[NetBehaviour] Instrument-Builder Residency call
jakeharries at gmail.com
Tue Oct 6 16:50:50 CEST 2015
The Hugh Davies Project, in collaboration with Access Space, seeks an
instrument-builder to take up a two-week residency in Sheffield in early
The aim of the residency is to build an instrument, or instruments, in the
style of English experimental musician and instrument-builder Hugh Davies,
whose instruments involved the amplification of repurposed every-day
objects via contact microphones and magnetic pickups. Two of his
instruments—the Shozyg, and the Springboard—are briefly described below
Towards the end of the residency, the resident will deliver a workshop
exploring the instrument-building, amplification, and performance/playing
techniques used. We are also considering the possibility of an on-site
exhibition, in which an instrument or instruments could be displayed.
This residency is being hosted by Access Space, Sheffield
<http://access-space.org/>*) as part of an Arts and Humanities Research
Council funded project, ‘Hugh Davies: Electronic Music Innovator’, led by
Dr James Mooney (University of Leeds) in partnership with Dr Tim Boon (The
Science Museum, London). Some further information on the project can be
found here: *http://hughdaviesproject.wordpress.com
Hugh Davies (1943–2005) was an experimental musician, musicologist, and
composer, who became well-known in avant-garde and improvised music circles
for his unique and often playfully eccentric musical instruments,
self-built using every-day objects and found, re-purposed materials.
One of Davies’s instruments, called the Shozyg (built in 1968), consisted
of three fret-saw blades, a ball-bearing mounted furniture castor, and a
small metal spring, mounted inside the covers of a book. (The book happened
to be an encyclopaedia covering the alphabetic range of topics from SHO to
ZYG—hence the instrument’s name.) These objects were amplified via
contact microphones*, such that the tiny vibrations—otherwise practically
inaudible—could be heard via loudspeakers. It was designed to be played
with the fingers, or with the aid of accessories like screwdrivers, small
electric motors, toothpicks, etc. A brief video of Davies playing the
Shozyg can be seen here: *https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPT9A0IsGgs
>From 1970 onwards, Davies built a family of a dozen instruments that he
called Springboards. These comprised a number of springs—anything from one
to more than twenty—mounted on wooden blockboard in various different
arrangements, and amplified via *electromagnetic pickups* mounted in holes
chiselled out of the blockboard. On some of the Springboards the springs
were mounted in parallel, rather like the strings on a stringed instrument;
in others they were mounted in a ‘fan’ shape. In some of the later
Springboards, interesting effects were achieved by connecting springs
together in a ‘web’. The Springboards could be plucked, played with
accessories, or ‘bowed’ with a single hair from a violin bow.
Davies built over a hundred instruments in his life time. For some further
discussion of Davies’s instrument-building practice, its background, and
subsequent influence, see:
Refab Space is Access Space's DIY Fablab and Hackspace. As well as the
usual bench top workshop facilities including power tools, saws and drills,
Refab Space is also equipped with a 3D printer, precision laser cutter, CNC
router, and digital embroidery machine. The idea is that with just a few
pieces of technology, one can create a huge diversity physical objects made
from a vast number of materials, for an enormous number of different uses.
Designs can be created on a computer, although Davies’s own approach was
rather more lo-fi than that.
Artists using Refab Space are demonstrating how one can stretch and expand
the boundaries of what one can do with these technologies.
You will have experience of designing and constructing sound-producing
devices from every-day, found, re-purposed, or otherwise ‘ad hoc’
materials, for use in the performance of experimental, avant-garde, and/or
improvised music. Experience in the use (and perhaps construction) of
piezo-electric contact microphones and electro-magnetic pickups is also
Prior experience of running workshops with multiple participants, and/or
practically focussed teaching is also essential, as the residency will
involve running a workshop.
A background in electroacoustic music or experimental sound art would be
beneficial, and an open mind as to what kinds of sounds might be considered
‘musical’ is essential; see the video mentioned previously for an idea of
the kind of sound-world Davies’s instruments occupied.
*Fees and Expenses*
Self catering accommodation will be provided, in Sheffield, for the
resident, along with a flat fee of £1000. Travel to/from Sheffield at the
start/end of the residency will be covered up to a maximum of £400. A
separate materials budget of up to £1000 will also be provided.
*How to Apply*
Please send your application, using the template provided, by email to Jake
Harries - *jake at access-space.org <jake at access-space.org>* - with the
subject line “Instrument-Builder Residency”. The preferred format is a
fully electronic submission via email (e.g. PDF attachments), though if
necessary any physical materials (such as a DVD) can be addressed to:
Instrument-Builder Residency, Access Space Network Ltd, Unit 1, AVEC Bldg,
3-7 Sidney St, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 4RG, United Kingdom. (Be sure
to clearly indicate your name on any physical materials that you send.)
Your application should include:
An explanation of how you meet the criteria outlined in the Person
A portfolio of your previous instrument-building and other relevant
practice; this would preferably be online, but could be in another suitable
format such as DVD.
A brief outline the instrument(s) you would build during the residency,
including materials and equipment required; process; etc.
A brief outline of the workshop you would deliver, including what the
participants would do and the materials / equipment required.
*The deadline for applications is 5.00pm GMT on Friday 20 November 2015.*
Short listed candidates will be interviewed via Skype in the week of the
All applicants will be notified of the outcome by 21 December 2015. The
residency itself is expected to take place from 22nd February to 11th
March. (If necessary there may be some flexibility with dates.)
Informal enquiries can be addressed to Dr James Mooney –
*j.r.mooney at leeds.ac.uk
<j.r.mooney at leeds.ac.uk>*.
The Arts programme at Access Space is supported using public funding by
Arts Council England.
All the best
Jake Harries, Director of Arts and Innovation
www.access-space.org +44(0)114 249 5522
3-7 Sidney St, Sheffield, S1 4RG, UK
jake at access-space.org
The arts programme at Access Space is supported
using public funding by Arts Council England
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