The Art of Imperfection – Circuit-bending and lomography

I’ve come across two things recently that have captured my imagination.

  1. Circuit-bending
  1. Lomography

Circuit bending according to Wikipedia is:
Circuit bending is the creative, DIY (Do It Yourself) short-circuiting of electronic devices such as low voltage, battery-powered guitar effects, children’s toys and small digital synthesizers to create new musical instruments and sound generators.

Lomography according to Wikipedia is:
Lomography emphasizes casual, snapshot photography. Characteristics such as over-saturated colors, off-kilter exposure, blurring, “happy accidents,” and alternative film processing are often considered part of the “Lomographic Technique.

The link between the two:

Neither of these things are new, but also neither of them are mainstream. Circuit-bending has existed since the 1960s and lomography is a creative pursuit that kicked off in the 1990s using cameras originally built in the 1980s.

Circuit-bending and lomography are two different disciplines (although discipline isn’t a word that sits well with either of them) – one is visual, and the other is technical/musical – but they both appeal to me for the same reason.

In both Lomography and Circuit bending, you have to give up a certain amount of control and you have to take risks. I think these are great skills to learn. In Lomography, you can shoot a roll of film to be left without anything usable. In Circuit-bending you can spend days rewiring an instrument only to connect the wrong two points together and destroy the thing permanently.

The people who love these pursuits know the risks. They know that their time and money may amount to nothing but they still explore. They explore with an open mind and an open heart. This is what Art is really about – focus on discovery, forget the end product and the end product will be better than you could possibly imagine.