Dorkbot-Syd : At Electrofringe Festival 2008

We were proud to be involved with Electrofringe Festival for 2009. Electrofringe is a festival of electronic arts which runs annually in the city of Newcastle. It is possibly the only festival in Australia dedicated to electronic arts and runs in conjunction with This is Not Art and a bunch of other arts festivals. The program runs for 5 days and involves a combination of workshops, artist presentations, panels, screenings and performances. We are lucky to experience the local Australian community and also a range of artists that are shipped in from international locations. The festival presents a wonderful opportunity to learn and experience things that are being created in our field and also to network with like-minded people. This year was extremely enjoyable and very successful.

Our contributions this year were similar to 2008, with a talk about what Dorkbot is and what went on there this year, entitled “The Year in Dorkbot” on Friday afternoon, and two days of workshops on the Saturday and Sunday consisting of Aras Vaichas’ instrument designs, the WävRüta and the Nibbler which we called “Dorkshop”.

“The Year in Dorkbot”, hosted by Balint Seeber, a software engineer and current PhD candidate at UNSW, Julia Burns, an interactive audio/visual artist, and myself (Pia van Gelder). We waffled on about the fantastic people who presented this year in Dorkbot-Syd and how great Dorkbot is and how easy one can initiate such an event. People asked questions and we gave out flyers.

See photos here

“Dorkshop”, the workshop program which was held in the Tafe Worksheds from 10-2 on both Saturday and Sunday was a marvelous success. People turned up early and filled the 10 (free) spots pretty quickly.

dorkshop electrofringe 2008

On Saturday we made the Nibbler kit, which was featured last year at our electrofringe workshops. The Nibber is an audio-pattern generator and noise maker. See some videos here of the machine in action.


And on Sunday we made the WävRüta. The WävRüta is a microcontroller based audio effects unit. See videos of this baby f*&%’n some audio up here


Each workshop was based on a single kit designed by Aras Vaichas, an artist/engineer. On hand were two extra helpers Nick Wishart from the band Toydeath, professional circuit bender extroadinaire and teacher, who is also one of the creaters of the MIDI controlled pneumatic orchestra CeLL, and myself. People were given all necessary materials and technical support to build a whole electronic instrument in a single day. Participants ranged from electronics enthusiasts to total first-timers. It was wonderful to share the experience and enthusiasm with everyone. Every group walked out of the worksheds with a working instrument!

dorkshop electrofringe 2008adrianreece

I will say thank you from everyone involved in the workshop to Aras Vaichas for his dedication and time, as he designed the circuits from scratch, sourced all the materials wrote the in-depth handouts and trouble-shooted each instrument on the day! His expertise and love of electronics and patience are the reason the workshops have existed and now twenty replicants of his unique instruments happily perform for us today! I would like to also thank Nick Wishart, Balint Seeber and Julia Burns for their wonderful involvement and help and input in our programs.

If you are interested in the circuits we have uploaded the pdfs of the handouts distributed on the day, their are links to them in the top left-hand sidebar. You are also welcome to contact us if you have any enquiries! Their are more photos of Electrofringe and our events on Simone Schelker’s flickr pool

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