Dirty Electronics: Scream




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Insomnia Festival, Tromso, Norway



Peer reviewed


How can something as primordial as the voice find its way into code to become data?’. ‘Can such data carry meaning?’, or, ‘Can the voice ‘become’ sound object? insomnia scream is a machine that takes vocal utterances and twists them into sequences of analogous noise. The machine utters. The machine converses.

The sound object is a printed circuit board (PCB) artwork exploring the intersection between etching techniques and electronics. Sequences of electronic noise and oscillations are created through screaming (or singing) into a miniature on-circuit board microphone that acts as an analogue input/sensor for a microprocessor. The sound object draws on a reductionist design aesthetic, a minimal control interface, and is ‘played’ through the voice. The printed circuit board is investigated for its visual qualities/characteristics afforded by its electronic components. PCB manufacturing techniques of solder finishes (copper/silver/gold), coloured protective lacquers, and on-board screen-printing are also exploited. The object lends itself towards developing ‘devious slants’ for the performance of electronic music and live coding and, in doing so, presents a number of polar concepts: control/lack of control as a performer; human/machine interaction; voice as code/data; voice as instrument/sound; gestural vs. automated; loop vs. line; product as package, package as product; and active engager vs. passive consumer. Attendees of insomnia Festival will have the opportunity to make the object in a workshop with Dirty Electronics.



DIY electronics, music composition, performance art, participatory art, printed circuit board artwork, physical edition


Richards, J. (2016) "Dirty Electronics: Scream” [music performance/composition, sound object].


Research Institute

Music, Technology and Innovation - Institute for Sonic Creativity (MTI2)