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Aug 102012

DaveX live at the 2010 Circuit Benders’ Ball


I’m incredibly excited to announce a date for the 2012 Circuit Benders’ Ball. The event will take place at Brick Factory Nashville on Saturday, September 29th, 2012.

If you’re interested in performing, exhibiting art, or volunteering, read on!

Brick Factory Nashville and Theatre Intangible present the Circuit Benders’ Ball, a day-long symposium dedicated to the art of the bend. Circuit bending is the modification of battery-powered toys in order to create a smorgasbord of alien sounds: bleeps, buzzes, crackles, squawks, and blips. And one of the things that makes it so cool is that you don’t need a lot of technical know-how to get started. All you need, really, is curiosity, a screwdriver, and a willingness to experiment and play. The Circuit Benders’ Ball will feature two stages, over a dozen performers, an interactive art gallery, and circuit bending workshops.

Here is a media repository for the Circuit Benders’ Ball 2010.

You don’t have to circuit bend to participate. There are plenty of ways to be involved. Read on to learn about performing, visualizing, exhibiting, teaching, discussing, booth hosting, volunteering, donating, and sponsoring.

If you’d like to apply, please send a short e-mail to submissions at theatreintangible dot com, telling us who you are and what you’d like to do.


As with CBB2010, we’ll have two stages for quick turnover and short sets to make room for many artists. Sets should be approximately 15 minutes. Rigs should be simple and easy to hook up / break down.

Performances should somehow involve circuit bending or homemade electronics. You need not have built the machines yourself. In 2010, we limited the pool to experimental and non-rhythmic music, but we’re relaxing our rules this year to include any type of music that uses circuit bending. (Although experimental / non-rhythmic is still our main focus.)

We’re also open to multimedia performances, including dance, projection, and whatever you can dream up!


One of the most talked-about aspects of the CBB was the pairing of performers with visual artists. We’d love to bring that back this year! 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. At the 2010 event, William Howard played a glitched-out circuit bent Sega Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog game while Tim Kaiser, Jeremy Walker, and others made a musical improv. Matt Christy, Kelli Hix, Austin Alexander, and others made incredible visual pieces projected over the artists. Depending on the response, we may pair every performer with a different artist or have one artist in charge of each stage. Let me know if you have a specific performer in mind.


We’re looking for art to display in the CBB gallery. Art can be 2D, 3D, sculpture, interactive, or installation pieces. In keeping with the theme, the art should have an electronic or mechanical element. We love interactive devices that make light and/or sound!

The art of MTSU’s Gizmology Club seen here in this Seed Space gallery is right up our alley!

Also, automata!

And, of course, beautiful circuit bent devices!


Host a workshop on guitar pedal hacking, soldering, kit building, or whatever electronic/music topic you can dream up! Previous topics include Circuit Bending 101 and Bottle Cap Contact Mic building. You set the workshop fee. Brick Factory takes 15 percent, you pocket the other 85 percent.


We’re considering adding panels 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.

Host a Booth!

If you have a maker’s club or art/electronics business, set up a booth to educate, inform, or sell! In 2010, we had representatives from the Hacker Consortium and the Middle Tennessee Robotic Arts Society. Booths are free and subject to approval.


We need all the help we can get. Here are some positions you can apply for.

Poster/t-shirt designer: We need a bad-ass artist who can design bad-ass posters t-shirts, festival badges, as well as contribute to the web design.

Gallery assistants: Needed: 2-4. Art and gallery directors Megan Kelly and Stephen Zerne will transform the Brick Factory into a magical electronic world in a very short time span. They need your ideas and your muscle!

Workshops/Panels director: Needed 1. In charge of coordinating the panels and workshops and acting as a liason to the panellists and instructors.

Videographers: Needed: 1 to 2. We’d love to release a dvd of this year’s performances. That means we need talented videographers with their own cameras who can get great shots in ever-changing lighting conditions. The videographers will work in advance with the lighting/projection manager to make sure all lighting decisions will look spectacular on camera. Videographers will work out camera placement in advance and mark off necessary space and perhaps even set up home made camera tracking rigs.

Lighting / projection engineer: Needed 1. Will act as a liason to the visual artists projecting work and will mastermind the stage lighting and projectors. Will be able to hook up various media to the projectors on short notice, including Mac and PC laptops, DVDs, video game consoles, etc. Will work with the videographers to ensure appropriate light levels for recording.

Photographers: Needed: 1 to 2. Take great pictures!

Audio recorder: Needed: 1. Use a supplied Marantz field recorder to record the performances. Some sets will be tapped from board audio, others will need mics. Will work out in advance a recording plan.

Stage engineers: Needed: 2. Will set up and mix the performers. One engineer per stage. Will work out what cables, adapters, mics, stands, etc the performers will need in advance.

Stage managers: Needed: 1. Stage managers will make sure all the performances are running smoothly and get people to where they need to be when they need to be there. Works closely with the artist liason.

Artist liason: Needed: 1. Will meet and greet the artists and acts as a conduit between the artists and staff.

Press secretary: Needed: 1. Will send out press releases to all the local media agencies. Will Secures interviews, coverage. Organize flyer runs. Handle social media.

Door / concessions / etc: Needed: 4. Will take ticket, sell beer, load equipment, pick up pizza, kick ass!

Donate something as a Kickstarter Prize!

Kickstarter campaigns generally offer prizes for levels of contribution. See the Columbus Circuit Benders’ Ball Kickstarter for examples. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thefusefactory/circuit-benders-ball-columbus

Possibilities include CDs of your music, products from your electronics/circuit bending business, coupons/free tickets to your local business, custom art, and more! Noise artist Leslie Keffer offered dream catchers that she built herself. What can you donate? Up to how many?


Do you own a local company that would like to donate supplies, services, or cash? Finger foods? A keg of your quality beer? Sponsor CBB, and we’ll love you forever as well as include your name on badges, posters, t-shirts, and ad materials.


The Circuit Benders’ Ball is a non-profit event created to educate, inspire, and connect. Soon, we’ll launch a Kickstarter campaign (modelled after the Columbus Circuit Benders Ball Kickstarter) to help finance the event. All Kickstarter donations and ticket sales (after venue rental and supplies) 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 one feature artist, to be decided. The more we make, the more the artists make. Not a dime goes to me, the organizer. More details coming soon.


Submit now through August 25th.

If you’d like to submit for any of the above, please send a short e-mail to submissions at theatreintangible dot com, telling us who you are and what you’d like to do. Workshops and panels will take place from (approx) 10am to 4:30pm. Performances and exhibitions will take place from (approx) 6pm to 11:30pm.