Sirene by Phillip Sollmann

Posted in Documentation on December 8th, 2016 by admin


In 2015 I had the pleasure of working with Phillip Sollmann on his performance/installation Sirene. For the project, I researched how to control two very precise, high-tech Faulhaber motors with Pure Data over a serial connection. Originally designed for aerospace use, the Faulhaber motors became the engines for Sollmann’s air-powered, microtonal sirens which were presented at Oststation, Vienna in the spring of that year. The physical structure of the sirens was designed and executed by Paper/Christoph Blattmacher in Berlin.

SIRENE Dokumentation from pa bla on Vimeo.

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Pure Data Benjolin

Posted in Announcement on December 5th, 2016 by admin


The Benjolin is a standalone synthesizer designed by Rob Hordijk from the Netherlands in 2009 and available as an open hardware project online. This Pure Data implementation of the Benjolin was coded by Derek Holzer in SEP-NOV 2016 in Helsinki, after several years of producing customized hardware Benjolins from his Berlin studio.

Get it here:

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Berlin Workshops Nov-Dec at NK

Posted in Announcement on October 8th, 2010 by admin

“Ich bin ein Objekt”: Learning Pure Data as a Language
DATES: 13-14 November 2010 12:00-17:00
LOCATION: NK, Elsenstr. 52/2.Hinterhaus Etage 2
12059 Berlin Neukölln

Pure Data (or Pd) is a real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing. This introductory workshop is ideal for new users of Pure Data who are finding the “vocabulary” and “grammar” difficult to grasp. We will learn Pure Data as one would learn any other language, taking a series of very basic examples from the Pure Data FLOSS Manual. This workshop gives a good starting point for more advanced Pd workshops, or participation in the Berlin Pure Data users’ group. The workshop will be taught in English ;-)

Participation is limited to 12 participants.

Registration: Pre-registration is required and can be done by sending an email to



Neanderthal Electronics at your Fingertips
DATES: 27-28 November 12:00-17:00 / Presentation 28 November 18:00
COST: EUR 35 + EUR 10 materials fee
LOCATION: NK, Elsenstr. 52/2.Hinterhaus Etage 2
12059 Berlin Neukölln

Learn how to use simple objects from our modern environment (resistors, capacitors, transistors, LEDs, integrated circuit chips…) to design and build your own personal, touch-activated primitive noise synthesizer. Each is a tiny world of its own, using primitive analog computers in combination with feedback, sensors and audio inputs to create a unique sound. Even from the same plan, no two are alike! Participants should bring some sort of box, container or other creative enclosure to put their circuit inside of–past workshops have seen synthesizers made in suitcases, flashlights, film cans, coconuts, children’s toys, super 8 cameras, cigar boxes, knaackebrod, books and hand-sewn masks. Check the videos on the Macumbista website for some ideas and inspiration. This workshop will end in a free public presentation of the instruments you have created, invite your friends!

Participation is limited to 12 participants.

Registration: Pre-registration is required and can be done by sending an email to



Now Splice the Tape: Working with Soundfiles in Pure Data
DATES: 04-05 December 12:00-17:00 / Presentation 05 December 18:00
LOCATION: NK, Elsenstr. 52/2.Hinterhaus Etage 2
12059 Berlin Neukölln

Manipulating recorded soundfiles is one of Pure Data’s most powerful features. However, the process of doing this remains one of the most confusing tasks for newcomers. During this two day workshop, we will cover the basics of loading soundfiles to tables, live capturing and looping, adjusting tempo and pitch, changing the looping, starting and stopping points of your playback and an introduction to granular synthesis. We will also examine ParticleChamber as an example of a full-fledged soundfile manipulation application built entirely with Pd. Some previous experience with Pd and/or participation in the “Ich bin ein Objekt” workshop is recommended. This workshop will end in a free public presentation of the instruments you have created, invite your friends!

Participation is limited to 12 participants.

