Brendon Bussy

Open Studio & DIY Konis Phonis Exploratika

Posted in Design, Events, Invention, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on July 13, 2011

This Saturday my studio workshop will be open to anyone interested to see what I’ve been up to.

I’ll show you a few of the musical instruments I’ve made and you’ll also be able to make yourself a personalised set of Kone Phones (Konis Phonis Exploratika).

Or just have a cup of tea and chat 🙂

when:  This Saturday 16 July 2011
time:  10 – 3 (but we’ll probably run later)
place:  12A Chamberlain Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
directions: Drive down Roedebloem Rd and turn right into Chamberlain just after the Woodstock Lounge. It’s the pink house on the left.  Google Map

If you know that you’re coming drop me a line if you have a chance. Or just rock up.

See you 🙂

A satisfied KonePhone - ista

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.



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:


Workshop: Young Industrial Designers Grock Harps

Posted in Design, New Old Old New, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on May 12, 2011

This week I completed a two session workshop with 4th year students at CPUT’s* industrial design department.  A basic crash course in stringed instrument building where bits of junk, cans, offcuts and fishing line became prototype designs for the African instruments of the future.

So here are a few of their creations:

A cardboard tube played something like a West African Ngoni. It sports a kevlar bridge (it was an offcut, so it counts).

cardboard tube ngoni

Made and designed by Cliff Beckett and Brent Ismay and played here by Jacques Fabre


Five Ordinary Objects of Exquisite Beauty

Posted in Design, Invention by Brendon Bussy on May 5, 2011

Who says that we aren’t surrounded by materials worth using.  In fact we’re inundated.

These five giant beauties sunning in our kitchen dry rack are courtesy of the Olive Station.

I can’t wait 🙂

Table Lamp + Inspiration = Soundtrack

Posted in Design, Invention, New Old Old New, Sound, Soundtracks by Brendon Bussy on May 2, 2011

Recently two of my troublingly diverse interests conspired to create a soundtrack for the production Door which will play at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival this year.

This is how it came about….

Earlier this year, I was wandering around Cape Town’s Cape  Design Indaba, after running a workshop.  I found myself  drawn to a project display which attracted me due to its ‘work in progress’  nature.  I love prototypes, they smell of pure idea and this one positively reeked 🙂

Run by two young industrial design graduates who call themselves ThingKing, their stand offered a kit table lamp fabricated as simply as possible –  a metal flat bar, elegantly bent and cut.  A bulb socket, light bulb and piece of A4 paper completed the construction.  On sale for a donation (to a worthy charity) and on display as a stimulus to conversation about efficient design, I couldn’t resist (especially the conversation) and I took one home to assemble for use on my work bench.

Here it is:

table lamp

And as a lamp it’s been very useful.  But little did I know that this useful object would become the catalyst for a sound track. (more…)