GMU:Tired Machines Orchestra

From Medien Wiki


Lecturer: Christian Doeller

Credits: 6 ECTS, 2 SWS

Dates: October 20-22, November 3-5

Times: Friday 9:30 - 17:00, Saturday / Sunday 13:00 - 17:00

Venue: DIY Electronics Lab, Bauhausstr. 15, basement

First meeting: October 20, 9.30 (excursion)


Video Link:



Tired Machines Orchestra - Work in Progress
Tired Machines Orchestra - Work in Progress

Tired machines, exhausted, worn out and carelessly discarded on the garbage dumps of our consumer paradises find their way into a new, cultivated afterlife. They play the first violins, flutes and basses of a post-apocalyptic ensemble, the Tired Machines Orchestra.

This course is for anyone who feels sorry for technical devices on the margins of society; for hardware hackers, tinkerers, musicians, DIY electronic enthusiasts, and anyone who wants to become one. Plunder your basements and bring your unloved or broken cassette players, kitchen appliances, printers, hair dryers or fans, disassemble them and turn them into soundful musical instruments.

This is a hands-on course. We will explore fundamentals of DIY-electronics, sensing, and microcontroller programming; look at upcycling, destruction, transformation, and recovery processes; and examine sustainable strategies in media art. As part of the seminar, we will go on a field trip to a local electronics recycling company. There we will learn about the process of disposing and recycling e-waste and go on the hunt for materials to experiment with.

Tired Machines Orchestra is a block module that will take place over two weekends (October 20-22, November 3-5). Prototypes are to be developed independently in between our meetings. Requirements: Punctuality, regular attendance and a fascination for electronics, sound experiments and tinkering. Open to all disciplines, no prior knowledge necessary.

The finale of the course will be a collective concert. CONCERT OF THE TIRED MACHINES


Artists / Links:

  • Ei Wada / Open Reel Ensemble [1]
  • Electronicos Fantasticos [2]
  • The Floppotron [3]
  • Darsha Hewitt [4]
  • Zimoun [5]
  • Look Mum No Computer [6]
  • Tarek Atoui [7]
  • Angelika Hoeger [8]
  • Anna Schimkat [9]
  • John Cage [10]
  • Gil Delindro [11]
  • Thessia Machado [12]
  • Samson Young [13]
  • Christian Faubel [14]
  • Electric Waste Orchestra [15]
  • .... ---> please extend this list


October 20, 9:30 – 17:00

- excursion to e-waste recycling facility
- examples, positions, artists
- tear down session

October 21, 13:00 – 17:00

- DIY electronics basics
- open tinkering session

October 22, 13:00 – 17:00

- Arduino basics / motor controllers
- open tinkering session
- preview of prototypes

October 22 – November 3

- self-guided work on prototypes

November 3, 9:30 – 17:00

- updates of prototype status
- open tinkering session

November 4, 13:00 – 17:00

- open tinkering session

November 5, 13:00 – 17:00

- finalization
- concert



  • Basics of electronics and hardware hacking
  • Getting started with Arduino
  • Getting familiar with motor drivers, relays and MOSFETs

Art & Thinking:

  • Contemporary (media) art positions that relate to the subject matter
  • Media Art & Sustainability, e-waste, hardware hacking



  • please bring your laptop / computer
  • please bring your Arduino hardware and electronics (if available)
  • bring a disused / unloved device to experiment with and keep your eyes open on the streets ;)

Language & skill level:

  • The module will be held in English, unless all participants are speaking German.
  • No prior knowledge of electronics/programming is required.

Criteria for passing:

  • be on time, attend the classes
  • self-guided work between our meetings
  • document exercises on the wiki
  • take part in the Tired Machines Orchestra