Registration: Pre-registration is required and can be done by sending an email to

Links: (ParticleChamber)


About the Instructor:

Derek Holzer (1972) is an American sound artist living in Berlin, whose current interests include DIY analog electronics, sound art, field recording and the meeting points of electroacoustic, noise, improv and extreme music. He has played live experimental sound, as well as taught workshops in noise art technology, across Europe, North America, Brazil and New Zealand.

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Regnskog, Bergen NO 11-17 October 2010

Posted in Announcement on September 8th, 2010 by admin


Bergen Kjøtt, Bergen NO, October 11-17 2010

REGNSKOG: a Collaborative Workshop/Performance/Installation in the Spirit of David Tudor
Produced by


Over the past few years, a strong reaction against the sterile world of laptop sound and video has inspired a new interest in analog processes, or “hands dirty” art in the words of practitioner John Richards. With this renewed analog interest comes a fresh exploration of the pioneers of the electronic arts during the pre-digital era of the 1960s and 1970s. Artists and inventors such as Nam June Paik, Steina & Woody Vasulka, Don Buchla, Serge Tcherepnin, Dan Sandin and David Tudor all constructed their own unique instruments long before similar tools became commercially available or freely downloadable–and often through a long, rigorous process of self-education in electronics.


David Tudor, in particular, has become the focus of intense interest (c.f. Leonardo Music Journal 14, 2004). His transformation from John Cage’s concert pianist to an electronic performer and autodidact engineer in his own right is archetypal for the contemporary media artist, who also must oscillate between the creative and the learning processes. His work Rainforest also stands out as an exemplary model of the collaborative process within a technically defined, yet socially open system.

Rainforest used a series of transducers to play prerecorded and live sounds through various resonant metal objects suspended by wires in the performance space. It was also conceived as a workshop, involving different musicians and artists in a collaborative setting, each contributing their own sounds, ideas and energies to the performances, which often lasted four or five hours! A complex mixer system allowed the sounds coming from one resonant object to be directed through another, spawning chaotic generations of new sound patterns. The sounds played could be heard through loudspeakers as well as the objects themselves, however they could also be physically felt by touching the objects. Tudor was especially interested in two audiences: children and the blind.


Regnskog is conceived as a contemporary re-interpretation of Rainforest as a workshop, performance and public installation. In the spirit of Tudor’s work, much of the equipment and materials will be built by the participants/performers themselves.


Harald Fetveit, Oslo
Signe Lidèn, Bergen
Ryan Jordan, London
Derek Holzer, Berlin
Julien Ottavi, Nantes
John Hegre, Bergen
Jørgen Træen, Bergen
Gisle Frøysland, Bergen

Now Playing

bitchin bajastones & zones lp[2010 important]
burnburn 7″[1990 revelation]
chen santa mariachen santa maria[2008 gssd/shit on]
drudkhhandful of stars[2010 season of mist]
elehrepose[2010 touch]
j.d. emmanuelwizards[1982/2010 important]
prince ramashadow temple[2010 paw tracks]
seijiro murayama4 pieces with a snare drum[2010 petit label]

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Mechanical Sound Instruments workshop, TAIK, Helsinki

Posted in Documentation on March 20th, 2010 by admin

Images from a Pure Data + Arduino motor & sensor workshop I taught for students of the Media Lab at TAIK (Taideteollinen korkeakoulu/University of Art and Design) Helsinki, 8-12 March 2010. Thanks to Antti Ikonen for inviting me!

Photos by Liisa Tervinen

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Coincidence Engines

Posted in Documentation on February 15th, 2010 by admin

Hypnotized by the unfolding synchronicities of [The User]‘s Coincidence Engine One: Universal People’s Republic Time, at the Transmediale Festival 2010 (Collegium Hungaricum Berlin). Inspired by György Ligeti’s Poème Symphonique For 100 Metronomes, the work features hundreds of cheap plastic clocks, each with its own imperfect little heart. Seconds come like a light rain, and minutes like brief hailstorms. Photo by Elena Kaludova.

This piece reminds me of another, Ligeti-inspired work which I helped Helsinki-based composer Libero Mureddi realize using Pure Data in 2006. Déploration pour la mort de G. L. is a rhythmical canon with 88 voices for Disklavier. Each key plays a constant tempo, the lowest being 40 bpm, with a 0.3 bpm increase per key, starting from low A.

