Eastern Bloc

Workshops 2014-2015

Circuit Bending

Workshop given by Lisa Gamble
In collaboration with Arsenal
8 September 2015, 6pm - 9pm
Cost: $35
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca

Eastern Bloc Lab offers this one-day workshop in collaboration with Arsenal.

Participants will discuss the issues of electronic recycling in a fun way.
Participants will be invited to make their own musical instruments from the electronic circuits of used toys. Eastern Bloc will provide the material, but participants are asked to bring their own toys to bend! The workshop will take place at l'Arsenal, 2020 rue William, Montreal, QC.

Fashion Robot workshop

In the context of the Mode & Design festival
Workshop given by Pierre Guiot-Guillain
22 August 2015, 2pm - 5:30pm
Quartier des spectacles, scène M.A.D
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca

Workshop for children 5-8 years old (all ages welcome)
Come make and dress up your own robot!

Following up on Eastern Bloc’s Pixel Party, this workshop will take place over a few hours on August 22nd during the Fashion & Design Festival. Fashion Robots will invite children to create small and simple robots in a DIY spirit. Children will be shown how to assemble their robots and dress them up to make them fashionable! The workshop will be followed by a short dance party to invite children and parents to dance with these small electronic creatures.

The Mode & Design festival website: www.festivalmodedesign.com


4 part series of workshops given by Erin Gee
22 July, 29 July, 5 August, 12 August, 6pm — 10pm
Prices: $225 regular / $115 reduced (members, students, prof. artists with eligibility to Emploi-Quebec program)
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca
N.B.: 15 participants max

Max/MSP: Sound Moves Image
Participants of this course will be given an introductory-level lesson in how to use basic Max/MSP objects to manipulate the playback of any video on their computer. Working from basic input devices (such as the internal microphones already on board a computer), participants will be given pre-made, functioning video playback patches as a playground for the basic functioning of Max/MSP. Through active experimentation, participants will explore basic concepts of Max/MSP that will help them use sound to stop, start, advance, rewind, and loop any video file they like.

Arduino Refresher Course
A quick refresher on how to load sketches on the Arduino will be followed by a series of short demonstrations of coding skills that are useful to intermediate coders - topics on timing such as how to user timers, interrupts, and how to create the behavior of a delay without actually using a delay will be explored, as well as introductions to strings refresher on using comments and functions to keep all your code straight. This will be useful for people using constant streams of sensor-based information in their projects, and also some advice about how to activate your installation during certain times of the day or invoke shutdowns automatically when certain conditions are met.

Intro to Sensors with Arduino
A crash course in the knowledge needed to confidently select the right sensors for manipulating your Arduino project. This course won't feature heavy programming skills, but instead will take advantage of pre-existing example sketches as the instructor introduces you to the Arduino environment. The bulk of this class will focus on explaining basic electrical circuitry, basic electronic components, categorizing and demonstrating some uses of the most common sensors (i.e. movement sensors, light sensors, proximity sensors, infrared, accelerometer, temperature sensing, heartbeat sensors), and offering strategies for reading data sheets when looking to purchase sensors of your own for manipulating data in Max/MSP. Students will be able to use sensors in the workshop to change lights and sound, offering a perfect primer for the upcoming sensor input and Max/MSP workshop.

Physical Computing with Max/MSP and Arduino
In this final installation of a 3-part series, Erin Gee will introduce you to various software objects and strategies for data management relevant to getting sensor data into the Max/MSP programming environment. Never worry about having to download a third-party patch that marries Max and Arduino again! Erin will teach you the nuts and bolts of how Serial data is sent between the two environments, and how to use sensor data to activate, move, or distort sound and video. Students should have at least a beginner knowledge of Max/MSP and Arduino, or have attended the other two courses. During this workshop participants will have the chance to use basic sensors on-hand to manipulate video, however if working in sound, this kind of hacking is most welcome.

