Build your own Radio Synthesizer Workshop

Mar 21, 2012 10:29 pm
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="193" caption="From Phillip Stearns' website. Photo by Yao Chung-Han."][/caption]In conjunction with the exhibition "Transmittal," a transmission art exhibition in Greene County, New York June 2, this workshop will teach participants to unlock new sonic dimensions in an everyday object: a FM radio receiver. Participants will learn the basics of electronics hacking through circuit bending from New York-based artist Phillip Stearns. Circuit bending is the art of the creative short circuit, where the electronics of a device are exposed and rewired to produce new sounds and tones. No prior electronics knowledge is required! You'll learn how to work with wire, solder, install switches and knobs. When you're finished you'll have a your own, unique battery-powered radio-synthesizer. This workshop is limited to eight participants (ages 12 and up). Email Galen Joseph-Hunter (gjh [at] to secure your spot. Please bring your own analog radio and batteries. We'll supply soldering irons, tools, wire, and parts (but if you have your own fancy soldering iron or tools feel free to bring them). There is a $20 materials fee per registrant.

Writes Stearns, "My work lies at the intersection of art, philosophy, and science, spanning a variety of disciplines, drawing upon a multiplicity of mediums. Through installation, audio, video, circuit sculpture, writing, photography, performance art, music composition, and agriculture, my work explores the dynamic relationship that exists between technology and society. A technological practice---its tools, bodies of knowledge, systems of meaning, and methods of thought---entail a complex of supporting economic structures, political machines, power relations, and social implications. Identifying modes of cultural production and ideology recorded on the surface of technology and embedded within its tools; fostering creativity as opposed to productivity; and exploiting the limitations imposed on a system to expose alternate possibilities are integral to my artistic practice. I view electronics as complex artificial living systems, organisms existing within interconnected economies and ecosystems. Accepting the alien language of electronics as familiar and natural, and in essence human, lifts the veil of mythology surrounding modern technological tools---their origins and applications---allowing a glimpse at the economic and political dynamics restructuring society according to specific ideologies. The driving force within my work comes from an oscillation between an intense fascination with technological objects and a deep skepticism towards modern applications of technology, especially in the creation of closed circuits of production/consumption. The dynamics of society and the environment emerge as central concerns. What are the implications of applying contemporary technological thinking to more primitive techniques and technologies as new starting points for re-conceptualizing the present and re-imagining the future?"
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