, May 1 – Saturday, May 3rd
Intermedia Art, 2822 Lyndale Avenue, Minneapolis
Minneapolis Bent Festival Seeks Volunteers
The Bent Festival is an annual art and music festival celebrating DIY electronics, hardware hacking, and circuit bending. Each year we invite artists from across the country and around the globe to perform music with their home-made or circuit bent instruments, teach workshops to adults and children alike, create beautiful art installations and to generally come together, face to face, and showcase the state of the art in DIY electronics and circuit bending culture.
The Minneapolis Bent Festival will take place May 1st – 3rd at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis and is seeking volunteers to work behind the scenes selling light concessions, general usher work and sound tech assistant. Here’s your opportunity to connect with artists and performers from all over the world and gain new insights about the unique world of circuit bending.
Festival volunteers will receive free admission to festival concerts.
To Volunteer please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bent Fest 2008 kicks of in Los Angeles tonight and will run from Thursday April 17th to Saturday April 19th. I got a sneaking feeling that this year will be a sensory overload like no other. Pete from CasperElectronics will be present at the LA and NYC events raffling off his newly modded Speak and Spell units! What a wonderful idea. Unfortunately I will not be a the LA event, however look for GetLoFi gear in form of Waldeck Interrupters officially blessed by Patrick McCarthy of Roth Mobot and New Talking Computron /Potar Split CDs at the NYC and MN events, possibly LA if Potar brings them. Help support the Arts by purchasing some awesome swag at all the events!
Most recent information about LA event is below:
1049 E 32nd St (map)
Los Angeles, CA
Schedule Concert 1 – Thu, Apr 17, 7:00 PM
(Grand Performances at California Plaza) – 7:00
Workshops – Fri, Apr 18, 11:00 AM
(Grand Performances at California Plaza) –
Phil Stearns (Los Angeles)
Aaron Drake (Los Angeles)
Antique Experimentation; Tubes, Coils and the Mystical DIY of the not-so-ancient with Lorin Edwin Parker (Los Angeles)
In this workshop we’ll examine the topology of pre-transistor technology and how it informs modern DIY. The increasing miniaturization and diminishing cost of electronic parts has made circuit hacking and building more accessible and affordable to most. However, are 1 cent parts and integrated circuits causing us to lose touch with the art of homemade coils, wooden breadboards and sheet metal and glass capacitors? If imprecise and unreliable components brewed up from mu metal and copper wire truly impeded electronic progress in the 20s and 30s, how can one explain the emergence of the Theremin, The Ondes Martinot, The Trautonium and arguably the greatest of radio receivers? Why are these instruments, simple in their initial concept, so hard to reproduce faithfully today? We’ll begin by looking at tube circuits and the use of commonly available vacuum tubes. How the hell does one get started with tubes? Why can’t I fit them in a breadboard? Am I going to kill myself making a 300V instrument? We’ll cover all of this. We’ll take a look at the original patents and figures of Theremin, Martenot and Trautwein. We’ll also examine the socialogical spirit of invention in Post-War Europe and Depression America which led almost everyone with a screwdriver to take up hacking (Grinding meat with a modified car, turning a vacuum into a lawnmower, etc…) Finally, we’ll rethink the issue of control by rolling our own components to “feel” rather than specification. We’ll examine homemade coils, inductors, transformers, capacitors and resistors. Workshop participants will work collaboratively, modding and hacking on the aforementioned circuits. However, the amount of time required to construct these circuits is prohibitive of building tube instruments from scratch. However, tube based kits and instructions can be made available for sale, to be completed after the workshop.
Joker Nies (Cologne)
Concert 2 – Fri, Apr 18, 7:00 PM
Sat, Apr 19, 11:00 AM
(Grand Performances at California Plaza) –
Phase Two Workshop for the Omnichord Workshop – Basic bending and exploring additional possibilities Joker Nies (Cologne)
Omnichord Orchestra Dress Rehearsal Krach der Roboter (Berlin)
Rob Hordijk (Utrecht)
After Party Sat, Apr 19, 10:30 PM
(Zero Point) –
DJ Tendraw (London)
I had a chance recently to get a hold of Matteo (a.k.a. EraSer) just before his departure for the Bent Festivals that are spanning three back, to back, to back weekends in the States. I’m always curious on the whole traveling with gear to a foreign lands thing and how smooth it goes…or how chaotic. I think this is the first time many artists not from the States will be descending upon 3 major cities within the U.S. to cause random glitches, noise bleeps, and pure electric excitment, all around the same time frame. EraSer is making the trip all the way from Italy!
