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A sprawl of works from instillation to performance.. This page covers the gamut of current and old projects.
(not so much going on in 2008)

Jump to:
Solar Weevils, New Interfaces, Behind Beyond, Obsolete Technology, Kreepa vs Bugs, 9v Cell, Vibraphonic Workshop
Bugs on ResonanceFM, Sonic Post @ ICONs, This Much I Know with The Special Guests
Euro Tour 05, All-Enveloping Sound Show, Sonic Fridge, Pendulum Music

Current Events:

Bug Projects Coming Soon:
I've been working a lot with solar power over the last few months (..though UK hasn't been the sunniest place..). Not only is this eco-logical/nomic but it also opens up the possibilities of new performance spaces as no mains power supply is needed. Its also pretty nice to get out of the (dark & damp) workshop... There have been two strands to this investigation - (1) - the use of small solar panels, super capacitors and low power circuitry in the Solar Weevils project - (2) - solar powered BugBrand Modular using larger solar panels and SLA batteries.

Full-Pull Sound Sculpture Workshops - 10-12th August, Sweden
Offload Festival - new SolarWeevil installation - 13-16th September, Bristol




Solar Weevils
A swarm of circuits which store power from solar cells during the day and burst into chorus when dusk comes, before gradually dieing out as the power is drained..

This project is kindly supported by Middlesex University Teaching Resources (MUTR). Check the BugBlog for some more techy details.




BugBrand Modular
Analogue synthesis & processing system for live performance.
Now solar powered.
Solo and in collaboration.
See the modular page for further details.


Jun07 - Collaborations with Hilary Jeffery - with improvised duo of Bugs vs Jeffery and performances with Lysn.

NIP - New Interfaces for Performance
NIP began in Bristol 30th Mar - 1st April
The 2nd installment took place at Steim, Amsterdam 19th-21st June.

NIP is a European tour and workshop series focusing on gesture and movement as the means to engage, trigger and interact in realtime with live media, sound, music and performance based works. Joining NIP will be over twenty artists(including BugBrand) who have been invited to participate in the workshops and contribute to the local events and performances.

NIP-Bug performances:
Bristol - BugBrand Modular performance with oscilloscope projections and visuals from Kathy Hinde.
Amsterdam - Modular collaboration with trombonist Hilary Jeffery.

NIP closes in Lisbon in September.

NIP is organised by Polar Produce


Behind Beyond

I nuet levandegörs skuggor från en gyllene röst.
I hennes slut finns min början.

Behind Beyond is the meeting of the dance of Lotta Melin, the electronics of Tom Bugs and the video works of Kathy Hinde.

Inspired by the life of Sarah Bernhardt, the performance is the debut of an electronic sound dress specially designed for Lotta by BugBrand and built with the help of dressmaker Pam Tait. The dress features diverse circuitry that can be played and manipulated by dance, movement, light and sound.

16th / 17th Feb 2007 - Dansens Hus, Stockholm
22nd / 23rd Feb 2007 - Inkonst, Malmo

A Melin Art Performance (M.A.P.) production.

Archive Events:

Obsolete Technology Exhibition @ the Here Shop Gallery
3rd - 23rd June 2006

Celebrating STUFF that has fallen out of the public's NOW fixation but which still holds creative joy & wonder.

The Here Shop Gallery was filled with whirring / creaking / crackling and some plain beautiful things like an aladins cave.

Bug Works - 3 loops:
- Music Box Moebius Strip Loop (with Dave Hopkinson)
- Tape Loop - a recording of the Music Box Loop
- Super8 Loop - archive footage of power boats in the Bristol Docks
(strangely enough the stuff really did prove obsolete - the tape machine motor siezed up and the Super8 finally jammed and burnt through...)

And wondrous works from the likes of:
Twocsinak, Keira Lyn Rathbone, Ellen Van Engelen, Sarah Doyle, Dave Hopkinson, Naomi Kashinagi, Will Turner-Duffin, Ray Brooks, Ghostboy, Simon Daly, Camilla Stacey and others whose names I've misplaced (oops)

(Click on pictures to see full-size)

 



Kreepa vs Bugs @ the Cube Cinema
16th March 2006

An exciting electronic meeting between Kreepa's diverse devices (John Richards' Kreepback setup and Hilary Jefferies' trombone) and the mutating BugBrand Modular.

A large-scale four channel touch-interface system was constructed across the stage which depended on touch-input from John & myself to generate control signals for the electronic sound devices.


