From behind the long-gone, so-called “iron curtain,” nearly-lost musical innovation is beginning to become available. But perhaps more than any geo-political change, the power of an Internet-based community hungry to share knowledge is making national borders that once isolated information melt away.
Earlier this week, I shared reflections I wrote up for Amsterdam’s STEIM on the significant of DIY Music. But one group of artists, the Standuino team from Brno, Czech Republic, really exemplified that spirit. First off, their hardware is utterly brilliant and eminently practical, an Arduino-based platform on which they’ve made it easy to create and modify designs, and share useful tools like the sampler they demonstrated for us in Amsterdam. Secondly, they’re international – the performance brought together a Brazilian, Czech, and Dutch artist in their presentation. Third, they took “DIY” straight to the transportation, hitchhiking all the way from Brno to Amsterdam to be part of our performance, for which we’re all incredibly grateful!
The Standuino crew emphasize that they also wish to make the innovation of the Czech people more visible to the rest of the world. You know Bob Moog or Morton Subotnick, for instance, but do you know the name Standa Filip?
You should. The maker of extensive DIY instruments, interactive work, robotic installations, and new media, Standa (hence Standuino) is inspiring a new generation of artists – first in the Czech Republic, eventually in the world. Those artists, led by Standuino, are recreating some of his work, as well as making new work that carries on his spirit.
Check out the videos here to see him talk about his history and play his instruments, then learn more – and find the Arduino-based hardware designs, which I’ll cover more next week – at the Standuino site:
But there you go – from Rio to Singapore, once I hit publish, just about anybody can learn what it was like to be a lone DIYer in Communist Czechoslovakia – then go find open source ideas with which they can make music from the new generation of creators in the Czech Republic, in a matter of seconds.
Yeah, we overhype the Internet. But that’s pretty damned awesome. I’m going out in the sunshine now for a bit, because that’s awesome, too, but I’m pretty happy that I get to make this my day job. And thanks to you for making that possible, because with you as a reader, none of this would be true.