[Photo: Anne Helmond]
Crackle-canvas is an ongoing electronics project of the Netherlands-based media artist Tom Verbruggen (aka token). This endeavour playfully challenges the conventions of artistic consumption by reimagining gallery space as an interactive musical playground rather than an arena of sullen observation. Each Crackle-canvasis a modular ‘synthesizer painting’ equipped with switches and knobs that allow rudimentary control over the sound generated by the device. While these objects can be played individually, things get considerably more interesting when they are patched together into a collaborative cacaphony. Verbruggen has developed several iterations of these devices that range from stark white minimalist surfaces to more colourful, user-friendly controllers complete with graphic prompts for novice operators. While there is an abundance of video documentation of the artist performing on arrays of these controllers, the work is most interesting when there is are participants involved – the above image from a recent exhibit in Paris speaks to the type of engagement these objects engender.
Project documentation for Crackle-canvas can be found here here (see also Verbruggen’s Tomstick v3 audio controller and Module #1, a gloriously crude wooden step sequencer). Crackle Canvas was just featured in In Famous Carousel: Destruction et Réassemblage at La Gaîté Lyrique alongside work by Benjamin Gaulon and Freeka Tet.