The Sonic Dissemination Tower
the 9v Cell at the Snail Gallery, Bristol

9V Cell
!!currently dormant!!!

The improvised electronic trio runs entirely on battery power, allowing for guerilla performance in previously untapped acoustic spaces. Three operatives hunch around a central Sonic Dissemination Tower, feeding it with the sounds of a vast array of handbuilt BugBrand devices.

Check the devices on the sound devices page.

Low voltage, high trauma.




Circuit Bending Workshops at Vibraphonic
On 11th March 2006 I held two workshops at the Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter, as part of the Vibraphonic Festival. These workshops were meant to be an introduction to Circuit Bending and I think that any introduction has got to feature some hands on experience. But how to cover this for 20 participants?

The solution was for me to design and build a simple circuit (20 times over) that could then be bent by beginners and would demonstrate a few common bending techniques. So I made a circuit that emulated a little alarm (a battery powered modulating oscillator with a little speaker) and on to this people added: a jack output, low power dial, pitching control, light sensor with momentary button and multiple body contacts. All of these extra bits fitted on to the circuit board so by the end of the workshop everyone had a really portable little noise maker.

The workshops proved to be really great fun. Each session, with 10 people per session, was meant to be 3 hours long, but after an introductory background talk (covering demonstrations of devices, history, tools, where to get things etc) it was still quite a rush for people to do all the bends. The afternoon session ended up running for 4.5 hours and we got to open up a Realistic Concertmate keyboard and feed its output back into the datalines for greatly messed sounds.

View the workshop document (PDF 700kbytes)

And some associated sounds are online on the Binaural Diaries Blog.

 


BugBrand on Resonance FM - live session for You Are Hear - 27th Feb 2006

Download the session (55MB mp3) - featuring two KoB tracks, interview with Tom Bugs and demo sounds of the ICONsWeevil and BugBrand Modular.



The Sonic Post - at the ICONs exhibition

A sound installation incorporating interactive touch to MIDI control.

At St Pancras Hospital, London, NW1 0PE
20th Jan - 17th March 2006

Page with full details


This Much I Know Part II
Working with The Special Guests

Prank calls, long goodbyes and home truths all form part of The Special Guests’ The Telephone Game. This is a slippery sport of fictional phone calls in which the audience should get ready for foul play and fair play which divides the fibbers from the fools. Some dutifully follow instructions whilst others deliberately loosen the screws. A concept originally touched on in This Much I Know (Part One), witness the colour drain when stretched out to four hours. …

With BugBrand technical workings - construction of modified telephones with microphones, tones and infra-red control.

At the Arnolfini, Sat 4th Feb 2006, as part of Inbetween Time


The Here Shop Christmas Craft Fair

Takes place on Sat 26th Nov from 12.30-6.30pm at the Here Shop, Bristol.

Lots of BugBrand bits'n'bobs for sale including the new WeevilFrames.

www.thingsfromhere.co.uk


24 Frames @ the Here Shop, Bristol

Celebrating 2 years of the best shop in Bristol.
11th - 31st October.

Exhibition website
View all the frames


BugBrand Audio Devices European Tour
A Pan-European tour where Tom Bugs travels around with a suitcase full of custom audio electronic devices, playing experimental shows and recording an album while traveling on the trains of Europe.

Page of further details

Calling at:
25/9/05 - Voxxx, Chemnitz, Germany
26/9/05 - Noch Besser Leben, Leipzig, Germany
27/9/05 - Goldmund, Berlin, Germany
30/9/05 - Consortium, Amsterdam, Holland
2/10/05 - Rhiz, Vienna, Austria
6/10/05 - GAS Festival, Gothenburg, Sweden
8/10/05 - Blaa, Oslo, Norway


Corn Street Busking - Saturday 17th September @ Corn Street, Bristol
Street busking in the heart of the city with an assortment of battery operated sound devices.

Vespers - BugBrand Interpretations - Thursday 22nd September @ the Cube Cinema, Dove Street, Bristol
An interpretation of another Alvin Lucier piece, this time Vespers. Ultra-sonic bat-style mapping of the darkened auditorium of the Cube Cinema. Also with Lawrence English and VI.


The BugBrand All-Enveloping Sound Show
A unique collection of visual and interactive sound exhibits produced by Tom Bugs and brought together in the Here Gallery to create an all-encapsulating sonic experience.

