Modified Toy Orchestra explores the hidden potential and surplus value latent inside redundant technology: a process creating sophisticated new electronic instruments from abandoned children’s toys. They have been at the forefront of a worldwide underground movement called circuit bending which involves rescuing children’s electronic toys and converting them into new, strange and wonderfully sophisticated musical instruments. Taking them apart, you find new connections hidden within each toy’s circuits that reveal new sounds, exposing the surplus value of redundant technology. Toys are reassembled, including switches and dials with which to control this surplus value. The results of this process can be shockingly beautiful, funny and also extreme. It is rare to hear an electronic live performance that has no midi, no sampling, no synthesizers, no laptops, in fact no conventional instruments of any kind.
Brian Duffy is a conceptual artist, whose work involves live performance/installations/original music composition/and the creation of new musical instruments. Central themes in the work explore the limits of human sense data and the notion of perceptual habit. This work reveals the hidden world around us, by utilising modified and self-built apparatus.
His previous work has included the Optophonic Lunaphone: A new musical instrument that uses six specially adapted telescopes; sensors built into the eye pieces convert the light from stars into sound – this information returns to a central control panel, allowing each sound to be manipulated and played in real time.
Christopher Plant is video/visual artist and has been doing live visuals since 1991, and using vvvv almost since its open beta release, as a result the first ten years of visuals were mainly organic and real world, the past few years have become increasingly synthetic. Currently his main expression of VJ is with the Modified Toy Orchestra of which he has has been a vital member since 2006,
Chris makes custom visuals for a variety of events and shows, and also does quite a lot of bespoke multitouch and tracking systems. Chris designs and works on visuals for the most innovative clients.
Darren Joyce is a sound artist and half of the duo called Dreams of Tall buildings, he has been releasing and making sound art for the last eleven years. He has made site-specific installations ranging from collaborations with New Art Gallery Walsall, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Ikon and Sonic Arts Network worked with such artists as Joseph Byrd (fluxus & USA), award winning artist Arve Henriksen and currently co runs doTb’s own record label MuseuM with fellow doTb artist J Wiggan. He has been co directing, writing, building/modifing and performing with Modified Toy Orchestra for the last six years.
Graeme Rose is a freelance performer and theatre maker, director, producer and teacher, with history of making new, devised work – often in non-theatre spaces. He is co-founder of: glory what glory theatre co. (1988-91), Stan’s Cafe Theatre (1991) and The Resurrectionists (1996). He regularly tours with Stan’s Cafe, performing the current devised show The Cleansing of Constance Brown and also Of All the People in All the World, aka The Rice Show. He joined the Modified Toy Orchestra in 2009.
Laurence Hunt has been the drummer and fellow modifier in Modified Toy Orchestra for the last four years, also he is in the critically acclaimed Birmingham based band Pram. He has performed all over the world from Poland and Portugal to Seville and St Petersburg he just finished his MA in music composition.
Sean Tighe is a facilitator, event organiser and has been a member of Modified Toy Orchestra since 2009 after four years of being their Production Assistant.