For 6 September

Read Menkman, “Glitch Studies Manifesto ” (you can find the reading on this website) or click here.

Assignment: For 11 September

Take one of your own photos and make at least three glitched versions using a Hex Editor. Choose the best three to present to the class.

Take one of your own photos and make at least three glitched versions using Audacity (remember to first convert the file to a .bmp if it is not already). Choose the best three to present to the class.



Take notes about what you did for each process and be prepared to discuss in class.

For Mac computers you can download Hex Fiend here, and Audacity here.

For PC’s check your operating system version and look here for a hex editor and here for Audacity.


Read Nicolas Collins Chapters 1-8 and 10


How to glitch with a hex editor:

open your Hex editor (these instructions are specific to Hex Fiend but if you are using a PC the instructions should be very similar)

go to File/Open File

go to Edit/Mode/Overwrite Mode (if it is not already in this mode)

go to Edit/Find/Find (this will open a search bar in the top of the Hex Fiend editor)

with your cursor, go into the body of the code below and select a section. hint: make sure that you are not editing any of the header (look in the right column of data, where the “gibberish” looks more regular –that should be far enough into the body of the file to not irreparably damage it.)

in the find window, type in a value to find and then below the find window, type in a value with which to replace it. hint: experiment with different searches and combinations of searches until you find a way of searching that you like, and that produces results that you like. And, if you are really, really, really into base 16 numbers, check out this tutorial:

repeat this action many times throughout the file, or try to “replace all”

when satisfied (or exhausted) go to File/Save As and save your file somewhere you can find it

open your file and see if you like it.


How to glitch with Audacity Glitch BMP with Audacity


How to convert .jpg to .bmp

One simple way is to find a computer with Photoshop on it. Open your .jpg in Photoshop then Save As a .bmp. (all the computers in our class room have photoshop and most computers in the library have photoshop.) File/Save As; in the window that opens, under format select BMP then hit save.


you can search “convert jpg to bmp” in your favorite search engine (perhaps you like Bing, or Netscape (professor laughs at his own joke)) for online file converters. I don’t like using these—therefore I am not going to recommend a particular one—but they can work in a pinch.

Assignment For Tuesday 18 September

Build one contact mic using the technique I demonstrated in class. Be prepared to show me your working contact mic in class on Tuesday.

All of the parts and tools you need to build your contact mic are now in the IM lab (029). On Sunday, we will have batteries for the small amplifiers so you can test your mics.

Add a 1/4″ plug (the type I showed you in class) in order to receive full points for this assignment.

Good luck!

Assignment For Thursday 20 September

Using a solderless breadboard, recreate the condenser microphone circuit that I demonstrated how to build in class on Tuesday. I will check to see if it is working in class (for points). And make sure you clean up after yourself in the lab!

Assignment for Tuesday 25 September

Using a solderless breadboard, recreate the cracklebox circuit that I demonstrated for you in last class. Look on the schematics page for the circuit diagram. You will also find there a photo of the breadboarded circuit and the pinout diagram for the LM386-3 IC.

ALSO for Tuesday, please bring in an enclosure that you think you would like to place your working circuit inside. When choosing your enclosure, please also consider the usability of the device that you are designing and how you want people to interact with/use it. And, as we discussed in class, you may want to add caontact points (to which you wire your “loose wires) to have a more “neat” looking interface. That said, loose wires are fine. It’s all in how you want the interface to work.

Here are some images and video of sample projects:

A chocolate box, a puppet, a monster box, a good ol’ sandwich box and a plastic pencil case + Craclkebox Parade!



Keep working on your crackleboxes


READ Collins Chapter 11 and Chapter 14


READ Electronics Monk Chapter 2 (link to chapter is on our additional readings page). One note about this chapter: it is geared toward an Arduino type kit, but once you get past the first page of the reading, the components are all relevant to us.


