MAKE SOME NOISE! SMARTlab’s Recycled Orchestra workshops transformed ‘junk’ this Summer at the Stratford ‘Red Hot Summer of Music Festival’ and at the Royal Festival Hall

SMARTlab is leading the ‘digital materialisation’ workshops where technology meets streetsmarts and where local groups come to learn to make musical instruments from junk and to play. People of all ages and musical abilities took part this summer and recent events have taken place at our lab in the Docklands, at festivals and have streamed live to Harlem, New York. Workshops have been led by musicians Robbie Perry of ‘Dead Can Dance’, Colm O’Snodaigh of KILA, Cheryl Alleyne-‘percussionist extraordinaire’, and with Toby Borland (expert in digital materialisation), et al.

The Stratford ‘Red Hot Summer of Music Festival’ brought these teams together for the first time, where music met and transformed ‘junk’ on 15-16 August 2008. The workshops, organised by SMARTlab, aim to show that making instruments and music from everyday junk can be easy, accessible and fun, demonstrating how both simple and intricate instruments can quickly be created.

Professor Lizbeth Goodman, Director of SMARTlab and winner of this year’s Blackberry Outstanding Woman in Technology Award, said: “The Recycled Orchestra is a wonderful way of using new technology and simple techniques to bring people together in music making with minimal demand on our environment. Through recycling, we can create really interesting, new musical instruments”.

Participants at the Stratford Centre were taught how to make a range of instruments, before enjoying a musical jam/orchestra session at the end of the two-day workshop.

MAKE SOME NOISE! was showcased at the Newham Arts Festival, Royal Festival Hall on 11 July, with special performances from African Footprint International.

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