Friday, March 7, 2014

Circuit Benders' Ball Updates: Expanded Dates, Kickstarter Campaign, First Lineup Confirmations Including Tim Kaiser

Posted By on Fri, Mar 7, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Teletron Orchestra, CBB 2012
We've mentioned the upcoming Circuit Benders' Ball a couple of times recently. Coming to Fort Houston in just over a month, the latest installment of the festival makes the division between music and art very fuzzy indeed. For a little more on that, feast your ears on the latest episode of the Fort Roll-Up podcast, posted earlier this week on our sister blog Country Life, in which your hosts (Scene arts editor Laura Hutson and Fort Houston's Zach Duensing and Brent Jackson) talked to CBB founder and sometime Scene contributor Tony Youngblood about his myriad arts projects (skip ahead to 19:34 for the beginning of their discussion on the Ball, but it's worth setting aside time to listen to the whole thing).

Tony sent several exciting updates our way this afternoon. First, the event has expanded to three full days: Friday, April 11, through Sunday, April 13, a key upgrade since the 2012 event felt like a lot to take in over just one day. There will be performances on all three nights, panels and workshops on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, and a circuit-bent art gallery that will be open all weekend. Tickets will go on sale soon via Fort Houston's website.

Second, the Kickstarter project that will bankroll the Ball has reached its minimum goal, allowing the show to go on. There's still plenty of neat swag for the picking, so peruse the offerings and make your pledge by March 20 to help the festival open up to an even wider range of artists on the national level. The organizers are also offering sponsorship opportunities at pretty reasonable prices, if you're interested.

Speaking of the lineup, Tony also sent over a list of the artists confirmed so far to play this year. As always, it's an exciting mix of locals and touring acts who look at music in a different way than you or I probably do on a regular basis, including the return of renowned Minnesota mad scientist Tim Kaiser, who's been building instruments and performing internationally for the past three decades. Take a look at the full list after the jump.

Touring Acts:

* Not unlike our own Matt Glassmeyer (who performs as Meadownoise), Tim Kaiser's imagination isn't limited by the capabilities of traditional instruments, so he often builds his own to suit his purposes. Take a look at his MakeTV special to get a feel for his point of view.

* Brooklyn's Brendan Byrne combines hardware hacking and digital software control to make electronic toys and more do his bidding. He'll be showing off a special project involving MIDI-enabled toys at this year's Ball.

* Also from Brooklyn, Patrick Quinn will bring his Survant project, which is a "sensory assault noise/glitch" performance piece related to an anti-surveillance project, a "watching the watchers" affair involving police security cameras and USB dead drops. To learn more about that, hover your mouse over the middle group of characters here; click to open a Google Doc which lays out the premise. There's also video of a recent performance.

* Think of a symphony written for an orchestra of fax machines, and you'll have a handle on what Indianapolis' Benjamin Berg is up to in stAllio! Taking advantage of the fact that software treats all digital information equally, unless instructed to do otherwise, his makes his music by organizing the most interesting tones generated when he "tricks" audio programs into interpreting text files and other non-musical bits of code as sound.

* From Chicago, Garland Villanova uses circuit-bent instruments in multimedia performance pieces. It's some pretty wild stuff that can be a little unnerving, and definitely doesn't fit within any one discipline.


* Robbie Hunsinger, who uses her knowledge of electronics and software to turn hacked video game controllers into performance tools, in the realms of both visual art and sound.

* Sugar Sk*-*lls, the brainchild of Ben Mercantel and friends; marvel at the badass Carl Sagan-inspired video they made for "Tethers."

* infectious, noisy lo-fi pop from Graphic Tease, aka Maddy Madeira from How Cozy.

And there's plenty more to come. We'll keep you up to speed, but you can follow the Circuit Bender's Ball on Facebook in the meantime.

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