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Mar 072016


I’m ridiculously happy to discover that there’s a circuit bending workshop happening in Nashville on Sunday, March 13th at 2 p.m. Little Harpeth Brewing is hosting “Circuit Bending: Exactly What Your Mom Told You Not To Do As A Child.” The workshop is led by multimedia artist McLean Fahnestock and presented by Gallery Luperca.

If you want to attend the 3-hour event, order your tickets now. Space is limited, and they need time to know how many parts to order.

Here are the details from the event page.

Circuit bending is the creative, chance-based customization of the circuits within low voltage battery-operated toys and gadgets to create new musical or visual instruments and noise-makers. Bring an old, used toy that still works, open it up, and learn how to make it into your own sound machine.

This workshop will get you started. We will cover the basics of circuit exploration, soldering, and switches. The $25 class fee covers an assortment of parts for you to try. Basic tools will be provided but you are welcome to bring your own kit if you would like. Bring a toy or two and make sure you have batteries!

Circuit Bending: Exactly What Your Mom Told You Not To Do As A Child
Sunday, March 13th, 2 p.m., 3 hours, $25 in advance
@ Little Harpeth Brewing, 30 Oldham St, Nashville, TN 37213

Jan 072014
Logo by Rachel Briggs.

Logo by Rachel Briggs.

The 2014 Circuit Benders’ Ball is now accepting submissions! We’re looking for performers, live visual accompanists, multimedia artists, workshop instructors and speakers. The entry deadline is Sunday, February 9th at 11:59 p.m. To submit, fill out this short form.

The Circuit Benders’ Ball is a biennial celebration of hardware hacking, art, music and the creative spirit. The event will take place at Fort Houston in Nashville, TN on Saturday, April 12th, 2014. The Ball will feature (at least) two stages, ten or more performers, an interactive art gallery and electronic workshops. Learn more about the 2010 Circuit Bender’s Ball here and the 2012 Ball here.

The submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges, including myself, Geo Leonard, Josh Gumiela, Megan Kelly, and Stephen Zerne.

We want the Ball to be a safe and welcoming environment for everyone, and we’re working on drafting a strong anti-harassment policy (and subsequent staff training) to ensure that all performers and attendees feel safe and comfortable. We’re also doing everything we can to make sure the call goes out to a wider audience than just our social networks. Our previous CBBs were over-representative in straight white cisgender male performers, and we intend to work harder this year at recruiting more women, people of color, people with disabilities and people who are gay, bisexual, asexual, intersex or transgender. This doesn’t mean we’re discriminating against straight white dudes or selecting performers based on any of these characteristics. Rather, we’re attempting to confront implicit biases in ourselves and in the selection process that could discriminate against people with these or other characteristics.

Here are some guidelines on what we are looking for.

Music/Multimedia Performers

We’ll have at least two stages for quick turnover and short sets to make room for many artists. Sets should be approximately 15 minutes. (Longer for headliners.)

Performances should somehow involve circuit bending, instrument design or creative coding. You need not have built the machines yourself. Although experimental / non-rhythmic is our main focus, we’re also open to other genres. We’re also open to multimedia performances, dance, theatre, projection mapping and whatever you can dream up!

Live Visual Accompanists

One of the most talked-about aspects of the previous CBBs was the pairing of performers with visual artists. If you’re a filmmaker, lighting designer, or artist of any stripe, you can collaborate with a performer to mastermind a beautiful audio/visual synthesis.

Visual Artists

We’re looking for art to display in the CBB gallery. Art can be 2D, 3D, sculpture, interactive, film/video or installations. In keeping with the theme, the art should have an electronic or mechanical element. We love interactive devices that make light and/or sound! You can also show off some of your circuit-bent gear!

Workshop Instructors

For this year’s ball, we’re looking for simple, inexpensive workshops. For that reason, all workshops will cost $15 and last 1 hour and 15 minutes. Workshop teachers get $12.75 per student. Fort Houston gets the remainder. All materials and teacher fees must come out of the $12.75 per student. The challenge for the teachers is to pick a topic that doesn’t use expensive materials and doesn’t take longer than an hour and 15 minutes from start to finish. Examples of low cost workshops include paper circuits, paper automata and introductory courses to programs like PureData and Supercollider.