Level required: basic understanding of Arduino language. Students should come with Max/MSP and Arduino already installed on their laptops before the workshop. Make sure to download Max/MSP, and NOT Max/MSP Runtime! Max 7 is to be avoided, if possible, because there are known video glitches with PC users in the 64-bit version, and the interface is a bit challenging for beginners. Students should be able to supply their own Arduino with USB cable. Arduinos can be purchased through eastern Bloc. Participants are asked to bring a video file that they would like to manipulate. These could be part of a project they are working on, a home movie, or anything they have available on their computer. Best format for this movie is .mov with a non-lossy codec such as Apple Intermediate Codec.

Erin Gee is a sound and performance artist who explores digital culture through the metaphor of human voices in electronic bodies. Working in video, performance, robotics and audio art, Gee's work has been presented most recently at Cirque du Soleil International Headquarters, Nuit Blanche Calgary, and Maison des Arts du Laval. She was invited by new media artist Stelarc to participate in a residency at Marcs Institute, University of Western Sydney (2011) to create and perform her opera for mobile robotics, Orpheux Larynx. Her work has been featured in VICE, Scientific American, and National Post.



Workshop given by Guillaume Vallée & Rob Feulner
11 July, 11am - 6pm
Admission fees : $40 regular / $25 reduced
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca
Warning! max 10 participants

This workshop will cover a brief history of video art related to analog video and glitch techniques, leading to a short overview of local analog artists. The artists will present their own artistic practical process. Those attending will be able to acquire knowledge on analog art and the multiple disciplines related to the subject (video, performance, and hybrid forms.) Participants will be able to explore their own process using found footage, VCRs, and analog video mixers and circuit bent machines.

This hands-on workshop is open to those will all artistic backgrounds and previous experience.

Rob Feulner
Rob Feulner is a visual artist hailing from Montreal, Quebec. Armed with a stack of VCRs, circuit-bent machinery, and a disregard for electrical shocks, Rob Feulner dives wrist-deep into open machinery to manipulate tape heads and moving parts to create a landscape of video tracking errors and glitches. His video art label Bleu Nuit Video curates underrepresented like-minded artists through DVD and VHS home releases.

Guillaume Vallée
Graduated from Concordia University with a MFA in Studio Arts and now a PhD candidate at UQAM, Guillaume Vallée is interested in radical forms of moving images in analogue forms as a way of considering the direct interaction between different mediums and the exploration of materiality within the creative process.


Workshop given by Birch Cooper (MSHR)
Saturday June 27, 10am - 5pm
Price : $60 regular / $30 members
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca

In this full-day workshop, taught by Birch Cooper of MSHR, participants will learn how to build a simple synthesizer based on a CMOS NAND Gate Schmitt Trigger Chip and explore various ways in which the user can control its pitch, volume and timbre including human contact and light. This circuit, which Cooper named the "Sunbox", is capable of producing much more sonic variation than a basic oscillator, but still easy to build. The workshop will go into the technical and conceptual details of how the circuit works, encourage student's exploration in circuit building and interface design. By the end of the workshop, each participant will have built a functioning, versatile circuit, which could be integrated into a synth box.

Participants are expected to have basic soldering and circuit-building skills. The level of the workshop will be beginner to intermediate to allow for a greater exploration of the technical concepts behind this particular circuit and other similar projects created by Cooper and MSHR. Participants are also highly encouraged to bring their own battery-powered amplifier so as to heighten the listening process, which will be integral to the workshop. Some amps will be made available, but participants are invited to bring their own small "practice" or battery powered amplifier to ensure that they will be able to listen to their circuit as they build it.

Birch Cooper is an artist, electronic musician, and electronic instrument builder from Portland, Oregon. His work is fundamentally interdisciplinary and often involves the combination of live electronics, sculpture, performance and interactivity, with an emphasis on interface and transcendental experience. His work centers around creative collaboration and he is a founding member of the art collectives MSHR, Oregon Painting Society, as well as many "strictly" music groups. Cooper currently performs music under his own name and MSHR, using electronic musical systems of his own design.



