ISEA2011 WORKSHOP: Touchstone Audio Exciter

Touchstone Audio Exciter

Workshop Leader: Prof. Thomas Asmuth
2nd Leader: James Stone

In this workshop, participants will learn to build a wearable audio technology experiment proposed by the partners of Mr. Bricolage ( The Touchstone is a mobile and tactical media broadcast platform worn on the hands of performers and activists. Touchstone is a strategy for contesting the urban/performance landscape rather than a product. The workshop will consist of demonstrations, discussions about strategies for use, and most importantly a hands on workshop to build Touchstone devices. The culmination of the workshop will be a local performance and/or action. The workshop is open to all levels of experience in electronics (beginners are very welcome). We also encourage local activists, artists, and performers to contact us if they are interested in participating, but may have limitations to attending.

The technology of Touchstone is built upon audio exciter circuits embedded in gloves which transform the hands of an agent into broadcast transmitters. Touchstone agents activate objects as temporary/ad-hoc public address systems, by simply pressing their palms against it. Touchstone is a discrete technology platform: (1) it is virtually invisible on the garb of a performer/agent and (2) it is light and flexible; agents or performers can easily move (or escape). Moreover, it is a cinch to produce; the system does not require advanced electronics knowledge and is easily assembled from surplus, inexpensive, and/or widely available consumer technology.

A limited number of additional kits may be available for workshop participants at cost.
Bios of the Presenters
Thomas Asmuth is an artist working from the southern United States. His work centers around the culture and aesthetics of science and technology, social practice, and performance. His other current projects include autonomous robotics, an exploration of the identity of the ‘Space Race’ generation through portraits and imaging, and gaming interventions.  He is an alumnus of the CADRE Laboratory for New Media and the San Francisco Art Institute. Asmuth’s projects and collaborations have been exhibited internationally including: 01SJ (‘06 and ‘08), Laguna Art Museum, the Tang Teaching Museum, and Transmediale09. Thomas Asmuth is a principle contributor in the development of the digital media curriculum at the University of West Florida as a Visiting Assistant Professor.

James Stone is an artist and University Fellow at the Pennsylvania State University. He is a graduate of the CADRE program at San Jose State University and a former Java programmer of 10 years. He is an advocate of Open Source hardware and software such as the Arduino microcontroller and the Processing programming language and environment.  He was recently awarded a summer residency at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at the Pennsylvania State University to continue work on his thesis project investigating Cyborg Plants. He was a partner on the Floating World temporary public art project jointly sponsored by the San Jose Arts Commission and the 01sj Art and Technology Festival and also served as Faculty for Eyebeam Roadshow at 01sj 2010.

Posted by:  Ebru Surek