BENT Festival 2011
June 23rd 25th
@ 319 Scholes Brooklyn, NY
The Bent Festival is an annual art and music festival celebrating circuit bending and its related creative practices: DIY electronics, hardware hacking, glitch, software art, abstract video. Each year artists are welcomed from across the country and around the globe to share their craft through performances, workshops, video screenings, art exhibitions, and installations. The festival, as a whole, showcases the state of the art in DIY electronics and circuit bending culture.
319 Scholes links together three independent organizations in order to achieve a common goal of supporting the minds and needs of contemporary artists of various mediums. The physical space becomes an arena of exchange, allowing production and conception, practice and performance to come together and thus unit artists with their audiences.
What is Circuit Bending?
Circuit bending refers to the act of the creative short circuit, a process that began through modifying the circuitry of battery-powered children's toys to create strange, outlandish, unintended, and unpredictable sounds. This re-appropriation of objects of a digital youth has grown in popularity as it offers an affordable, culturally accessible path into the creation of electronic music and sound art. Performers wrangle squelches, bleeps, groans, and blips out of everyday childhood toys in addition to producing fragmented and abstract images from video games systems, digital cameras, and by directly hacking computer files. This is fun to watch, and fun to do.
Circuit bending is the direct result of experimentation, exploration, and play. Almost no technical know-how is needed to get started, making circuit bending accessible to a wide audience who may be curious about electronic art, but feel intimidated by the steep learning curve or passivity of the traditional performance setup.
Each year, The Tank invites benders from across the country and around the globe to perform concerts with their circuit bent instruments, exhibit their artwork, to teach workshops to adults and children alike, and to generally descend on our fair city for a week of sharing and showing off their homebrew electronics and programming skills.
If you're the slightest bit curious about electronics, electronic music, handmade electronic art, or if you've ever just really wanted to rip your toys apart, then this festival is for you. On Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th, we are offering a range of presentations and workshops including the infamous intro to circuit bending workshop with expert benders on hand to help you get started. There will be installation artists building circuit-bent artwork throughout the 319 Scholes space. In the evening, a full program of video works and live performances showcases a hand picked selection of some of the best circuit benders in the world. It is genuinely fun for the whole family. You will have a blast and are guaranteed to see some work that will truly blow your mind.
The installation artists will come to their respective spaces with a plan and their materials, but will create their entire bent artistic works live over the course of the week. The artists will work during festival hours, providing the public an insider's look into their creative process. The artists are happy to take time to discuss their work and in some cases may ask you get involved with their projects.
In addition to the installations, the festival will also have public work/play areas where audience members can try their hand at bending toys provided (or bring your own!). Expert benders, including but not limited to our installations artists, will be on-hand throughout the week to help you get started in this amazingly easy and fun process. The FREE Intro to Circuit Bending Workshop will happen on the 24th and 25th. Look for other special workshops and presentations offered by our artists in topics ranging from broadband signal sniffing, do-it-yourself printed circuit board construction, group performance practice, composition, and more! Tickets for these special selections will be available through brown paper tickets.
Evening programming: Concerts and Video Screening
Each night of the festival there will be a number of national and international acts performing music that involves circuit bent instruments, custom-made electronics and/or battery-powered electronic devices. Between performances, a selection of short video works by international artists will be screened, highlighting a range of audio visual techniques involving intentional misuse of traditional video technologies. The music will represent a wide range of genres from dance influenced electronic, electronics-based indie-pop acts to abstract, experimental soundscapes, and uncaged noise.
Special Thanks to:
Jeff Donaldson: Logo and Website
Philip White: Technical Direction
New York State Council for the Arts
319 Scholes St.
Brooklyn, NY 11206