Q: What is going through your mind as you get close to taking off for the U.S. to play 2 of the 3 Bent Festivals?
EraSer: I’m so excited by the idea of taking part in the bent festival. I have always dreamt to play my music there.
Q: Have you thought about getting your equipment inside the U.S.?
EraSer: Yes, I’ll bring with me most of my equipment :(……. which includes: Casio SK1, Casio sk5, Grillo Parlante, Talking Calculator, and a toy drum.
Q: What are you imagining the trip will be like?
EraSer: I’m sure it will be one of the best trips of my life. A unique experience.
Q: Do you have all of your travel arrangements made?
EraSer: It’s all quite ready. Just making sure everything is done.
Q: Is there anything anyone can do to help you out in any way?
EraSer: The staff of the festival is so great! They are so friendly and they’re supporting me in everything…in order to organize the trip in the best way.
Q: What are your plans for down time when your not at a festival?
EraSer: Of course I’ll visit the cities that will host me for the festival, and I’ll look for shops where to find stuff ready to be modified on my comeback in Italy. I also hope to have the chance to play with other circuit benders out of the festival.
Q: Are you looking forward to meeting anyone or seeing a certain person play?
EraSer: I’m looking forward to meeting all the bent fest staff and all the circuitbenders. It will be a great emotion seeing all the performers play.
Q: You also run www.circuitbend.it an Italian circuit bending site…When did you start that?
EraSer: I created it 2 years ago when I realized that it was necessary to involve more and more persons in the circuit bending world. It is a site where people can learn how to get a start with this enchanting art through news, tutorials and bent stuff.
Q: Anything else you want to add?
EraSer: I want to thank you for this interview ; ) …. and I want to thank the organization to give me the chance to realize my dream of playing my circuit bent music at the Bent festival.
Last but not least here are the details for the Midwest Festivities. I will be doing a workshop with Mike Una and also performing. Its gonna be a blast!
Thursday May 1 – Saturday May 3, 2008
2822 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
*Update* There has been a little schedule change. New Information below.
THURSDAY FESTIVAL NIGHT
7pm Bent Festival Art Reception / Listening Party (Lobby)
8:00pm Igloo Martian – Wisconsin
8:40pm Caly McMorrow – Minneapolis
9:20pm Datura 1.0 – Minneapolis
10:00pm Brian McKenna – Zero Bit Video, Amsterdam (Canada)
10:40pm EraSer – Italy
11:20pm Beatrix*JAR – Minneapolis
FRIDAY FESTIVAL NIGHT
8:00pm Ronald J. Schleper – Denver
8:40pm Life as Number Five – Wisconsin
9:20pm Talking Computron – Iowa
10:00pm Sounds Happy, Chicago
10:40pm Dr. Rek – Japan
11:20pm Circuit Ben Reaction – UK
SATURDAY AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS (So far)
11:00pm – 1:00pm Intro to Circuit Bending – Beatrix*JAR & Dan Demchuk
1:00pm – 3:00pm Mike Una / Alex – 555 Timers
Ronald J. Schleper – Drum Machine
Mike Taylor – Analog Sensor – Il.
8:00pm Crème De Menthia – Illinois
8:30pm Memory Selector – Minneapolis/Chicago
9:00pm Albino Ghost Monkey – WI
9:30pm Tim Kaiser – Duluth, MN
10:00pm DJ Tendraw – UK
10:30pm Loud Objects – NYC
Jason Wihlem – INT_Routine, Milwaukee
Raul Gshrey – Cases, Germany
Mike Una – Beat and Bleep Bike, Chicago
Here is the East Coast line up. This year I am venturing out to enjoy the Festival first hand in NYC, hope to see everyone there!
Thursday April 24 – Saturday April 26
87 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10013
ALL TIMES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
6pm Opening Reception
7pm Furby Youth Choir
7.45 pm Loud Objects
8.30 pm Steak
9.15 pm Joo Youn
10 pm Phil Stearns
7pm Matt Durant
8.30pm Aimee Norwich
9.15pm Rocket Parlour
10pm Computer at Sea
11.30 Roth Mobot (Distance Performance) – Tele-jam
11am Intro Workshop
1pm Phil Stearns
1pm Jessica Rylan
3pm Ed Bear
3pm Lorin Edwin Parker
7pm Gunung Sari
7.45pm Speaker Synth
8.30 pm Mario de Vega
9:15 Bryan Eubanks and Vic Rawlings
10 pm alias pail
10.45pm Big A little a
12.15pm Burnkit 2600
More info at Bent Festival website.