Brendon Bussy

Silent Noise via Dum Ka Pa

Posted in Events, Music, Research, Sound, Theatre, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on October 27, 2013

Over the past year and a half I’ve been working full time as a music and art teacher to mostly primary school students and students with special needs . One of the techniques that I’ve developed is a simple hand sign and body percussion system which has come to be known as  Dum Ka Pa (DKP). A system loosely based on the systems used for teaching middle eastern percussion.

The initial intention of the system was to teach rhythm however this system has developed into a broad exploration of the nature of sound, not just auditory (as we hear with our ears), but also tactile (vibration) and kinetic* (the way we move in response to sound).

Over the past year I’ve been doing a great deal of research around sensory perception, especially how we construct our conception of the world via our senses. This process is not entirely objective or straightforward and leads to many interesting questions which end up being very useful grist for my creative mill.

A serious exploration. However my intention has always been to keep it fun for myself and the people I work with. So my method is slowly evolving into a springboard for physical theater with madcap tendencies such as Normal Noise , a performance I work-shopped earlier this year with young deaf performaners, and even experiments with Sign Rap using South African Sign Language (which I am currently learning).

Recently I’ve started using my techniques to create participative experiences with adult audiences – an exploration of sensory perception by turning the body into a kinetic music machine, an energetic and enjoyably absurd activity. Can you hear sound without noise?

During November I had the opportunity of performing as part of the Paarden Eiland Concert series where I performed Silent Noise and the following images give a rough idea of the manner in which the performance unfolds.

*I’ve started experimenting with the term ‘kinetic melody’ – a term borrowed from Oliver Sacks who used it to describe the manner in which people with Tourette syndrome are able to calm tics through engaging with rhythmic activities.

Silent Noise intro: A backdrop of pink noise is played over the sound system to induce a sense of auditory deafness. I 'draw' the texture of the sound by tracing a large circle with a jittery finger in the air.

Silent Noise intro: A backdrop of pink noise is played over the sound system to induce a sense of auditory deafness. I ‘draw’ the texture of the sound by tracing a large circle with a jittery finger in the air. (pic: Kim Gurney)

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*G Force* make Normal Noise at Edge of Wrong

Posted in Sound, Theatre, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on March 9, 2013

Last weekend at the Edge of Wrong four young deaf performers known as G Force presented Normal Noise. A performance resulting from a workshop I’d run with them.

Their mission: to present their full sensory experience of a ‘normally noisy’ world.  So that a hearing audience might think again about the sensation of hearing.

And they were a hit which made me very (very) happy. And proud 🙂

Applause for G Force at Edge Of Wrong. On left is Tshepiso Betty Mokoena - our amazing Sign Language interpreter for the evening.

Applause for G Force at Edge Of Wrong. On the left is Tshepiso Betty Mokoena – our extraordinary Sign Language interpreter for the evening. (pic: Niklas Zimmer)

At some point a video will hopefully become available. In the mean time, here is an account in words with pictures by the versatile Niklas Zimmer. (more…)

Normal Noise without Ears. And Marshmallows.

Posted in Events, Sound, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on February 25, 2013

I was recently approached to run a workshop and develop a performance for this year’s Edge of Wrong festival (a cross-continental festival of exploratory arts and music).

As result I’ve been running a running a series of exploration sessions with four deaf students from Cape Town’s Dominican school for the deaf (Wittebome). And it will all culminate with a performance called Normal Noise this Saturday evening as part of this weekend’s festival events.

essential listening technique: listening with your toes

essential listening technique: listening with your toes

So what have we been doing in the sessions? Basically we’re exploring sensation using everyday objects. With sound as our focus.

But what is sound to someone who does not have fully functioning ears? (more…)

Sounding Out: João Orecchia and other notable works

Posted in Art, Design, Electronics, Exhibitions, Invention, Music, Sound by Brendon Bussy on July 10, 2012

A few works which stood out for me at the (still ongoing) Sounding Out exhibition …

João Orecchia’s Small Worlds was a quiet contemplative work . A collaboration with pianist Jill Richards, the work consisted of three simple objects in a darkened room, each emitting a recording of a minimal piano work. Barely audible, it forced me to listen and imagine.

object 1

The darkened setting  reminded me of the slightly musty and intriguing interior of an aging local history museum, and the sound treatment of that process where homeopaths serially dilute a substance until very little of the original agent is left. A filtering where only a memory of the original remains. (more…)

Sounding Out: Tracking Secret Sounds of the City

Posted in Art, Sound, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on July 10, 2012

On Saturday I ran a workshop as part of the ongoing exhibition Sounding Out. The workshop was also inspired by the upcoming World Listening Day.

A nice sized group of enthusiastic sound-ista’s turned up – thank you Bag Factory :).

I introduced the group to a range of simple listening tools such as bottles to use as resonators for listening to vibration. Then we set off to explore the surrounding Fordsburg neighbourhood to search for hidden and unexpected sounds.

tapping a tree branch and listening for vibrations

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Sounding Out: Ear Shell Enthusiasts at the Exhibition

Posted in Art, Design, Exhibitions, Invention, Music, Sound by Brendon Bussy on July 10, 2012

Well I’m back home in Cape Town from big city, Johannesburg. The Sounding Out opening at the Bag Factory was great with a good turn out.

Some of the Ear Shell enthusiasts at play….

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A New Adventure – Hearing with Touch

Posted in Sound, Theatre, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on June 30, 2012

The ‘new adventure’ in this blog title refers to the excitement I felt and encountered during a sound workshop I recently ran for deaf theater makers.

Sometime back, somewhat inspired by the deaf musician Evelyn Glennie,  I approached Jayne Batzofin from the theater group FTH:K with the idea of creating a soundtrack for a deaf audience. In the process of discussion she invited me to run a workshop for the group’s deaf trainees.

Well the workshop ran well. Very well. One of those really amazing paradigm shifting moments in life where you realise that things are not as you thought they were!

The workshop in pictures:

We each take a turn having our heads buzzed whilst wearing the hard hat – trust me it feels great!

Playing circular saw blades which have very long and powerful sustain – you can feel the vibration from several centimeters away

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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…)