Harlot is definitely an interactive digital magazine focused on exploring rhetoric in everyday existence. We invite relevant and interesting contributions from diverse perspectives as well as in multiple media.
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Crafting Malfunction: Rhetoric and Circuit-Bending
Steven Hammer and Aimée Dark night
Circuit-bending, a skill practice coded in the 1960’s, requires the creative short circuiting of battery-powered toys and instruments. Like a lot of its avant-garde precursors, circuit-bending is really a composition practice that values access, chance, and indeterminacy. With this special issue of Harlot, we document our very own circuit-bending process making connections between your work of Qubais Reed Ghazala, the pioneer of circuit-bending, and rhetoric and writing. Particularly, we discuss the significance of access and creativeness, invention and discovery, and also the ways in which composition is really a collaborative performance between humans and nonhumans.
One evening last fall, we sitting lower to understand more about the way the perception of craft rhetorics intersects using the theory and exercise of circuit-bending. Your Communication Studies department that values experiential learning, i was searching for methods to assist students explore certain theoretical concepts through hands-on practice. The main thing on our thinking was the observation our students are occasionally scared of making mistakes or taking chances.
From writing copy for that web to writing code, there can often be an excessive amount of concentrate on rhetorical moves or strict standards, like the proper way, for instance, of following strict usability conventions or standard coding practices. As two individuals who wish to encourage invention and creativeness within the classroom, we accepted circuit-bending’s indeterminate appearance of malfunction, where you can find no rules to creation, no strict canon to invention. What’s produced is basically unknown—crafted wholly by sense and intuition.
For this finish, we required a classic Casio SK-1 in the 1980s and a variety of tools, including some telephone wire, a soldering iron, a potentiometer and a few RCA jacks, and started work. We documented the procedure utilizing a Canon 5D along with a Barbie dolls Wireless Camcorder. After video documenting the circuit-bending event, we composed this piece like a screencast as a means of practicing technological transparency.
Just like circuit-bending is really a process-based craft that avoids the making of as well as on composition technologies that obscure their very own production, we made a decision to write with video in a manner that makes our process, our technological coauthors, and our sources transparent.
In lots of ways, we would have liked to merely introduce folks to circuit-bending among many composition practices that embraces chance, noise, invention, and play. I was also intrigued because when a circuit-bender shares creative control using the tool/object at hands. Creating with and thru an item complicates authorial intent because it is encoded within the work. In the end, there’s a lengthy good reputation for such practices (Oulipo, Zaum, Dada, Fluxus, Futurism, Glitch, Dirty New Media, etc…), and lots of authors and students have carried out these movements and applied their concepts pedagogically (Sirc’s College Composition like a Happening, most particularly).
For individuals wondering more—or even trying circuit-bending for themselves—here really are a couple of sources:
Because you will most likely find, circuit-bending could be both a completely independent practice of exploration and discovery along with a community-based practice by which documentation, discussing, and education are typical practices. While formal occasions (e.g., Bent Fest 2007-2009) and informal occasions (performances, workshops) exist, most community activity occurs online by means of video documentation, featuring demonstrations of instruments and documentation of where “bends” may be found on specific circuit boards.
There’s evidence that circuit-bending is really a craft practice in decline. Circuit-bending could just be a brief-resided avant-garde practice like a lot of its predecessors. There’s, however, additionally a material/economic facet of its decline. Typically the most popular objects for circuit-bending were produced in the 1970s–1990s, a period by which sampling technology was limited and costly, leading manufacturers to make use of digital seem synthesis technologies. Newer technologies, however—toys and keyboards you can buy new in 2015, for instance—make utilization of now-abundant memory and just store samples for convenient recall. As a result, the toys and keyboards once by the bucket load at yard sales and thrift stores are dwindling, and the price of these instruments on sites like Ebay have risen. The Casio SK-1, for instance, presently costs $30–$60 on Ebay.
Whatever the durability of circuit-bending like a practice, however, it remains both valuable and transferable to the own methods for making, writing, and creating. Rule-based systems are more and more prevalent within our creating lives. By inviting some malfunction into our learning and teaching practices, we craft another relationship to both our systems and our technologies.
Steven Hammer is definitely an Assistant Professor of Communication and Digital Media at Saint Joseph’s College, where he researches and teaches courses in multimedia production, digital media studies, and sonic rhetorics. He is another seem/video artist, collector of forgotten technologies, and live music enthusiast.
Aimée Dark night is definitely an assistant professor within the Communication Studies Department at Saint Joseph’s College. Her research focuses on multimodal composition, digital storytelling and new (and never so new) appearance.