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MIDI Scrapyard Challenge

Friday 19 January 2007
Horizon Scotland / Forres, Scotland
Workshop: 10 am - 5 pm
Performance: 6 pm (free and open to the public)

The MIDI Scrapyard Challenge Workshop is an intensive, one-day workshop in which participants build simple electronic musical controllers out of found or discarded "junk" such as old electronics, clothing, furniture, outdated computer equipment, appliances, turntables, monitors, gadgets, etc.

Photo from a recent Scrapyard Challenge in Newcastle, Australia

The Scrapyard Challenge shows how easy it is to re-use technology and make it serve a new purpose. Participants in this workshop will not only experience what it is like to tinker with electronics, but also be encouraged to think about the design of open systems, platforms and tools that allow the user to put these to a new use. The ultimate aim of the Challenge is to encourage an open and collaborative space for creative ideas and hands-on prototyping.

So far workshops have been held 19 times in 9 countries with 3 different themes. In the Scrapyard Challenge at Distance Lab, participants will also build simple drawing robots or "DrawBots" with small, inexpensive motors, batteries, and drawing markers that can also be connected to a Serial or MIDI interface. The workshop takes between six and seven hours to complete. We will provide scrap materials, but you are very welcome to bring your own too!

Check out the Scrapyard Challenge web site made by its creators, Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Katherine Moriwaki.

Performance / Concert

At the end of the day, the workshop participants have a small performance concert, where they will demonstrate and present their creations together as a group.

Who should participate

Designers, engineers, artists, musicians, performers, academics, students, creative people, multiple backgrounds and all skill levels are encouraged to get involved. No electronics skills or any experience with technology is necessary to participate.


The workshop and performance will be held at Horizon Scotland in Forres.

Workshop leaders

Jonah Brucker-Cohen

Jonah Brucker-Cohen is a researcher, artist, and R&D OpenLab Fellow at Eyebeam in NYC. He is also currently completing his Ph.D. as an HEA MMRP (Multimedia Research Programme) fellow in the Disruptive Design Team of the Networking and Telecommunications Research Group (NTRG), Trinity College Dublin. He was also a Research Fellow in the Human Connectedness Group at Media Lab Europe. He received a Masters from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU and was an Interval Research Fellow there creating interactive networked projects. His work and thesis focuses on the theme of "Deconstructing Networks" which includes projects that attempt to critically challenge and subvert accepted perceptions of network interaction and experience. He is co-founder of the Dublin Art and Technology Association (DATA Group) and a recipient of the ARANEUM Prize sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Art, Science and Technology and Fundacion ARCO. His writing has appeared in numerous international publications including WIRED Magazine,Rhizome.org, and GIZMODO, and his work has been shown at events such as DEAF (03,04), Art Futura (04), SIGGRAPH (00,05), UBICOMP (02,03,04), CHI (04,06) Transmediale (02,04), ISEA (02,04,06), Institute of Contemporary Art in London (04), Whitney Museum of American Art's ArtPort (03), Ars Electronica (02,04), and the ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art (04-5).

Jonah URLs
Projects and Work:

Katherine Moriwaki

Katherine Moriwaki is an artist and researcher investigating clothing and accessories as the active conduit through which people create network relationships in public space. Currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Networks and Telecommunications Research Group at Trinity College Dublin, her work has appeared in IEEE Spectrum Magazine, and numerous festivals and conferences including numer.02 at Centre Georges Pompidou (02), Break 2.2 (03), Ubicomp (03,04), eculture fair (03), Transmediale (04), CHI (04, 06), ISEA (04), Ars Electronica (04), and WIRED Nextfest (05). Katherine recieved her Masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and currently teaches at Parsons School of Design in and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). She is a 2004 recipient of the Araneum Prize from the Spanish Ministry for Science and Technology and Fundacion ARCO.

Katherine URLs
Projects and Work:


The MIDI Scrapyard Challenge is being organized and managed by Distance Lab with additional support from Urban Learning Space, Glasgow.

Photos from the event