Eastern Bloc

Workshops 2015-2016

Advanced Eurorack DIY: Build a Mutable-Instruments Braids Macro-Oscillator

Workshop given by Ismail Negm
3 September 2016, 10am - 6pm
Fee: $350 regular / $275 reduced
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca

MUTABLE-INSTRUMENTS releases both open hardware and source for its modules with the intention of encouraging collaboration and contributions from the hardware and software hacker community. This advanced workshop is aimed at introducing this platform to both kinds of hackers (and artists and makers alike) through the building of a Braids Macro-Oscillator.

The workshop will cover the following topics:
- Cloning the github repository
- Going from Eagle CAD files to PCB order
- Sourcing and ordering all the components

Participants will be using solder paste, stencil, and a skillet to solder the surface mount components, which is a valuable take away skill, being much cleaner than hand soldering and requiring no special equipment. Participants will also learn how to clean the shorts, using flux and a soldering iron. Once the board is populated, participants will compile and upload the bootloader and firmware to the MCU using Gillet’s development environment and a FTDI connector.

Then, with some luck and hard work, participants will build their own Braids module. However, please note, that due to the complexity of the material covered in this workshop, Eastern Bloc cannot guarantee that each participant will complete the course with a functioning Braids.

The workshop fees include:
- Braids PCB
- All the components needed to build it
- Custom Murdered Out Magpie Modular front-panel designed by instructor Ismail Negm

Participants will need to bring a good pair of tweezers like these (if you don't have a pair of tweezers like those mentioned, they can be provided if participants register at least three weeks in advance and place a request).

Please note that the level of this workshop is advanced. Contact lab@easternbloc.ca to discuss your level of expertise if uncertain. It is also important to note that Mutable Instruments offers absolutely no support for DIY builds of their modules.

Printed Circuit Boards

Workshop given by Pipo Pierre-Louis & Grégory Perrin
13 August 2016, 10am - 6pm
Fee : $80 (regular) / $60 (reduced)
To reserve your place, please send an email to lab@easternbloc.ca

This workshop will cover different methods of homemade fabrication of printed circuit boards and explain how to make your own circuit boards with readily available tools. During the workshop, the participants will benefit from the instructors’ experience and advice to experiment and make unique, customized circuits! Participants will also learn how to make an etching solution with household products and try a custom made tool designed by the instructors.

Review of the different techniques:
- presensitized boards
- transfer papers
- acid bath
- sponge friction
- milling

Fabrication of an audio circuit:
- mixing etching solution
- mask transfer
- board etching
- component assembly (if enough time)

* All materials are included in the price of the workshop (copper board, etching solution, transfer paper, protection material and components)

Pipo Pierre-Louis is a composer, sound, video and new media artist born in Quito, Ecuador and residing in Montreal, Canada. Directly influenced by an array of different cultures and a variety of academic disciplines since his early life, he creates new media art, musical compositions, and performances shaped by his personal experiences. His artistic practice is focused on social behaviors, modernism, and environmental activism in a constant quest to translate them using technological media. His extensive knowledge of fabrication and custom made electronics has brought him to work with renowned artists and cultural institutions as a consultant and technician. Presently he is completing a Masters degree in electroacoustic composition under the direction of Jean Piché and Nicolas Bernier.


Workshop given by Guillaume Vallée & Rob Feulner
24 April, 11am - 3pm
Admission fees : $40 regular
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca

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 from any artistic background and 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, analog forms of moving images as a way of considering the direct interaction between different mediums and the exploration of materiality within the creative process.

Pure Data & Raspberry Pi: Music and Sound for New Media Art

Workshop in 3 sessions given by Peter Van Haaften
9, 16, 23 April 2016, 11am - 6pm
Fee : $150 (members & non-members)
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca

This workshop in three parts will introduce artists to the Raspoberry Pi and PureData as tools for new media creation. Raspberry Pi is a low cost computer that is the size of a credit card, which can be programmed with Python, another open source programming language. Raspberry Pi has the capacity to interact with the exterior world, and can be used in a wide variety of artistic projects. Projects integrating this technology can be autonomous and used to create independent interactive objects or operate softwares like Pure Data. Pure Data (PD) is an open source visual programming software. PD enables musicians, visual artists, performers, researchers and developers to create software graphically, without having to write lines of code.

The workshop is divided as follows:

Introduction to Pure Data (Saturday, April 9)
This workshop will start by the installation, configuration and historic overview of PD to acquire a basic comprehension of the software and some of it's applications. During this first workshop, participants will focus on the basic principles of sound design and on the different programming "objects" in sound generation. Supervised by the facilitator, the participants will explore a variety of instruments and will create their own personalized sound effects like distortion, chorus, delays, etc. Participants should expect to work with oscillators, envelopes, sample players, signal processors, subtractive FM and additive synthesis, ADSR and other popular processing techniques.

