Art Outside is inspiring in the way it mixes and melds music, making and seeing art, and other types of creative expression into a single unique experience.
My latest contribution to Firedoglake’s Saturday Art series is a video tour of the Bleep Labs’ Noise Explorer 5000, guided by my longtime Burner friend Thomas Fang. The Noise Explorer is a perfect example of the hands-on, participatory delight that makes up the best of Burning Man culture:
Saturday afternoon at Art Outside 2012, electronic artist and musician Thomas Fang took me on a tour of the Noise Explorer 5000, an interactive sound installation. Created by Austin’s Bleep Labs, it features homemade electronic musical instruments combined with ‘circuit-bent’ classics from the 1980s — Casio keyboards, drum machines, and childhood ephemera like the Speak & Math.
The Noise Explorer can be used by up to two explorers at its side-by-side stations. The users listen on headphones and can mix the levels of individual instruments or warp the sounds with effects pedals. The results can be recorded and played back later. The DIY art of circuit-bending — modifying existing electronic objects into quirky instruments and aural art — has been growing in popularity, but Fang suggests that an installation like this lets new people gain hands-on experience of its possibilities.
Photo by Kit O’Connell, all rights reserved. Creative Commons-licensed video by Kit O’Connell, with additional audio from the Bleep Labs Noise Explorer 4000 and Creative Commons-licensed photos by Jon Lebkowsky and Church of the Friendly Ghost.