Ptarmigan operated in Tallinn from 2011-2014. We no longer maintain any presence in Tallinn, but this website will continue to serve as an archive of the activities produced at Ptarmigan during these years.
Sound artist John Richards leads this workshop in experimental instrument construction. This starting point for a group performance is an electric generator made from a pair of scissors and a motor appropriated from a desktop printer. This mechanical tool is placed in stark contrast to a fragile piece of paper that is scrunched into a ball, as well as highlighting the relationship between paper and scissors. The piece also presents contrasting electronic and acoustic sounds and clasping and pincer movements of the hand. The event will include building all of the devices for performance – generator and DIY synth – and group rehearsal.
The event/workshop is open to all. No prior knowledge of electronics required. Participants will perform in a concert on the evening of Sunday, 11 November.
Participants will each build an individual generator and synthesiser and take them home afterwards.
Since 2003, John Richards has been exploring the idea of ‘Dirty Electronics’ that focuses on face-to-face shared experiences, ritual, gesture, touch and social interaction. In Dirty Electronics process and performance are inseparably bound. The ‘performance’ begins on the workbench devising instruments and is extended onto the stage through playing and exploring these instruments.
The Dirty Electronics Ensemble is a large group that explore these ideas and whose members are often made-up of workshop participants. The workshop is central to the Ensemble in that all of the musicians have to build their own instrument for performance. In 2008, the group performed pieces specially written for the Ensemble by, amongst others, Japanese noise artists Merzbow, Pauline Oliveros, Howard Skempton (founder member of the Scratch Orchestra), Gabriel Prokofiev and Nicholas Bullen (ex-Napalm Death and Scorn). Other notable collaborations include working with Rolf Gehlhaar (original Stockhausen group), Chris Carter from Throbbing Gristle, Keith Rowe, Anat Ben-David and STEIM (Amsterdam). In 2011 Dirty Electronics created a specially commissioned hand-held synth for Mute Records.