Pop-up for Collaborative Music-making

Dirty Electronics will set up a pop-up workshop-installation in the centre of Leicester. A shop in a shopping mall becomes the locus for a two-day rapid making and guerrilla research event. Musicians, artists, and academics coalesce to interrogate the dialectical opposition of natural force vs. industrial process as well as reflect on a number of predetermined muses. The event is part of Dirty Electronics’ on-going research into making music with wires and code, objects and materials, and collective making. Dirty Electronics will not be selling anything in the ‘shop’ but will invite passers-by to witness the workshop-installation. The event will conclude with absurd noise and group performance.

Muse I
2019 was the bicentenary of the birth of art critic, writer and philanthropist John Ruskin. Ruskin, despite being often viewed as controversial and divisive, had a huge influence on the Arts and Crafts movement. He advocated a ‘back to the land’ ethos and vehemently criticised the Industrial Revolution and its impact upon society. Ruskin spoke out against the division of labour, the breaking down of the manufacturing of goods/objects into concentrated, often repetitive task to increase production. Nor could he see beauty in machines and, in general, was alarmed by engines! He celebrated all things human: human labour, hand-work, craft and human error: “Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man[/woman] go together.” Ruskin saw the act of making and production as equal importance to the end result.

Muse II
“… it was the existence of key aircraft and missile manufactures … that provided the initial impetus for the modern electronics industry” (Scott and Drayse 1990).

In 1986, the London Stock Exchange began using computers for trading. Traders were no longer on the market floor doing deals face-to-face:

Algorithmic trading (AT) is a dramatic example of this far-reaching technological change. Many market participants now employ AT, commonly defined as the use of computer algorithms to automatically make certain trading decisions, submit orders, and manage those orders after submission.

Hendershott 2011

Most consumers are unaware of the toxic materials in the products they rely on for word processing, data management, and access to the internet, as well as for electronic games. In general, computer equipment is a complicated assembly of more than 1,000 materials, many of which are highly toxic, such as chlorinated and brominated substances, toxic gases, toxic metals, biologically active materials, acids, plastics and plastic additives.

Hawari and Hassan 2008

My microchip is made by Microchip Technology: “Sales for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2019 were $5.35 billion” (Microchip Technology 2019).

Ergo … Can there be such a thing as ethical electronic music?

Muse III
Three films; three quotes:

Fritz Lang Metropolis – “The Mediator Between the Head and the Hands Must Be the Heart”.

Charlie Chaplin Modern Times – “Don’t stop for lunch be ahead of your competitor.”

Stanley Kubrick 2001: A Space Odyssey – “Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave?”

Muse IV
Ned Ludd Close, Anstey, Leicestershire

JR_Data:John Richards:EU_Interfaces:conference:talk:Ned_Ludd_x.jpg
Ned Ludd Close. Local hero/anti-hero from which the Luddites took their name

Muse V
Wittgenstein argued that: “Philosophy is not a theory but an activity.” Where might the activity of making collectively lead us?        


John Richards
Dirty Electronics. Listening through making, music of things

Dann Downes
Musician and researcher in communications and observing and experiencing DIY electronic music practice

Sol Andersson
The Act of Listening, Objects and Noise

Jaymie Benka-Davies

Katie-Jane Howard
Synergetic Methodology for Digital Musical Instrument Design, Experience-led design, Liveness

Ben Middle
Extended guitar and electronics, DIY bits & pieces, sometimes installations

Amit D Patel
Noise musician. Performs as Dushume – DIY Nomad and Hardware Mash-ups

Matt Rogerson
Sensory Overload: Noise, Mind, Emotion

Mick Ryan
All things electric + code

Harry Smith (Fermata Ark)
Noise/Electronic Music and Documentary. First Thought. Best Thought. 

Sam Warren
Electronic music for contemporary dance and the creation of ‘environment’ as a holistic approach to sound and dance

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