As part of your participation grade, I may randomly ask a question of you about the readings, so be ready. 🙂




Take a look at our schematics page. Find the Atari Punk Console (APC) schematic read through it and the notes I have left for you. Pull all the parts together you will need to begin breadboarding and come to class prepared to breadboard this circuit in class. We will talk about the APC on Tuesday and you will have time to work on the project in class.

ALSO on the schematics page, take a look at the Audio Output Transformer amplifier circuit and pull together the parts for this circuit (don’t worry if you are not sure which component is the audio output transformer on our parts cart — I will point these out to you in class and show you how to orient them in the circuit).

AND on our additional readings page, find the Engineer’s Mini-Notebook. Take a look through it to get a sense of what all the 555/556 timer chip is capable of. The version of the circuit we are making (the APC) is called the stepped-tone generator in this Forest Mims classic.

AND FINALLY be prepared to tell me who Hans Camenzind and Forest Mims are. It might be a gameshow moment!


For the midterm assignment you will present the following:

  1. One working and cleverly enclosed Atari Punk Console circuit. DO NOT use the speaker portion of the schematic for this project. Please use the 1/4″ jack mono output option instead.
  2. One working and cleverly enclosed Audio Output Transformer/Amplifier circuit, again with a 1/4″ mono jack output (into which you will plug a contact microphone for demonstration as a functioning (and noiseless) speaker).
  3. AND, documentation of all of your major projects to date. Specifically 3-4 images and one short video (no more than 30 seconds) of each of the following projects: Cracklebox, Atari Punk Console, Audio Output Transformer/Amp. Please send these to me as attachments to email, or via Wetransfer.

You will be graded as follows:

  1. Does the circuit work properly? (see the Collins Lab video, the one I showed in class, to understand how basically the circuit should sound)
  2. Does your enclosure function well for the type of circuit that it encloses in other words, does the design seem to be well-thought through? How does it look and function together? Usability?
  3. Did you modify the basics? To what end?

Tuesday’s class will be an open work session and Thursday we will do the critique.

Let me know if you have questions!



Read Collins Chapters 15-19. We will discuss the highlights and begin breadboarding variations of the circuits found in chapter 18.


