Scratch Paper Sound Experiments

Over the past couple of weeks, Nicole and I have been preparing for a workshop for the upcoming Scratch Conference at MIT Media Lab around programming paper circuits. We started to experiment with these ideas a few months ago when we hosted a BAME meetup for a half-baked smorgasbord of programming provocations.


LEGO Robot Orchestra

Over the past couple of weeks, we've been trying some initial prototypes of LEGO linkages in the Tinkering Studio workshop. We built on our previous robot arm experiments in the learning studio, but as we continued to prepare the activity to be tested on the museum floor, we shifted the focus more toward sound making and music as a prompt for exploration.


Tinkering Social Club: Making Musical Instruments with Modesto

Explore the nature of sound by creating a handmade instrument! What exactly is sound? How do we get from a simple vibration to the complex and beautiful sounds that emanate from musical instruments? Together we will break down sound into its constituent components. Then we’ll build it back up using simple materials until we get something that . . . sounds kinda nice!


A Singing Bench on Market Street

A few weeks ago, the Exploratorium launched a new outdoor space on Market Street called a Living Innovation Zone (LIZ). The prototype space is an exciting way for us to put some of our favorite exhibits out in the middle of downtown San Francisco and share them with the thousands of people who walk by the plaza every day. One of the exhibits that we thought would be a great addition to the space was the musical bench which creates a melody based on the resistance generated when two people hold hands.


Tinkering Moment of Zen: Improvising at Oscylinderscope

Two visitors busted out a guitar in the Tinkering Studio, and started improvising a tune using the string of Norman Tuck's exhibit Oscylinderscope as a base. I love the fact that the atmosphere in the Tinkering Studio is friendly and comfortable enough that they did not even question whether this was ok to do or not. Also, talk about a "tinkerable" exhibit!


Drawdio After Dark

Last night at After Dark: Music And Creativity we set up some experiments with music created by electrical resistance. One of our favorite iterations of this idea is Drawdio made by former artist-in-residence Jay Silver from the MIT media lab.


Tinkering Concert Series: Wood

Last week we hosted the second ever concert series in the Tinkering Studio. The metal concert from a few months ago was such a hit, we decided that we would have to hold another concert honoring the end of our explorations of wood as a material. Exploratorium staff and toothpick artist Scott Weaver showed off homemade instruments and other wood musical pieces that they have collected from all over the world. Each one shared a bit about their instruments and gave a quick performance.


"prepared piano" sound

Just came across this interview with Hauschka - a German artist which I love. He plays "prepared" piano — a piano that has been modified by hardware additions. For a typical piece, he makes more than 20 adjustments to the innards of a grand piano using duct tape, felt, cellophane, bottle caps, wedges, aluminum foil, sheets of paper. I was reminded of our Metal Music and The Sound of Marbles.


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