The effect of this piece on the player piano is that dynamic ripples and reflections are created up and down the keyboard as keys move in and out of phase with each other. I think Libero was as startled as I was when we “performed” it for the first time during the Pd workshop!

Video by Egle Oddo.

Now Playing

Lars von TrierAntichirst[2009 film] (fucking wow!)

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Pure Data Workshop + FLOSS Manuals Book Sprint

Posted in Announcement on January 28th, 2010 by admin

Pure Data Workshop + FLOSS Manuals Book Sprint
Tusday 23 – Friday 26 February 2010, 17.00-22.00 [GMT +1]
NK Elsenstr. 52 2HH 2 Etage 12059 Berlin, Germany

Contact Derek Holzer: derek AT THE DOMAIN mob: +49(0)176 2812 5845
Or contribute online! #flossmanuals

Pure Data (or Pd) is a free + open source, real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing. Because all of these types of media are handled as data in the program, many fascinating opportunities for cross-synthesis between them exist. Pd is commonly used for live music performance, VeeJaying, sound effects composition, interfacing with sensors, cameras and robots or even interacting with websites.

A book sprint brings together a group of writers, editors and artists to produce a published book within several days. This sprint will combine a workshop within it, where new users will learn to create basic patches in Pd, documenting them along the way for the FLOSS Manual. This is an exciting opportunity both to acquire new skills as well as share them with others in the form of a book!

This sprint is a long-distance collaboration between FLOSS Manuals, the Berlin Pure Data users group and ITP/Tisch School of the Arts, New York.

Please bring your own laptop with Pure Data Extended installed. The workshop is free, with the expectation that participants will contribute to the FLOSS Manual.

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Posted in Announcement on December 30th, 2009 by admin

Just back from the beautiful (and internet-less) mountains of southern Bulgaria, loved every second of it. Found some small sound treasures there that I will post later on. In the meantime, I decided to pimp my page to see if it can generate some new interest in the workshops that I do.

For those who don’t know, the School of Everything is a website that got started a couple years ago in the UK as an alternative educational resource. The idea is simply to use the same kinds of social networking platform that others use to…um, well, uh, “tweet” and whatever it is they do with it, to hook up people who want to learn specific skills with those who can teach them.

In general, I find this self-education idea much closer to my own way of thinking than the traditional academic model. In fact, I’ve always maintained that the only thing that separates artists using technology now from David Tudor and the other electronic art pioneers of the 60s and 70s is the internet. Whereas Tudor, the Vasulkas, Buchla, Paik, Sandin and the rest had much more limited channels to find the information they needed, we have an almost limitless supply. Which is of course the other half of the problem–trying to get the signal out of the noise.

As a result of all this, the models of teaching and learning that I use have become quite tuned towards self-initiation and self-discovery. Having someone hand over all the answers to you doesn’t really stimulate the brain, and in fact could hardly be called learning at all. So most every lesson or workshop that I do is project-oriented, to encourage that process of teaching people to teach themselves.

You can check my teacher profile at:

And I have listed the following as one-on-one lessons:

Circuit Bending & DIY Electronics
Circuit Bending & DIY Electronics
Field Recording Techniques
Field Recording Techniques
Audio Recording & Post-Production with Ardour
Audio Recording & Post-Production with Ardour
Introduction to Pure Data
Introduction to Pure Data
Sound Art Technologies
Sound Art Technologies
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Pure Data Basics: a Project-Oriented Workshop

Posted in Announcement on February 10th, 2009 by admin

Pure Data Basics: a Project-Oriented Workshop with Derek Holzer

Wednesday 11 March – Sunday 15 March 2009
11.00-19.00 daily with one hour lunch break
Final presentation Sunday 15 March, 19.00

Location: eNKa / ElsenStr. 52 (2.Hof) Berlin, Germany
Telephone: +49 (0)176 20626386

Course Participation fee: 100 euros
Registration is required for this workshop and can only be done via email to:
Please register early to ensure a place. Places are limited to 12. Participants should indicate ahead of time what their background and areas of interest are (sound, video, sensors, etc) as well as give a short description of any project they might want to develop during the workshop.

