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Workshop: Experimenting & Performing with Dirty Electronics

2015/10/28 (Wed) @ 20:00 - 22:00

| Free

Dirty Electronics Workshop – Experimenting with Bed of Nails x Hard Drive; Performing Hidden Sine and Light & Feathers

Dirty Electronics invite artists/musicians to take part in a large-group performance for mixed electronic and acoustic sound. Attendees will have the opportunity to rehearse with Dirty Electronics’ “Bed of Nails x Hard Drives” instrument, and perform the works Hidden Sine and Light & Feathers.
Anyone can take part, but an interest in performance is required. No cost. Musicians are also invited to bring acoustic instruments/voice. A public performance of the work will take place the following day. Anyone interested in taking part in the workshop should send an e-mail request to raindogzhuwenbo@gmail.com.

Sample 3 of the [INSERT NAME HERE] Meridian Experimental Minifest

UPDATE (25/10): THIS EVENT WILL TAKE PLACE AT AOTU STUDIO (No.67, Beixinqiao Toutiao, Dongcheng, Beijing)

More info

John Richards (b. 1966) is a musician and composer working in the field of electronic music. Since 1999, he has predominantly explored performing with self-made instruments and creating interactive environments for composition. He coined the term “dirty electronics” to describe an approach within electronic music that shirks working with corporate technology and virtualness, and focuses on a do-it-yourself ethos, found objects and the physical in relation to the human body. Richards also began to explore these ideas through workshops and performances. In 2003, he formed the Dirty Electronics Ensemble, a large group that is often made-up of workshop participants where making things and performances are intrinsically linked. The group have performed specially commissioned pieces by Japanese noise artists Merzbow, Pauline Oliveros, Howard Skempton (founder member of the Scratch Orchestra), Gabriel Prokofiev and Nicholas Bullen (ex-Napalm Death and Scorn). Other notable collaborations have included working with Rolf Gehlhaar (original Stockhausen group), Chris Carter from Throbbing Gristle, Keith Rowe and STEIM (Amsterdam).

Richards’s Dirty Electronics concept/project focuses on shared experiences, ritual, gesture, touch and social interaction. In Dirty Electronics, process and performance are inseparably bound. The ‘performance’ begins on the workbench devising instruments, and is extended onto the stage through playing and exploring these instruments. Richards is primarily concerned with the performance of large-group electronic music and DIY electronics, and the idea of composing inside electronics. His work also pushes the boundaries between music, performance art, electronics, and graphic design and is transdisciplinary as well as having a socio-political dimension. Richards has been commissioned to create sound devices for various arts organisations and festivals and has released a series of hand-held synths on Mute Records.


Dirty Electronics’ “Bed of Nails x Hard Drives” instrument exploits traditional breadboard techniques, wire-wrapping and nails banged into a board, and a noise generating feedback circuit. It is played by touching different combinations of nails to create a range of sounds. A low sine tone, produced by a brushless motor of a computer hard drive, is used as a low frequency oscillator and modulator for the Bed of Nails feedback circuit. The open circuitry, nails, and wire of the instrument present sculptural possibilities; whilst the spinning hard drive highlights gesture and affordance in the playing of the instrument.

Hidden Sine explores self-made instruments and large-group performance, and ‘sound curious’ that are concerned with the way of the hand, touch and affordance (action possibilities). The premise is that an object may have artistic/sound potential, often hidden, that can be revealed through investigation and praxis. This investigation operates on a number of levels covering sound, plastic arts and actions/theatre. The building of circuits and sound devices is also seen as a method for creating a tabula rasa, and how the idea of delegated performance, where instruments are played by ‘non-experts’, serves to establish a naive approach and authenticity in performance. Musicians with acoustic instruments are asked to consider twelve actions that derive from the Bed of Nails x Hard Drives instrument. These include: spin, cycle, loop, backward/forward, etc.
Light & Feathers II is for vibrating objects and feathers, and automated incandescent light bulbs. A sequence of light events control sound objects with large feathers that rattle, shake and move. The sound objects are tethered to performers who are taken on circuitous routes across the floor by the moving objects. The space is demarcated by sound and light and shadows cast by the vibrating feathers.


Time: Wednesday October 28th, 8pm
Venue: AOTU STUDIO (No.67, Beixinqiao Toutiao, Dongcheng, Beijing)
Cover: FREE // please book: raindogzhuwenbo@gmail.com


Meridian Borderline:
A laboratory for contemporary art, music and film

Borderline is an ongoing series of events hosted or curated by Meridian 时差, dedicated to avant-garde and/or experimental sound, performance arts, visual arts, and indie cinema. Borderline events are occasions to explore new creative territories.

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