LeatherSynths (2013)

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A parallel universe that separated from ours roughly 200 years ago, around 1800 when electricity was being discovered and the first electronic devices were being invented. In this universe communities made a point of developing local electronics that drew upon on regional resources and production methods. The design and function of these electronics were strongly influenced by cultural tradition and ritual. As cultural goods, these electronic devices have quaintness to their functionality, a property not existing our own universe.

During an artist-in-residency at Subnet in Salzburg/Austria I explore how regional materials, traditions and crafts could have affected and even now could still inspire regional electronics with quaint functionality. Building functional electronic artifacts of this nature to demonstrate an imaginary alternative that is regional instead of global, traditional instead of industrial. Not only to look at the integration of electronics and craft on a material and process level, but also explore the influences of locality on the design and functionality of the things we build.

What kinds of devices would have been conceived and handcrafted in Lungau? What materials would have been used to make electronics in Salzburg Stadt? What gadgets might have arisen from regions such as Pinzgau and Flachgau? What influence could regional, traditional and cultural heritage have on the development of electronic technology today?

This work was realized as part of a Subnet Artist-in-Residency in Salzburg, Austria