For the past two winters, CDM has joined with Berlin’s CTM Festival to invite musical participants to grow beyond themselves. Working in freshly-composed collaborations, they’ve built new performances in a matter of days, then presented them to the world – as of last year, in a public, live show.

This year, they will work even more deeply inside themselves, finding the interfaces between body and music, biology and sound.

And that means we’re inviting everyone from choreographers to neuroscientists to apply, as much as musicians and code makers. Playing with the CTM theme of “Un Tune,” the project will this year encourage participants to imagine biology as sonic system, sound in its bodily effects, and otherwise connect embodiment to physical reality.

Joining me is Baja California-born Leslie Garcia, a terrific sound artist and maker who has already gone from participating in last year’s lab to organizing her own in her native Mexico. You can glimpse her below looking like a space sorceress of some kind, and hear the collaborative work she made last winter.

The 2014 hacklab's output, all wired up for the performance. Photo: CTM Festival.

The 2014 hacklab’s output, all wired up for the performance. Photo: CTM Festival.

We don’t know what people will propose or what meaning they will find out of that theme, but it might include stuff like this:

  • Human sensors (Galvanic Skin Response, EKG, EEG, eye movement, blood pressure, resporation and mechanomyogram or MMG)
  • Biofeedback systems
  • Movement sensors
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Aural and optical stimulation
  • Data sonification
  • Novel physical controllers
  • Dance performance, breathing techniques, and other physical practices

Or as CTM puts it, they will navigate “the spectrum between bio-acoustics, field recordings, ambient, flicker, brainwave entrainment, binaural beats, biofeedback, psychoacoustics, neo-psychedelia, hypnotic repetition, noise, and sub-bass vibrations” to both address and disturb the body.

And what I do know is, the most effective work will come out of new collaborations, new unexpected partnerships across fields – because that’s been my consistent experience with hacklabs past, as with the spatial sound project we did last month in Amsterdam or the CTM collaboration 2014, which I’ll document a little later this month.

Leslie is a great example of that. She initiated a collaboration with Stefano Testa at the hacklab in January/February. They produced, in a few short days, “Symphony for Small Machine” – exactly the sort of irreverent project we hoped would spring out of the week. Have a look:


And check out lots of other work talking to plants and bacteria and harnessing free and open source software:



Apply to this year’s open call:


December 12 is the deadline – yep, I know what a big part of my Christmas season will be about this year, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

And hope to see some of you in Berlin.

Follow the MusicMakers project on Facebook – I’ve been lax about updating this page, but will do so again!