At the end of February the Here Gallery was filled with the other-worldly sounds of three BugBrand sonic pieces. This exhibition, the first at the Here Gallery to focus on sound, further developed existing BugBrand sound pieces and tuned them to fit together sonically in the gallery setting. While inside each piece a deep pulsing electronic heart beat, it was the sonic and interactive aspects that were brought to the front in the exhibition, presenting to people in a highly visual and interactive display an experience of unfamiliar sounds ranging from serenely shifting drones to whooping electronic tones.

At the HERE Gallery, Bristol. 26th Feb to 11th Mar 2005

 

The Sound Machine
The movements of people around the room are sensed by a post in the centre of the room. This post sends out its information by infrared to little boxes positioned on each speaker frame. The insides of the boxes are filled with chaotic circuits and wires that react and spout sounds in relation to the movements. The sounds are emitted from the speakers and cause vibration of the attached string and pen arrangement, thus transforming movements around the exhibition into random patterns on paper. The Sound Machine was originally devised with Simon Bond and was exhibited as part of the Interact1 show in September 2004

Angry Bugs
Light dependent drone oscillators with pendulum light sources taking inspiration from previous light dependent experiments. The four oscillators together create the sound of swarming insects. Gently push the insects and you will hear the oscillator’s pitch change. When all four pendulums are in motion the tones gradually sway in and out of phase.

The Eternal Drone
A reworking of the Alvin Lucier piece Music On A Long Thin Wire. Three 6 meter guitar strings are vibrated by a magnetic oscillator. The extreme length of the strings gives rise to ever changing overtones thus creating a constantly evolving sonic backdrop to the exhibition.

Setting
The basement of the Here Shop & Gallery provided the ideal environment for total sonic immersion - a setting of subdued green lighting, bug stencils, plastic creepy-crawlies and electronic interferences.


Relay

Website

Rent an mp3 player from the Here Shop and spend an hour wandering around Stokes Croft listening to local arts peoples talking about their works and the area.

Runs for the next few months.
Listen to the Tom Bugs interview.


Dorkbot London Talk - 15th June 2005


Build Your Own Light Oscillator Workshop
Part of the Venn Festival, Bristol, June 2005

A free workshop at which 10 participants built their own theremin-style light oscillator.

Workshop documents are on the Resources page.

 


Music on a Long Thin Wire
An interpretation of Alvin Lucier's piece.

A long guitar string is stretched across the stage and driven (vibrated) by an electro-magnet. The extreme length of the wire means that all sorts of overtones appear and the system takes on a unique and ever-changing form.

Beginning in total darkness, candles were gradually placed at intervals under the strings to heat them and bend the pitches.

Performed at the Cube Cinema, Bristol on 14th January 2005

Read an interview with Alvin Lucier about the piece here..


The Sonic Fridge
A humming, rattling fridge is covered in contact mics to produce a rich sonic tapestry. Freezant flowing and crackling in the freezer box, the rattling of the wire shelves, all amplified to fill the room with an uneasy ambience. In the inner glow of the fridge is seen a tincan that rises up and clatters down at random intervals.

A collaboration with the shady graf artist GhostBoy.

Part of the Jamaica Street Arts Open Studios
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th December 2004


Here Shop Craft Fair
December 2004

 


Pendulum Music
Pendulum Music was orginally written to use an arrangement of speakers and hanging microphones. The speakers are placed on the floor facing upwards with the microphones positioned above and hanging suspended by their cables, free to swing around. The microphones feed into the speakers and the output level is set so that the system just feeds back when a microphone is directly above its speaker. When a microphone is moved off axis, the feedback subsides. Several similar arrangements are set up.
The performance begins with all the microphones being pulled backwards away from the speakers and simultaneously released so that they begin to swing suspended on their cables. The resulting sound is a wonderful mix of whooping sounds that pass in and out of phase with each other and gradually subside into a steady drone as the microphones come to rest.

BugBrand reconfigured this idea by using specially built light-dependent oscillator boxes and swinging torches.

This show took place in the lush and darkened environment of the Cube Cinema, Bristol.

A Float Records night with Deerhoof and My Ambulance is on Fire, 20th August 2004.


Electronic Music & Circuit Bending Workshop
Part of the Bring Yourself Festival, Bristol, August 2004

Free workshop giving an introduction to circuit bending.

With BugBrand, Francois and Sofia Gradin.

The workshop document is on the Resources page.