Lots of activity and deafening noise already sounding in the ICAN workshop.

Asep Nata has been grinding everyone into oblivion in the production of a mutant cowbell crossed with a steel drum. It already looks and sounds interesting and produces three distinct notes. We’ve asked him to work outside while grinding as the sound really is insane, even for noise-hardened ears like ours.

Sitting outside Asep shows me a collection of hand-made diatonic bamboo Karinding’s, a traditional Javanese instrument described as sounding “like a big frog in the middle of rice fields”. Asep tells me the instrument has been around since the Neolithic 4 (around 5,000BC) having been found in archaeological digs in the Philippines. Asep is struggling with the problem of how to amplify his own version, The ‘Karinding Towal’, which produces a complex but very quiet harmonics.

Rod Cooper seems to have had a breakthrough about which he is extremely excited, and which might have implications for Asep’s amplification issue. He has collected iron shavings from the ground new Asep’s workspace and glued them onto a banjo skin which is being amplified by a guitar pickup. The iron filings vibrate in sympathy with the membrane of the banjo drum,  and disturb the magnetic field of the pickup in a way I’m still struggling to understand, but it’s loud.


At the other end of the workshop Ardi Gunawan has begun construction on a sculptural long-string work with two fishing lines tensioned between the planks of a freestanding wooden frame, installed into an existing wall within the site. The frame is amplified by contact microphones and is being plucked and bowed to good effect. Here’s Ardi’s assistent Iqbal doing some measurements.

Ardi Gunawan's string instrument starting to come together

Dylan Martorell and Wukir Suryadi are busily working together adding self-playing robotic percussion parts to a massive ornate wooden plough given to Suryadi by an archeologist. Dylan was initially hesitant to adapt the plough in any way, as it’s so beautiful already, but seems to have overcome that trepidation.


Michael Candy and Pia Van Gelder have spent the day cruising around Jogja on a motorbike with local artist Andreas Siagian visiting various electronic shops looking for components. Pia is talking about working with visually controlled synthesisers. Intriguingly Michael is conceiving an instrument powered by volcanic steam energy. Candy versus the Volcano.

Andreas and Michael at DigiWare

Junk Shop


Blog entry by Joel Stern.