Using a solderless breadboard: Make a version of the circuit from the Collins book like the one we made today in class. Experiment with various types of capacitors and various types of resistors. Make the circuit using at least three of the inverters from the chip and decide to use either resistors or diodes at the output stage.
Also in class on Thursday we will look more closely at how to draw the circuit diagram.
As explained in class on 1 Nov, please hand in, in class, 2 drawings of the circuit you are currently breadboarding and testing.
One drawing will be using the more representative style. Hint: this is where you draw the chip, the components either as they look, or in combination with schematic symbols — just be consistent — use one style or the other. In other words, if you choose to use a resistor or capacitor symbol, vs drawing a likeness of the component, then stick with that in this drawing.
The second drawing should be the pure schematic version of your circuit. It is OK to copy from Nic’s book (the inverter symbol examples) — I want you to get used to seeing and drawing these types of schematics. Remember, you are drawing the version that you breadboarded, so it may be a combination of elements of the schematics in Nic’s book.
MAKE SURE YOU LABEL YOUR COMPONENTS IN YOUR DRAWINGS! If you draw a chip or an inverter and I don’t know which kind of chip specifically you are drawing (or any capacitor, resistor or any other component value), then I would not be able to use the drawing to recreate your circuit. You are fledgling DIY gurus who share your work (jah?) — your audience wants to know.
Read Collins Chapters 19-20.
Breadboard one circuit from Collins Chapter 20. Preferred circuits to breadboard: any duplication or variation of the circuits on pp. 156-158 or the circuits on pp. 161-162. Make two drawings (in the same manner as before) of the circuit you end up breadboarding to hand in.
And, as a reminder (as was decided in class) we will do a pre-final-critique critique in class on 4 December. I will be posting the final assignment within the next few days so that you may begin working in earnest on those projects.
Your final projects will consist of 2 separate projects.
Project 1: “The Dream Oscillator.”
The dream oscillator is your best version of an oscillator circuit. It may be a well-designed and fabricated redo of the cracklebox, the APC,  or any of the oscillator circuits from Collins chapter 18 or 20 (or possibly chapter 23). Use everything you’ve learned about various types of resistors to choose carefully the type of interface you’d like to make/use. BreadboardBreadboardBreadboardExperimentExperimentExperiment until you have the combination of elements that you desire.
Also, this oscillator should include most, if not all, of the following elements:
LEDs that indicate battery on and/or an LED that pulses with the output frequency
Power Switch
Easily accessible battery compartment
 1/4 Output jack
capacitance switching
momentary switches that interrupt the circuit or change it in some way
It should function well and be relatively noise free (no nasty ground short noises).
Project 2: “A or B”
Make a project that somehow interacts with your Dream Oscillator: perhaps a voltage driven light show box that operates alongside it. Or maybe make a sequencer that you can run your Dream Oscillator into or that drives your oscillator.
Make a totally stand-alone project of mainly analog sound or light design.  (If you want to go the arduino or coding route, let’s talk — the final product must land squarely within the material vocabulary we have been developing). It can take the form of an object, an installation, or a performance. If a performance, there must be an object developed for it which the performance centers around.
1. On the day of your critique, you will be required to show a short powerpoint presentation (5 minutes) and stand up in front of the class and present both of your projects, the documentation of process, drawings, design and appropriate photos/video of the work as well as demonstrate the working objects.
 2. minimum of three photos of each project
3. 30 second video of each project
4. the power point presentation
5. accompanying text from the presentation (Do not improvise your presentation! Write a text that organizes your process, how it went, how you solved various problems that you encountered, how the design/project changed over time, why it changed, etc. etc.)
Please provide all of the above elements to me separately.
Your entire critique period is 10 minutes (5 for your presentation and then 5 for critique). I will be timing this so that we stay on schedule.
To present on Tuesday 11 Dec:
To present on Thursday 13 Dec:
20 NOVEMBER — Working breadboarded version of Project 1 + a drawing of the design for the enclosure
29 NOVEMBER — Working breadboarded version of Project 2 + a drawing of the design for the enclosure/install/performance
Please bring your best project/s to room 006 (the Arts Center) between 5:30-6:00pm (or earlier if you can). We will have a table set for us where you can display and play your projects. Bring speakers and batteries.
The Circuit Breakers! performance will go as follows and is in 2 parts:
Part 1 — Procession
Everyone gather in the IM lab no later than 7:45pm with the project that you intend to play for the procession (so it should be a portable oscillator). Once everyone is ready (no later than 7:55pm) we will slowly walk in two groups to room 006 playing our oscillators on the way there. Once we arrive, we will play our boxes until 8pm. Craig will say some words about the showcase/IM/etc. and introduce the performance part of the evening. While he is doing this we will take our positions for the performance (gathering around the table which we will have set for the performance beforehand). He will intro us and I will say a few words about our class, what we do, and what we are about to do.
Part 2 — BleepBleepBloop
We perform this piece. As I mentioned before, everyone will plug in to the mixers we will have set for the piece. It begins with a low-drone generated by a dual oscillator that I will be providing. We start all together (I will bring all of your volumes up from the mixer) making the craziest noise you can make. After a time, I will lower everyone’s volume and bring pairs of oscillators back up to volume. When it is your turn, you will try to make your oscillator sound as close to the drone as you can then leave it alone. (Don’t worry, I will point to you when it is your turn to make noise.) After about 30 seconds or so, I pull the volume down of the pair (but leave your oscillator set where you found the drone), and then I bring up the next pair. Once everyone has gone, I bring everyone back in together  — the orchestra should be “in tune” at that point. We then listen to this for as long as I think the room can take it, then I kill the whole thing suddenly. The whole piece takes about 8 or so minutes.

Let me know!

Good luck!