Composition in Pure Data (Saturday, April 16)
The second part of this series will focus on the experimentation and utilization of tools built during the previous workshop with interactive composition systems. The participants will study and design a real-time musical partitioning system, integrating interactives techniques who can be easily applied for performances and installations. Participants will experiment with the creation of complex clock sequencers and clock dividers, to then route these into signal generators and procedural sequencers to create shifting asynchronous rhythms.

Pure Data and the Raspberry Pi (Saturday, April 23)
This last workshop will enable participants to export the sounds previously made while using a Raspberry Pi. The participants will learn the technical features of the installation and execution of Pure Data on the Raspberry Pi. This is a complex aspect of the workshop but one that is however essential to aid artists to create autonomous sound pieces. The necessary techniques will be presented to connect everything to the physical world, while using a variety of switches and sensors.

Peter van Haaften is a computer music composer raised in Sudbury, Ontario, and currently located in Montreal. His recent work looks to explore interactive computational models for algorithmic, procedural, and generative music. Through the creation of autonomous performing/composing machines, he seeks to question established conventions of the composer, the performer, the audience, and the instrument. His endeavors encompass live performance, interactive installations, radio art, and fixed media for speakers. Van Haaften holds a BFA in Electroacoustic Studies from Concordia University, and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Carleton University. His original and collaborative projects have been presented at the Monaco Electroacoustique, the Japan Media Arts Festival, Eastern Bloc, and the NAISA Transmission Art Festival. He currently works as an artist-researcher at the Topological Media Lab (Hexagram) where he is collaborating on a new set of audio/visual compositions exploring time, space, and computational materiality.


Workshop given by Émilie Mouchous
12 March, 12pm–5pm
Fee: $80 regular / $40 reduced (professional artists, members, students)
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca

CPOs (Code Practice Oscillator) have long been used to learn Morse code. The electronic workshop Lost poetics of the CPO consists in making a portable wireless 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 theme for sound improvisation.

Émilie Mouchous is a sound artist who creates her own electronic instruments. Her audio and spatial investigations are characterized by the creation of autonomous mini-systems and manifest themselves in various ways: radio pieces, series of electronic objects, collaborative free improvisation, internet art. She studies plants, the migration of dragonflies, and electricity.

Artist website: www.gmackrr.ca
Past workshop: easternblocmtl.tumblr.com/post/121607602900/sight-sound-7-hyperlocal-eastern-bloc

Second Life

Workshop in 3 sessions given by Skawennati
Saturdays 23 & 30 January & 6 February 2016, 10am - 6pm
Fee : $200 regular / $100 reduced (professional artists, members, students)
Presented in partnershp with the Initiative for Indigenous Futures
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca

Skawennati is an artist who creates and encourages new media work in cyberspace, including websites, machima, and video games. Using the on-line virtual world, Second Life, she made a 9-episode machinima called TimeTraveller™ and has helped other artists to create installations, performances and their own machinima. Discover the possibilities this platform has to offer your art practice.

Learn how to navigate through the virtual world using an avatar. Walk, run, fly and teleport to new locations. Change your avatar’s clothing, hair, skin and shape. Communicate with collaborators. Send postcards from exotic locations and learn to build simple objects.

A machinima is a movie made in a virtual environment like a video game or an on-line world such as Second Life. In this workshop we will see examples of machinima; learn the basic tools and production pipeline (including storyboarding and character design) and create a very short machinima.

Mohawk artist Skawennati co-directs Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace and their workshop series, Skins. She has used her experience in creating new media works, such as CyberPowWow (1997-2004), Imagining Indians in the 25th Century (2001), and TimeTraveller™(2008-2013) to encourage others, especially Indigenous youth, to learn how to be producers, not just consumers, in cyberspace. Their projects, including the video game Otsi: Rise of the Kanien'kehá:ka Legends, have won several of ImagineNATIVE’s Best New Media Awards.

OS Fermentation

Workshop given by Leila Nadir & Cary Peppermint (EcoArtTech)
16 January 2016, 11am - 6pm
Fee : $40
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca

The OS Fermentation workshop is part of art duo Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint’s new Edible Ecologies project, a series of social sculptures that work collaboratively with local communities (cultural, bacterial, ecological) to remix historic food practices and remediate what they call “industrial amnesia.”

Taking place at community gardens, academic institutions, and public spaces, the OS Fermentation workshop works with participants to revive the ancient practice of fermentation as an alternative to industrial methods of food preservation, such as refrigeration and pasteurization. It is simultaneously a slow-cooking class, a healing ritual, and a conceptual-art experimentation with wild bacteria and food democracy. Each jar of fermented veggies taken home by participants is its own unfolding, unfinished, interactive artwork, part of a future meal that will boost digestion and immunity, and a viral performance of food independence in a time when diet, nutrition, and humanity’s relationships with edible substances have been industrialized. Like all our artworks, the OS Fermentation Workshop positions art as an urgent and necessary intervention operating between utility and imagination.