Workshop given by Martin Howse
24 May, 10am–5pm
Fee: $60 regular / $40 student
Part of Sight & Sound 2015

Earth Coding Workshop, a workshop by Martin Howse, seeks to explore the relationship between contemporary technology and the Earth, from which one might conceive a new form of land art. Participants will learn, among other things, how to measure the telluric currents crossing the Earth and make them audible and visible, as well as to build an Earth radio antenna.

Event website: www.sightandsoundfestival.ca
Artist website: www.1010.co.uk


Workshop given by Émilie Mouchous
23 May, 1pm–5pm
Fee: $40 regular / $30 student
Part of Sight & Sound 2015

ICPO (Code Practice Oscillator) has long been used to learn Morse code. The electronic workshop Lost poetics of the CPO consists in making a portable electronic instrument inspired by these tools to practice this endangered language, thus re-actualizing a past mode of communication and revealing its potential for electronic and artistic creation. Ideas to be discussed include the notions of becoming transmitter and receiver, the poetic aspect of lost or untranslatable messages, and long-distance communication as a limit to sound improvisation.

Event website: www.sightandsoundfestival.ca
Artist website: www.gmackrr.ca


Workshop given by Annie Wan
Saturday April 25, 1pm - 6pm
Price : 40$ regular / 30$ members
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca

Cosmic Gun, the device art, is an amateur, low-cost astronomy project that enables the general public to be connected momentarily with cosmic rays coming from outside the Solar System. The metaphor of contacting cosmic rays is far more than literally interpreted, the poetics of this project built upon the notion that ‘The Solar System belongs to everyone on this planet, any authorities aim for taking this fundamental rights away is brutally attacking our beliefs on human rights as a global citizen.’

The workshop will introduce different cosmic rays detectors inventions around the globe and hands-on technical skills on building DIY cosmic rays detectors. At the end of the workshop, participants will finish building their own custom made cosmic rays detectors.

This workshop project is supported by the Arts Development Fund of the Home Affairs Bureau, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Cosmic Gun was originally commissioned by New Vision Arts Festival 2014, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

URL: http://wheresthechicken.org/slimboyfatboyslim/?p=499

Video: https://vimeo.com/120231890

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cosmic-Gun/625318227580233


Workshop given by Johnny Forever & Gambletron
Saturday March 14, 1pm - 5pm
Price : suggested contribution $10
In collaboration with Artspace, Peterborough, ON
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca

Narcissus Redeemed is a workshop for performance and media artists, selfie queens, vloggers, and other generators of virtual selves. Visual artist Johnny Forever Nawracaj and sound artist Gambletron team up to facilitate a four hour group exploration Internet-based performance. The workshop will take place in two cities simultaneously, Montreal and at Artspace in Peterborough with a live stream connecting participants visually and audibly across the Internet. An introduction to the history of web-based performance art and its many contemporary permutations will lead the two groups into an interactive, intercity curatorial and performative collaboration. Each group will collaborate to create content for live projection into the gallery space of the other. The groups will take turns modifying one another's work as they explore the curatorial potential of the layered real and virtual spaces. Infinite feedback loops, exquisite corpse additive collaborations, and IRL interactions with projected figures are some of the ways participants will engage in and intervene with one another's virtual spaces. Pre-recorded performances created by participants and artists they admire may also be used to fill each gallery space with internet depths.

Participants should come prepared with solo or group performance ideas, pieces of texts to recite, props and costumes, dance moves, or simply their curiosity.

No prior experience necessary.

