The "Bent But Not Broken" workshop was held last night as part of the Format Festival on Peel Street. The event was very successful, with an overcapacity crowd that was enthusiastic and seemed to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.
The workshop was divided into two main parts. The first half focused on chipmusic - specifically, the Game Boy music sequencer Little Sound DJ (LSDJ) written by Johan Kotlinksi. I supplied a total of 8 Game Boy / Game Boy Advance / Nintendo DS units so that participants were able to experience the software when running on some form of hardware. A number of people also brought along laptops in order to emulate the Game Boy and run LSDJ.
Although it was clear that not everyone was from a musical background, people were able to get some interesting beats and phrases out of the obsolete video game consoles, and as such get a feel for composing Game Boy music.
The second half of the workshop centered around circuit bending. Participants were given a number of sound-making toys, and told to find bending spots that changed the sound. Although in almost all cases, the only bends available on the cheap, microblob toys in question were of the speed / pitch / sample rate / clock rate type, everyone had a go at seeing how far these toys could be pushed.
It was clear that people had a good time experiencing and experimenting with the practical side of circuit bending. The fact that the art can have such an immediate and direct outcomes makes it suitable for workshop situations. Various participants even started with cross-device loops and feedback modulations, which showed their interest in circuit bending.
I want to thank everyone that came along for making the night a resounding success. I would also like to thank Simon and the Format Collective crew for making the this workshop possible and able run as smoothly and as successfully as it did.
More pictures can be found here.