Pure Data is a powerful, free and open-source software environment for producing and manipulating sound, image, data and connections to sensors, motors and other “physical computing” functions, all in real time. Because the programming is done visually, many artists find it a more intuitive tool than traditional text-oriented programming languages. This 5 day workshop will cover the basic “grammar” and “vocabulary” of the Pure Data language through a mix of lecture and demonstration in the mornings and project-based mentoring in the afternoons. This workshop is open to those with no previous computer programming experience, however basic computer literacy is assumed as well as a working familiarity with either digital audio or video. A manual-in-progress for Pure Data by Derek Holzer can be found here:


1) Meeting PD: the interface and how to play with it
2) Basic PD: participants learn to make a simple synthesizer, and learn basic PD grammar in the process
3) Workshop: discussions of examples and work on student projects

1) PD audio: more on oscillators, noise, delays, feedback, filters and signal analysis for all your sonic needs
2) Events in PD: participants explore the timing of events with sequencers, delays, messages
3) Workshop: discussions of examples and work on student projects

1) Working with soundfiles: loading audio for use in samplers, granulators and other file-based sound manipulation systems
2) Basic GEM: how to create simple 3D objects, play videos and get camera input
3) Workshop: discussions of examples and work on student projects

1) Physical PD: an introduction to physical computing using Pure Data alongside a microcontroller-based board such as the Arduino or xxxxxAVR/HID–or even a hacked USB gamepad–to work with sensors, motors, lights, etc.
2) Workshop: discussions of examples and work on student projects

1) Workshop: discussions of examples and work on student projects
2) The Wrap Up: public presentation of student works + closing party.



1) Laptop running Linux, OS X or Windows
2) Pure Data Extended installed from: (please make sure it is Extended package!)
3) Soundcard
4) Headphones


1) MIDI controller/keyboard
2) Microphone/piezoelectric contact microphone
3) USB Joystick/Gamepad
4) Sensors or other input devices (please bring your own sensors if you are interested in working with them, as only a few light sensors will be provided at the workshop)
5) Small motors or motor-driven objects
6) USB webcam/Firewire camera
7) Arduino boards (Available from Segor in Berlin: and/or the xxxxxAVR/HID board (, please inquire via the xxxxx webpage about preordering!)
8) Your own projects and ideas to realize!


Derek Holzer [USA 1972] is a sound artist with a background in radio, webstreaming and environmental recording. His work focuses on capturing and transforming small, unnoticed sounds from various natural and urban locations, networked collaboration strategies, experiments in improvisational sound and the use of free software such as Pure-Data. He has released tracks under the Nexsound, Sirr, and/OAR, Frozen Elephants Music, Mandorla and Gruenrekorder labels, and has co-initiated several internet projects for field recording and collaborative soundscapes including His recent projects include the opto-electronic audiovisual performance TONEWHEELS, solo performances for analog synthesizer and a manual for Pure Data. He was also co-curator of the Tuned City event for sound and architecture, which took place in Berlin during July 2008.

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Black Trashhhhh! DJ set + PD workshop this weekend

Posted in Announcement on April 23rd, 2008 by admin

Black Trashhhhh! DJ set 28.04.08

Next Monday I’m DJing some FUCKING METAL for a noise show organized by my favorite Attention Deficit Disorder victim in Berlin, Pato.

[click pic for big]

28/04/08 Black Trashhhhhh!

* xxxxx/mh/others
* Stupidity
* Penelopex
* Ent
* Macumbista DJ

+ guests

Madame Claude
Lubbener Str. 19
Kreuzberg Berlin
UBahn Schlesiches Tor

PD Sensor Workshop 26.04.08

April 26th 2PM: AVR/HID Sensor Input into Pure Data with Derek Holzer & Martin Howse

We will continue last month’s investigation of quick and cheap ways of getting sensor input into the Pure Data programming environment, using either USB game controllers or ATmega8 microcontrollers and the HID (Human Interface Device) protocol. Participants should bring the AVR/HID boards and/or hacked joysticks from the previous workshop. Those who did not attend the previous workshop are welcome, and ready made sensor boards can be purchased as part of the participation fee. Please RSVP to if you plan to attend, and indicate whether you will need a sensor input board for Saturday.