Johnny Forever's website:

Gambletron's website:

Artspace's website:


Workshop series given in 8 sessions by Ismail Negm
Every Tuesday, 17 February - 7 April, 7pm - 10pm
Price : $250 regular / $125 reduced (members, students) / $250 (professional artists with reimbursement from RAAV)
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca

No matter what your field of interest, there's a good chance learning to code in Python will bring you valuable new forms of expression. Visual arts? Use the Blender API to generate 3D art programatically or PyProcessing to create generative and dynamic 2D. Musical composition? Analyse with Music 21 or use the Mingus library as a foundation for your compositions and generative works. Sound design? Use Pyo for signal processing. Robotics? Use Pyro to control and give them vision or use the Python that comes preinstalled on Raspberry-Pi to build your own inventions. Machine learning, mathematics, embedded systems, web development? There are thousands of libraries and innumerable ways in which you can use Python programming to realize your projects.

The purpose of this course is to give beginners in Python and programming a solid foundation on which specialization can be built. The material you will learn will apply to any use you make of Python in the future and is the entry point for Eastern Bloc's more advanced Python specialization courses and workshops to be offered in the future.

Here is a brief outline of the topics that will be covered:

Session 0 - Objects and Object Oriented Programming
Session 1 - Python Standard Library Object Types and their Methods
Session 2 - Generators and Comprehensions
Session 3 - Control structures
Session 4 - Defining Functions and Methods
Session 5 - Functional Programming vs OO Programming
Session 6 - Modules and Packages
Session 7 - User Interactio

Python is open-source and free to use, as are all the tools we will be using in our programming environment. All you will need to bring with you for this course is a laptop.

Programming Fundamentals with Arduino

Workshop series given by Angeleau Gabereau
24, 31 January, 7, 14 February, 12pm-6pm
Price : $300 regular / $150 members, students, professional artists
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca

In this 4 part series, Angela Gabereau will teach the basic fundamentals of computer programming using the popular controller Arduino, ranging from binary mathematics to object-oriented programming. The participants will learn some basic electronics too. Participants will use Processing, an open source programming language and integrated development environment (IDE) in conjunction with Arduino.


"Arduino is a tool for making computers that can sense and control more of the physical world than your desktop computer. It's an open-source physical computing platform based on a simple microcontroller board, and a development environment for writing software for the board.Arduino can be used to develop interactive objects, taking inputs from a variety of switches or sensors, and controlling a variety of lights, motors, and other physical outputs. Arduino projects can be stand-alone, or they can communicate with software running on your computer (e.g. Flash, Processing, MaxMSP.) The boards can be assembled by hand or purchased preassembled; the open-source IDE can be downloaded for free."



Arduino is known for making electronics approachable for beginners. It is also a great way to learn to program. Blinking LEDs is always fun, so we will use them to demonstrate the core concepts of computer program. There are more than one way to blink an LED!

No prior knowledge necessary. Included in the cost of the workshop is the purchase of an Arduino. Participants must bring their own computer. Please contact lab@easternbloc.ca to order an Arduino.

Angela Gabereau is a Montreal-based software developer and artist who works in craft, code and electronics. She holds a joint degree in Computer Science and Fine Arts from Concordia University, where she worked for four years as a research assistant at Obx Labs at Hexagram Concordia, Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technologies. She has spent the last few years sharpening her software architecture chops in various Montreal start-ups, and is currently employed at Fabule Fabrications, an open hardware start-up making expressive devices for the home.


3D Modelling for printing

Workshop given by Santiago Leal
Sunday November 30th, 1pm-5pm
Price: $25 regular / $21.25 members
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca
Warning! max 12 participants

As part of the Medellin-Montreal residency exchange, Eastern Bloc's Colombian artist in residence, Santiago Leal will present the many ways to build 3D models for printing purposes. The workshop will focus on how to custom-make small pieces or to duplicate pieces that have been damaged or to be recreated. The participants will be introduced to the basics of Blender, Maya, Netfabb, Autocad, Meshlab, and Zbrush softwares to learn how to create, fix and prepare models ready for print. Santiago will walk the participants through the basics and answer any question they may have. We will also review the different techniques that exist on 3D printing or additive manufacturing process.


