Making New Instruments

Putting aside the technical aspect of digital and electronic music for a moment, this workshop focuses on designing an instrument from scratch, in a way that will allow us to have a detailed and precise conversation about it immediately. Using a highly conceptual approach to the instruments and interfaces, we will start from the image of the perception of the sound. Participants will be challenged to work with a variety of mapping exercises; gesture to meaning, sound to performance, instrument to body, concept to space, space to time. First draw me a picture of the sound you would like to make, then build the machine that makes that sound. Using scrap materials we build instruments and “play” them for each other, sparking detailed conversations about the performative qualities, technical aspects and conceptual layout of the instrument.

This workshop forms a part of the STEIM Instrument Lab, a new seminar and collaborative residency program dealing with the building of new instruments and the artistic practices which emerge from interactive, performance-based thinking. The program will serve as a crash-course in philosophical, interactive and practical considerations for the live and virtuosic performance of electronic music.

Duration: 1 – 2 hours [negotiable]

Materials: Cardboard, construction paper, plastic/paper cups, kitchen foil, cardboard tubes, bubble wrap, duct tape, double sided tape, glue, wire, basic paint, string, record / playback devices.

Tools: Pliers and cutters, sturdy scissors, paint brushes, glue gun, box cutter.

• Ongoing at STEIM, 2009 –