A few (!) sample sensors will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own sensors (light, pressure, motion, etc…) for experimentation. The Pure Data programming environment will be used to get the sensor information into the computer and map it to different parameters, ranging from MIDI to direct control of audio or video.

Windows users should be aware that the possibilities for input on their systems may be more restricted. GNU/Linux and Mac OS X users should not expect any problems.

Some links for those interested: (AVR/HID board documentation) (install PD-Extended 0.39 from here!) (comprehensive list of
sensors for musical use)

—What to bring:


1) Laptop running Linux, OS X or Windows (be advised that Windows users may have fewer possibilities)
2) Pure Data Extended 0.39 installed from: (please mind that it is Extended and 0.39!!!!)
3) Soundcard (internal or external, quality a non-issue)
4) Headphones
5) EUR 10 participation fee (+ 8 euros if you need a sensor board)


1) Sensors of any kind
2) USB game controller of any kind
3) Microphones or other sound inputs
4) Your own project ideas for discussion


A (more-or-less) weekly series of constructivist workshops emphasising making and connection within the field of the existent. Workshops led by field-expert practitioners extend over realms of code and embedded code, environmental code, noise, transmission and reception, and electromysticism. Workshops solely utilise free software and GNU toolbase.

xxxxx, pickledfeet, Linienstrasse 54, Berlin 10119

U2, Rosa-Luxemburg-Pl.
U8, Rosenthaler Pl.

Telephone: 3050187482.

Other News: blackdronoisemetalove in Copenhagen

This past month I’ve been on the road quite a bit. First I went to Copenhagen to play a couple sets for the very cool folks at the Co-Lab Gallery with my friend Morten Skrøder. For the curious, I’ve posted some rough MP3s here, and I’ll be meeting Morten again in CPH on 5 May to do some more jamming and recording! Each recording is approx 25 min long…

Macumbista & Skroeder, blackdronoisemetalove I, Co-Lab Gallery Copenhagen, 22.03.08 (33 Mb)
Macumbista & Skroeder, blackdronoisemetalove II, Co-Lab Gallery Copenhagen, 22.03.08 (41 Mb)

Sorry, still waiting for photos… Listen for the part in the first set where the irate upstairs neighbor came down to bitch us out! The mics were next to the drinks, so you might also hear the occasional Kroner getting tossed in the box…

Other News: Pure Data in Croatia

Then I spent a crazy week on the Croatian island of Korcula to work on a beginner’s manual for the Pure Data software with Luka Princic and Adam Hyde (remotely). Results to be published soon at FLOSS Manuals. Here’s me, hard at work on my sunburn during one of the days we managed to escape the laptops…

Other News: Tuned City Performances

And for the next couple months I’ll be super-busy organizing the performance program for an event about sound and architecture called Tuned City, which will take place in Berlin from 1-5 July 2008. So far, we are very happy to be able to invite Randy H.Y. Yau & Scott Arford, Thomas Ankersmit & Antoine Chessex, BJ Nilsen & Chris Watson, Mark Bain, Staalplaat Sound System, Martin Howse, Jacob Kirkegaard, Leif E. Boman, Harold Schellinx, Lasse Marc Riek and many others… you can subscribe to the Tuned City news list via the website and get updates. Hope to see some of y’all there!

Now Reading

J.G. BallardWar Fever
Phillip K. DickThe Eye of the Sibyl: The Collected Stories of Phillip K. Dick Volume 5
Denis JohnsonTree of Smoke

Now Playing

Daniel MencheGlass Forest CD [Important Records]
Daniel MencheBodymelt LP [Important Records]
BJ Nilsen & StilluppsteypaPassing Out CD [Helen Scarsdale]
Dead Black ArmsLike the Night of Thunder and Rain MP3 []

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