The following article was published in N-SPHERE July 2011 issue.


The 20th century was a turning point in the expansion of all things tek, from the now-common LED to the nano-dimensional transistor. The waves produced by the development of electronics reverberated into all life facets, including music, and making way to analog circuitry as a means to produce sound. From the very first electronic pieces of music, to the electro-industrial industry of today, oscillators produce waves, waves turn into sound, and all at the touch of a button.

This tiny incursion into analog devices could either wake in you the love for the mighty electron, or sent you on a path to prick your fingers with a paperclip.

Author’s note | While the schematic for the analog sound producing circuit is accurate, we advise caution in building it at home. The second apparatus is meant to be a mock-up miniature installation of the real circuit, in memory of all the fathers of today’s field of electronics and the new ways they brought into making art.


Get stuff from the local electronic components store :: two resistors :: four capacitors :: one transistor :: one small audio transformer :: one push button switch :: one speaker :: one battery/power source :: some wires. Get your hands on a soldering iron. Get your hands on a schematic: the schematic used in this article has been developed by Andy Collinson; the circuit is a modified hartley oscillator with a couple of extra components included; see above.


Get stuff from the local office supply store :: a few paperclips :: 2.5m of internet cable. Buy chewing gum. And get some pliers with a wire cutter. Get your hands on some tequila: ‘cos if you’re going to start this, you might not want to think clearly.


Heat up the soldering iron. Glue the components together, preferably without glueing your fingers, too. In case a soldering iron is impossible to get, you can also carefully connect the wires and press the knots with pliers. It is usually customary to build such circuitry on a circuit board, but unless you are an electronics buff, this work is most times tedious, as it is very easy to make mistakes. The schematic should be carefully followed. During soldering, first melt the end of one connector, and afterwards bring closer the other wire or connector and hold it in the melted metal drop that has previously formed. Do so hastily, as wires as thin as the ones used in this presentation harden easily. Press the button to make noise. This circuit will reproduce the sounds of a chirping canary.


Start chewing, to take away the tequila smell. Start by removing the first layer of coating from the internet cable. This should be done without cutting the cable, as you will need a long stretch of it. Internet cable usually has high malleability, but is also quick to break off. Now, sculpting with wires is pretty difficult, as they won’t stay in place unless on a stand and while securing an end, the other might decide to take a stroll. At this point, we recommend another shot of tequila. The usual internet cable has four colours of wiring inside, each of them comprised two-wire spirals. It should be easier to work with a spiral instead of a single wire, as it is a bit harder to break, while remaining malleable enough to stretch and fold by hand. Start at one end of the schematic and make your way around it without cutting the wire; imagine you are sowing something, but without the cloth. Yes, it is time to get another shot. Use some paperclips to mark the components’ places (the miniature installation presented here lacks some components, but since art is a representation of various entities, it makes no difference), so you can afterwards wrap different coloured wires around them for aesthetic effect. Enough with the shots already. Is half the bottle gone? You are ready for the next step. Run around the room making beep-beep noises while holding the installation up high. Or just take some pictures of it, like we did.


Skip ahead and you can get a whole stage setup. And you know you are a genius.


Skip ahead and you might make it into a museum. And you know you are a genius.



The Spheres Virtual Art Gallery and the N-Sphere Art Magazine present:


In a world bound by change, how is art evolving? Is it possible to create emotion out of everyday items? Build your own microinstallation using everyday items. Take a picture and send it to the gallery address. In December, we will feature the best works in a special showcase. Entering the contest :: sign up to this endeavour by sending a message to the gallery address. Themes :: every participant needs to enter a theme when entering the contest. This theme will be approved by our editorial staff. Deadlines :: the deadline for entering the cotest is September 25th, 2011. The deadline for submitting the artwork is October 25th, 2011. Eligibility :: all participants must be of legal age in their country of residence.

Details on the Spheres website ::

text & artwork by Vel Thora

Full article here.