IceStream: Connecting Remote Audio Streams

Workshop given by APO33 (Jenny Picket and Julien Ottavi)
11 November, 6pm–9pm
Maximimum number of participants: 15
Free but please rsvp: rsvp@htmlles.net

APO33 invites you to explore networked audio tools and live streaming via the software that they have developed, IceStream. IceStream is an open-source audio streaming software. IT allows you to connect to remote audio streams and to circulate them on the web, as well as in performance and exhibition spaces. GIASO, on the program for this new edition of Htmlles festival’s ZERO FUTURE, is an example of networked audio performance using IceStream (www.lagaterie.org/evenement.html?ev=54).

It is now possible to do live mixing and transmit the result in real-time from any place, as well as to any place, connected. It allows for the reception and transmission of sound instantaneously with other artists in faraway locations, to compose, and also to play, as well as stream content, or simply to mix different content in realtime, stream a DJ web radio…Entirely open source, it responds to a fundamental need in web streaming for collective artistic practices, in both performance and installation situations.

In this workshop, you will learn how to install IceStream on a Linux system, followed by how to take it into you own hands in order to benefit from all of the software’s possible uses. Please bring your computer.


APO33 is an association managed by professional artists who privilege intermedia practices: at a crossroads between experimental arts, sonic arts, digital arts, social and theoretical creativity. APO33 proposes a development of artistic research in the form of collaborations, new forms of writing and creative approaches and invites artists, theorists, researchers and the public to experiment through exhibitions, live evening events, concerts, performances, meetings and workshops.



Workshop given by Peter Van Haaften
Saturday, November 22, 2014, noon-5pm
Price: $25 regular / $21.25 members
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca
Warning! max 12 participants

Participants who have confirmed their attendance will receive a message with more information regarding the material requirements.

Composers have experimented with formal processes in music for more than 2500 years, beginning first with Pythagoras. Modern advancements in statistical analysis, artificial intelligence, and computer processing have together led to increased accessibility and interest in the diverse field of algorithmic composition.

Using the free Pure Data language, we will begin by learning the fundamental concepts of data-flow programming, and move on quickly to create real-time streams of data, which can be routed via MIDI to control virtual or external instruments. We will explore together a few practical algorithms implemented in famous works by composers Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, and John Cage during the mid-20th century.

Peter van Haaften is a composer and sound artist currently located in Montréal, Québec. His compositions explore themes of social transformation, the necessary shifting of morals for survival in a post-modern world, and the increasing role that technology will play in this regard.

His work looks to examine how art and technology can work together to effect this kind of positive change, through diverse fields including algorithmic composition, live performance, radio art, and fixed media for speakers.

Electrochemical Improvisation:
Experiments with electronics, sound, and crystallization

Workshop given by Erin Sexton
Saturday, October 18, 2014, noon-6pm
Price: $40/$34 members
To reserve your place, please email: lab@easternbloc.ca
Warning! max 10 participants
Equipment is provided.

Matter and energy are changing states continually, extending through multiple dimensions that we are just discovering how to perceive. By mixing solid-state electronics with fluid open systems we can explore emergent sonic phenomena, amplifying our experience of the everyday. This workshop will give a brief introduction to basic electrochemistry and crystallization, followed by experimentation with tactile electronics and improvised sound.

We will construct simple oscillator circuits on breadboards and use them to sonify a crystal solution with temperature and electrolysis probes. Open wire contacts allow for the body to enter the circuit, creating bio-physical feedback and altering the sound. As the signal transforms the molecular structure of the solution, atoms self-organize and crystal lattices begin to form.

The chemistry of electrolysis creates bubbles as electrified copper wires split oxygen and hydrogen atoms off of molecules. Copper ions are sent into the solution, bonding with sulphur atoms to create traces of blue copper sulphate. A single LED lights the process clearly and strobes with the sound. Dry ice is added to lower the temperature of the solution, also smoking, bubbling, and changing the pitch of the oscillator.

Sound improvisation techniques will be introduced, and after some time experimenting, Erin Sexton will lead the participants in a group improvisation. The solutions can be taken home and will continue to crystallize, with the experience of their sounds embedded within.