Kraakavera: A Tribute to Michel Waisvisz

Juan P Martinez Avila

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

  • Year: 2023
  • Location: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Track: Demos
  • Pages: 644–645
  • Article Number: 97
  • PDF link

Abstract:

The Kraakavera (a portmanteau of Kraakdoos—aka the Crackle box, and “calavera”—i.e., skull in Spanish) is an instrument that honours Michel Waisvisz’s memory by tributing one of his classic instruments—an exemplary of circuit bending that originated from STEIM in the 1960s. Inspired by the original design which used six metal contacts as inputs, I have used conductive paint to paint six pads on a ceramic skull which interact with the Kraakdoos circuit (using a uA709 IC). The skull depicts a sugar skull which is a traditional Mexican sweet that is often seen in altars to honour diseased relatives and loved ones during the Day of the Dead, but that is also consumed as a treat by children during these festivities. In this case, I have constructed an altar for Waisvisz, which doubles as an instrument, where the sugar skull—the centrepiece of the altar (below a picture of Waisvisz) serves both as traditional decoration but also the main point of contact with the instrument. Hence, the altar invites the musician to pay their respects by playing the instrument through the sugar skull. The Kraakavera also features a second mode which can be accessed by patching the skull’s inputs to another circuit which features a Trill Craft capacitive sensing board and a Bela board, which processes a secondary sound output consisting of a sample of a ceramic whistle running through a granular synthesizer patched in Pure Data (corresponding to the six pads on the skull). Lastly, the Kraakavera presents a syncretism of Mexican folklore and circuit bending traditions and a juxtaposition of classic and upcoming DMIs.

Citation:

Juan P Martinez Avila. 2023. Kraakavera: A Tribute to Michel Waisvisz. Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. DOI:

BibTeX Entry:

  @article{nime2023_97,
 abstract = {The Kraakavera (a portmanteau of Kraakdoos—aka the Crackle box, and “calavera”—i.e., skull in Spanish) is an instrument that honours Michel Waisvisz’s memory by tributing one of his classic instruments—an exemplary of circuit bending that originated from STEIM in the 1960s. Inspired by the original design which used six metal contacts as inputs, I have used conductive paint to paint six pads on a ceramic skull which interact with the Kraakdoos circuit (using a uA709 IC). The skull depicts a sugar skull which is a traditional Mexican sweet that is often seen in altars to honour diseased relatives and loved ones during the Day of the Dead, but that is also consumed as a treat by children during these festivities. In this case, I have constructed an altar for Waisvisz, which doubles as an instrument, where the sugar skull—the centrepiece of the altar (below a picture of Waisvisz) serves both as traditional decoration but also the main point of contact with the instrument. Hence, the altar invites the musician to pay their respects by playing the instrument through the sugar skull. The Kraakavera also features a second mode which can be accessed by patching the skull’s inputs to another circuit which features a Trill Craft capacitive sensing board and a Bela board, which processes a secondary sound output consisting of a sample of a ceramic whistle running through a granular synthesizer patched in Pure Data (corresponding to the six pads on the skull). Lastly, the Kraakavera presents a syncretism of Mexican folklore and circuit bending traditions and a juxtaposition of classic and upcoming DMIs.},
 address = {Mexico City, Mexico},
 articleno = {97},
 author = {Juan  P Martinez Avila},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression},
 editor = {Miguel Ortiz and Adnan Marquez-Borbon},
 issn = {2220-4806},
 month = {May},
 numpages = {2},
 pages = {644--645},
 title = {Kraakavera: A Tribute to Michel Waisvisz},
 track = {Demos},
 url = {http://nime.org/proceedings/2023/nime2023_97.pdf},
 year = {2023}
}