Performances of OSFW have taken place at Smack Mellon Gallery (Brooklyn), e‐flux (NYC), Clayton Williams Community Garden (NYC), the HyperPlace Harlem events at City College (NYC), and the University of Rochester. The project has received seed funding from The Canary Project and the University of Rochester.

Participants will need to bring their own knife and optional apron.

Working collaboratively as EcoArtTech since 2005, new media art duo Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint's environmental art projects take the form of architectural interventions and urban wilderness tours, net art and public performances, scholarly articles and poetic essays. They have been supported by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Andrew Mellon Foundation, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Center for Land Use Interpretation, and Franklin Furnace Fund.



Re-Creating Apocryphal Technologies
Given by Jamie Allen & Shintaro Miyazaki, in the context of BPLTC II
7 November, 2015, 1pm - 4pm & 8 November, 2015, 10am - 4pm
Price: $30
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca
Warning, 10 participants max

The technological presents itself as the forward image of our desires, and these projections often cause us to hide what should be resolute disappointment or dissatisfaction. Often things that don’t work simply must, as we’ve invested so much time, effort, emotion and money in them. (We would feel rather silly admitting how cumbersome and dysfunctional our new laptop is, after spending several thousand dollars on it… yet it still can’t connect to the printer!). This rather legitimate disappointment we moderns often hide from ourselves is part of what makes all technologies in some sense ‘apocryphal’: dubiously authentic, spuriously reliable, and suspectly ‘functional.’ All thinking is speculative, and technologies absorb this speculation: from truth telling, to bodily enhancement, to cognitive amplification.

One area where this apocryphal promise of technology and media is most detectable, is where it intersects with the speculative promise of the psycho-technologies and media of religion and spiritual practice. Focusing on the example of the E-meter, an electrical instrument used in Church of Scientology ‘audits’, Jamie Allen and Shintaro Miyazaki will host a practice-based workshop that will inquire into the heterogeneous discourses this circuitry has provoked. Through making, workshop participants will analyse and determine ‘real’ function. Each participant will make their own (Scientology™) E-meter, and in the process better understand the over-coded, apocryphal, technological imaginary that has been built around it.

DAY 1 (Nov 7)

Introduction to participants
Introduction to instruction

Measuring the body — physiology / metrophysiology
Explanations of different biosignals / psychology / criminology / lie detection
Cybernetic and Scientology
Media Archeology of the E-Meter (L Ron and its development, etc.)

Distribute the kits and explain the hardware that will be made the following day

DAY 2 (Nov 8)

Auditing / Scientology practices around the E-Meter

Explanations of circuit
Building the E-meter


Final circuit boxing

Outside ‘audits’ of the general public

Introduction to Python

Workshop in 6 sessions given by Ismail Negm
Every Tuesday, 13 October - 17 November 2015, 7pm - 10pm
Fee : $250 regular / $125 reduced (professional artists, members, students)
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 programmatically or PyProcessing to create generative and dynamic 2D. Musical composition? Analyze 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.

The course will cover :

- Built-in types and methods
- The Python Standard Library
- Functional programming paradigms for Python
- Modules and Packages
- Object Oriented Programming in Python

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.

Cine Expandido: Handmade Cinema and Projection Device Building

Workshop given by the Luz y Fuerza Collective (MX)
10 - 11 October 2015, 10am - 6pm
Fee : $75 regular / $50 reduced (members, students)
To reserve your place, please email lab@easternbloc.ca
N.B.: 15 participants max.!

In partnership with the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma

This workshop is an introduction to hand made cinema through the manipulation of light with a very simple handcrafted projection device. A practical workshop that begins with the construction of the device, passes through the process of learning how to use it and how to develop the image, the creation of a score for the ensemble of all projectors and ends up with a live presentation of this ensemble at Eastern Bloc’s Lab, on Sunday evening.

Luz y Fuerza is anart collective based in Mexico that combines experimental cinema, visual arts, scenography and industrial design. Since 2012, they have been experimenting with light, technology and space. They explore the moving image and conceive audio-visual machines that challenge the formats of production and consumption of conventional cinema. Driven by a strong desire to counter widespread obsolescence and capitalist principles, the artists embrace an environmentally friendly lifestyle and way of working, defending the organic character of technology and putting forward alternative artistic experiences. They propose a way to make cinema with devices designed and built by themselves, which they use to make expanded cinema installations, live cinema acts and handmade cinema workshops.

FNC Lab website: wwww.nouveaucinema.ca