Brendon Bussy

Ear Shells at Sounding Out

Posted in Art, Design, Events, Invention, Materials, Research, Sound, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on June 30, 2012

This coming week I’m going up to Johannesburg to take part in an exhibition at the Bag Factory. It opens on Wednesday night(4th July). And I’ll also be running a workshop on the 7th July (details here).

Sounding Out deals with contemporary music and visual art. A rarity on the South African experimental scene, I’m looking forward to this gathering of sound artists and sound thinking people.

When the show’s curator Kim Gurney approached me in March of this year, I considered a number of ideas which I’ve been experimenting with, but each seemed too noisy. An odd thing for a sound artist to say you might wonder? Well my thinking was that any idea worth pursuing would need to take into consideration the possibility of there being a number of  noisy artists in one room.

So I decided to take a silent approach and create something which could be used to listen with – to the works on the show as well as other sounds in the building.

Eventually I came up with a modified hearing instrument, in some ways similar to my Kone Phones, but durable and much more useful.  I’m very happy with the resulting Ear Shells.

Ear Shells

Here’s me sporting the first model I made.

Me with Ear Shells

The listening experience is something like covering your ears with shells, (more…)

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Workshop: Making Useful Instruments

Posted in Design, Invention, Materials, Music, New Old Old New, Research, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on June 25, 2011

I’m going to be running a workshop focusing on building and playing stringed instruments made from found objects.

Based on traditional (and not so traditional) African instruments such as harps, fiddles, lutes – made from tins, cardboard tubes, boxes, and any suitable odd but useful object.

seriously playing a cardboard kora in district 6

In the first session we’ll explore (more…)

The Possibility of Self Adjustable Spectacle Lenses

Posted in Design, Invention, Materials by Brendon Bussy on June 6, 2011

Having worn glasses forever and heavily dependent on them – I can’t see what I’m typing now if I remove my specs, I’ve always wondered what I would do if I didn’t have access to an optometrist. Or worse, access to any of the technology required to have 20/20 vision.

So I find the initiative to make self adjustable lenses quite inspiring. And also to discover that someone’s been working on it for a while already. The innovator of note is Joshua Silver and the organisation of note is the Centre for Vision in the Developing World.

Have a look at the various approaches here which range from lens kits to fluid filled lenses which can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing fluid pressure.

Here’s the man himself wearing a pair of the fluid adjustable types. Note the (removable) syringes for lens adjustment.

Here’s a close-up: (more…)

How to Build a Harp in the Ground

Posted in Invention, Materials, Music, New Old Old New by Brendon Bussy on June 2, 2011

Last week Nicola Visser and I decided to make a Ground Harp.

So we met at Cape Town’s Constantia Nek and headed into the pine plantation equipped with spade and Angel the dog – the essential ground harp equipment.

We placed a soundboard over a hole which Nicky had dug amongst the roots of a tree. Then one foot on the board, we tensioned a length of nylon gut which had been attached to the centre of the board.

Twang!

(more…)

Listen to And Not But Speak

Posted in Art, Materials, Recording, Sound by Brendon Bussy on May 27, 2011

I’ve been hanging out with the wrong sort, but it’s not been bad.

Francis Burger and Christian Nerf who operate on the sanding edge of conceptual art here in Cape Town invited me to contribute to their new installation at the AVA titled ‘And Not But‘.

They asked me to interact with its centre piece,  a sculptural form.  By talking to it.  And recording the conversation.

Here’s a working model of the chap at the centre of  the attention, ‘And Not But’  (the final version in marble, wood and resin can be seen here):

And Not But (wood, wood glue, incidental ballpoint ink)

Well as it turned out, I wasn’t the only one going to be doing the talking. And just as well you might say (for those who know me).  (more…)

The Pleasant Art of Bottle Arranging

Posted in Design, Invention, Materials, New Old Old New, Sound, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on May 25, 2011

I decided to try some lavish documentation of a few of my musical instrument experiments.

So, in the spirit of Ikebane (the harmonious art of Japanese flower arranging) we have:

The Breakfast Punch Harp.

Breakfast Punch Harp

Breakfast Punch Harp: 1 litre tetrapack, chopstick, gut

Made from a juice box of my favourite flavour, this ‘throw-away’ harp is one of my secret weapons.  Despite its temporary nature, and unpredictable sounds, I seem to use it more and more – live and in soundtracks. (more…)

Bleached Bones from the Elephants’ Graveyard

Posted in Design, Invention, Materials by Brendon Bussy on May 18, 2011

I found these cable ducting off cuts  next to an excavation for a telephone line.  Covered in mud and gaffer tape,  I cleaned them off and revealed striking colours enhanced by wear.  They reminded me of bleached bones from a mythical elephants’  graveyard.

Here they are shortly after excavation:

(more…)