Archive for the ‘Workshops’ Category

Circuit bending insectbooks

June 22, 2009

tagnyrobotsThe final day of the electrobook workshop that I conducted at the Fremantle Arts Centre finished yesterday. The books are fantastic. Some of them will be on display during my open studio next Sunday (June 28th) betweeen 2-4pm at the Moores Building (42 Henry Street, Fremantle). Also see the blog. (


Workshop Day 1 (Sunday June 14th, Fremantle Arts Centre)

June 15, 2009


As part of my research-creation process for the Cryobook Archives project, I am teaching a workshop series with the Fremantle Arts Centre called “Electrobooks”.  The first workshop took place yesterday (Sunday June 14th) with ten participants. The making of  “electro-books” – small kinetic sculptures that are hybrids between handmade paper books and electronic circuits. I am interested in animating the cryobooks through kinetic movement as a later stage. Making the electro books is my way of thinking through the potential relationship between the book, movement and liveliness. Most importantly, I am exploring how the processes of sewing (bookmaking), soldering (electronic circuit design), and pipetting (tissue engineering) is related to craft , low tech and DIY ethic.


The relation between tissue culture engineering and handmade bookmaking is implicit. Both rely on hand eye skill and coordination with hand tools to manipulate tissue- whether that be plant or animal-human. Alex Carell, nobel prize winner in Medicine(1912), illustrates this by the fact that he used to sew needlepoint to improve his skill at microsurgery and tissue culture. (I thank Ionat Zurr for bringing this fact to my attention). Most of my time working in the lab is spent improving my pipetting technique. The more precise and agile I can be with pipetting, the cleaner, precise the measurement is, and the more likely my cells will proliferate and grow.  This same concern is extended through the process of making electronic circuitry.

Electronic circuit boards require careful crafting. Soldering is a skill that is akin to sewing. The solder must be adhered to points of contact of capacitors, diodes and metal in order to connect the flow of electricity. Metaphorically, the solder is the thread that binds the movement of electricity. Depending on how well the solder is “threaded”. the capacitators and resistors will be able to direct the current of electrons.

Next week the workshop follows up on this idea and focuses on the process of soldering 2 light sensors, 2 motors, diodes, and capacitors on small circuit boards. The ‘robots’ are insectlike and can move quickly, depending on the light frequency. These will be combined with book forms developed in the previous workshop.  The challenge of the next workshop will be for participants to compile and solder the circuit board correctly so that it will move when it senses light. Then participants will be further challenged to integrate their handmade book with the circuit boards to create a kinetic sculpture of their own design.  More on this next week.