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Circuit Bending

Circuit Bending

Yesterdays toys and discarded electronics are hacked, modified, and ‘bent’ (act of random short-circuiting) into low-voltage battery powered musical instruments. Experimental electronic artists look to re-appropriate lo-fi, antique digital items for manipulation during live performances. This class explores the theory and practice of circuit bending, while challenging the students to create their own circuit bent toys to use in sound art or performance. Students learn basic electronics skills while gaining practical experience in 'Do it Yourself' (DIY) culture.

Circuit Bending 2009 @ Science Discovery

Students of Sarah and Jane circuit bending during "The Art of Science" class at Science Discovery Denver 2009

Phase 1: Introduction and Theory

Participants will explore the theory and practice of:
- History of circuit bending and re-appropriation of discarded electronic mediums
- Technical aspects to circuit bending
            Soldering (wires and connections on electronic boards)
            Programming (chips and cards)
            Engineering (how will it connect and be transmitted)
- Resources for circuit bending
- Circuit bending culture (Artists and perspectives)
- Hacking your medium
            Shorting the circuits (almost)
            Adding 1/4' and 1/8" audio jacks


Jane w/ kids bending

Jane working with kids bending an electronic book strip. "The Art of Science" is a science discovery 2009 class which explores the art of circuit bending, while teaching practical skills in electronics. From thrift store to soldering, students learned the basics of circuits, and the complex concepts of circuit bending and experimental electronic art.


Phase 2: Practical Experience: Bending your childhood

Students will find discarded electronic items from their childhood, in which to circuit bend. Working with the guide of the instructor they will seek to hack and reprogram their electronic device for use in a live demonstration and performance

Also students will have an opportunity to meet an artist who uses circuit bent instruments to perform live.

Phase 3: Finishing Process and Perspectives

An evaluation and feedback session will be held so participants can have an opportunity to improve in the future with regards to technique, skill, or style. A final performance of students playing their circuit bent instruments will complete the class.

Art of Science "Circuit Bending" class @ Science Discovery Summer 2009


Instructor: Jane Crayton


  • Science Discovery Summer Class Program 2010
  • October 2009 Metro State College of Denver
  • October 2009 Stemapalooza
  • September 2009 Sustainable Living Fair
  • July 2009 SparkFun
  • June 2009 Science Discovery (Art of Science course part B)