Keeping the class time short means we can program more workshops. Keeping the costs low means we can attract more students.

Workshop teachers must source all materials, except for materials provided by Fort Houston and the students.


We would love to add panel and presentations to this year’s event! Lead a discussion or join someone else’s.

Here’s an example of a panel topic a local bender submitted:

Towards a Circuit Bending Standardization: This panel explores developing a technical standard for circuit bending interface and controller design. Such a standard could benefit designers who aim to sell their innovative devices while making it easier for artists to assemble a fully interconnectable arsenal of circuit bent instruments without any electronics expertise.


The Circuit Benders’ Ball is a non-profit event created to educate, inspire, and connect. Soon, we’ll launch a Kickstarter campaign to help finance the event. All Kickstarter donations and ticket sales (after expenses) go to the artists, on a sliding scale, based on distance from Nashville. The farther you have to travel, the bigger piece of the pie you get. We may agree to a set guarantee for featured artist, to be decided. The more we make, the more the artists make. Not a dime goes to me or anyone on the organizing staff. More details coming soon.


Apply to the Ball with this short form. The entry deadline is Sunday, February 9th at 11:59 p.m. In fairness to everyone, we won’t start assembling a lineup until the deadline has passed. Once we’ve assembled a lineup (approximately February 15th), we’ll seek confirmation with the artists we’ve picked. When everyone is confirmed, we’ll notify the artists who were not selected and then announce the lineup publicly. See you in April!

Dec 162013


It’s my pleasure to announce the date and location for the 2014 Nashville Circuit Benders’ Ball. The biennial daylong festival celebrating hardware hacking, art, music and the creative spirit will take place at Fort Houston on Saturday, April 12th, 2014. The 2012 Ball took place at Brick Factory, Fort Houston’s previous location and moniker, and we’re pleased to be partnering with them again. 2010 and 2012 art directors Megan Kelley and Stephen Zerne return for 2014. 2012 participant Josh Gumiela and Brighton, England noise artist and promoter Geo Leonard will chair the event with me.

We’re working hard preparing the CBB website, call for artists, Kickstarter campaign and more. Stay tuned to Theatre Intangible for more Ball announcements in the coming weeks!

Jun 212013

Instrument-maker, circuit-bender, ambient musician and one of the coolest people on the planet Tim Kaiser is returning to Noa Noa on Saturday, June 29th for a very special performance. He’ll be in the area for the Louisville Experimental Festival. We’re very fortunate that he agreed to make a stop in Nashville.

You NEED to be at this show. I know I say that a lot, but seriously. This time. NEED.

Who is Tim Kaiser?

Tim Kaiser is well known in the atmospheric experimental music scene for his blending of acousto-electric contraptions and Frankenstein electronics to create ethereal, layered drones. His sonic landscapes have been called “experiments in adventurous art” and “eclectic genius” by the likes of Make Magazine, Wired, the New Art Examiner and the Associated Press. Mr. Kaiser was featured on the PBS program MakeTV and has headlined numerous experimental music festivals in the US.

Check out his appearance on MakeTV where he discusses his instrument building:

Incredibly cool.

This will be the fourth in a new series of experimental concerts at Noa Noa. The theme for the night is “Inner Space — three acts building their own private fantasy world through instrument design, hardware hacking, and music. ”

Dylan Simon & Amy Blackburn Simon will blend voice, synthesizer, and hurdy gurdy into a tapestry-gilded gateway to the dream world.

Devin Bell (Blight Side of Life) will harness the power of audience smart phones and use them as multi-channel speakers in which to broadcast his circuit-bent drone set. That’s right, your phones are the speakers!

Incidentally, all three acts are Circuit Benders’ Ball alums.

More info on the Facebook event page. Don’t miss this very special show!

Noa Noa Experimental Series #4: Inner Space
Tim Kaiser, Dylan Simon & Amy Blackburn Simon, Devin Bell
Doors at 8:30pm, show at 9pm sharp
Suggested donation $7 to $10 to touring band.
BYOB. Park in front yard and surrounding business lots.

Noa Noa (house)
620 Hamilton Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203