tonight and next week in nyc (mailing list archive)


Last chance to see the Rube Goldberg chain reaction machine we built into the halls and stairways and rooms of Flux Factory. The machine that always works perfectly and never fails! 8pm tonight at Flux, 39-31 29th St, Long Island City, Queens, NYC. I made the camera contraption that photographs the disheveled audience at the very end of the chain.
video here:


It’s Terry Dame’s Weird Wednesdays, the only concert series so weird thatWednesday falls on a Thursday. This month it’s Weird Wednesday All Stars, ten or more composer-musician-tinkerers playing their odd and/or homemade instruments in various groups and combos. I’ll be among them, with whirling noisemakers and a Typeatune duet with toy pianist Phyllis Chen. 7:30pm Thursday Jan 29 at Barbès, 379 9th St at 6th Av in Brooklyn.


Ab Uno Pluribus is WvS’s experimental music concert series in which he flings together musicians / sound artists / whatevers for solo and joint improvisations accompanied by live video art. I’ll be joining two intimidatingly awesome musicians: Jazz wind player Daniel Carter and gong / percussionist Michael Jay, with a homemade tromba marina and random videos live off the internet. I hope it works. That’s 7:30pm, Saturday Jan 31 at The Three Jewels, 61 4th Avenue, 3rd floor (between 9th and 10th streets).


Since you asked, my experimental poetry installation pentametron will be in a show at Boston Cyberarts, opening Friday February 27th. There’ll be a live twitter stream, a bunch of live sonnet generators, and an impressively weighty tome of pentametron’s past work. Also maybe a surprise virus. More on this when the time gets closer.


Please let me know!
– Ranjit

p.s. you can find my outdated web site, as always, at, and twitter

p.p.s. wildly colorful junk mail [see the colorful version here] inspired by Angela Washko’s mailing list mails, which taught me that it’s possible to subvert these corporate mail templates. She does it better, though. Check ’em out!

noisy spring update (from the mailing list)

It’s spring, and the 17 year cicadas are coming soon. It’s going to be a noisy June!

Singing Room instruments

I recently showed my installation, “Singing Room for a Shy Person”, at the Clocktower Gallery in New York. Singing Room was commissioned by the Métamatic Research Initiative, and I’d been working on it for more than two years! It’s moving to the Tinguely Museum in Basel this Fall, along with all the other Métamatic commissioned works – if you happen to be in the area between October and February, please check it out! Here’s some more info about the thing:

I’ve got two big projects coming up next! First, in a few weeks, I’m going to Paris to meet up with a bunch of artists, architects, builders, and musicians to build CONCERT HALL – a sound sculpture shipwreck, a big walk-through experience made from salvaged materials and robotic instruments, and we kind of need your help to make it work. It’s opening next month at one of the largest contemporary art centers in Europe: the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Even though this is a huge museum, they are opening twenty exhibitions all at once as part of their Nouvelles Vagues programming, and museum budgets being what they are, they weren’t able to offer us the full budget they had initially discussed.

Here’s a concept rendering of the thing:
Concept rendering for Concert Hall

We have been attempting to raise an extra $7000 through Rockethub, which is realistically the amount we need. As of now, we have 2 days left and it doesn’t look too likely that we’ll make it to that amount. However, with Rockethub, unlike Kickstarter, it is not all or nothing. Every little bit will help, and if we can make it to the half-way point, we at least know we’ll be able to provide for ourselves in terms of lodging and groceries during our stay in Paris. I know many of you have given already – thank you! It has not gone unnoticed, and we appreciate it!

Others, if you can spare just $10 each, it will really help us make this ambitious project possible. Please contribute if you’re intrigued – note that we’ve got some neat gifts for contributors!

The other big project, which I’m just as excited about, is the revival of SiSSYFiGHT 2000, the online multiplayer game I helped make way back in the late ’90s! It was a weird, disturbing, and fun game that had a lot of enthusiastic fans until we had to close it down a few years ago. Now we’ve raised money on kickstarter to rewrite the game in modern web technologies and give it all away as open source code. We’ve made our funding goal, but if you’d like to kick in a few bucks to reserve your SiSSYFiGHT username, or to help us reach our stretch goals, or to get some fun prizes, we’d be grateful!

Note for web readers: you can sign up to receive these email updates at I’ve been meaning for years to move this mailing list to a fancier mail service. Hopefully I’ll get it done soon. If you sign up here and later get a letter from MailChimp asking you to confirm your subscription to my mailing list, don’t be alarmed! I hope you’ll choose to continue receiving the updates.

I always love hearing what you are up to – please keep in touch. You know how to reach me! Feel free to add me to your own announcement lists if you use such things.

February! (from the mailing list)

Stuff is going on in February!

* On Wednesday Feb. 6, I’m speaking about @pentametron, my twitter poetry bot, at the Dorkbot NYC lecture series. Pentametron has been running for almost a year now, and has digested about sixteen billion tweets and excreted more than ten thousand rhymed couplets of iambic pentameter. Pentametron got a new burst of press coverage lately, including a feature in TechCrunch, but the best one if you’re curious about how it works is Max Read’s article at Or come to my talk, next Wednesday night at 7! More press coming soon.

* I’m teaching two classes at NYC Resistor – on Saturday the 16th, embroider your own electronic cloth organ, and on Sunday the 17th, make whistles with a laser cutter! Details and pictures and videos at

* With NYC Resistor we’re reviving the full moon lantern festival on Sunday February 24 after dark. We’ll hold a lantern-making workshop on Friday or Saturday – watch for details. Meanwhile, here’s my ancient web page with ancient pictures from the 2002 and 2003 lanternfests.

* And of course, just like every year, I’m planning to make a new musical instrument (or noisemaker) every day of the month. Do you know a good venue where I could perform with a bunch of new instruments in early March? Do you want to join me in making or performing? Get in touch! Everything will be documented at moonmilk and my flickr page, and you can see all the instruments from the last 5 years of Instrument-a-day at on moonmilk.

Farther afield: in March I’m going to Basel for the Metamatic Research Initiative’s symposium at the Tinguely Museum; in May and June I’m joining the mad artists of Flux Factory and Rabid Hands to build a big sound sculpture conglomeration at the Palais de Tokyo Museum in Paris; and in September, it’s back to Tinguely Museum to install my sound piece commissioned by Metamatic. More on that soon, but here’s a teaser image:

preview of Singing Room

laser whistles

lantern festival

MoMA John Cage Day this Thursday

This Thursday, August 9th, is John Cage Day at the Museum of Modern Art. Lots of great stuff going on – all the info is here:

My toy piano robot will be playing Satie’s Vexations throughout the day, trying to reach 840 repetitions. Here’s a teaser video:


I hope you can come to John Cage Day!

Other stuff: My sound sculpture for the BWAC Outdoor Sculpture Show is up at East River State Park for another month or so. Here’s a video:

Coming up in September: a sound installation at the Asian American Artists Alliance festival. No video yet, maybe soon…

(mailing list archive) Spring update

Things are happening!

* My robot toy piano has a couple of gigs coming up:

This coming Wednesday, June 6, at Roulette in Brooklyn:
Satie and Satie-inspired music from John Cage, Federico Mompou, Toby Twining and Milos Raickovich
Margaret Leng Tan, piano and toy piano
Roberto Rossi, narrator
Ranjit Bhatnagar, sound artist

And then on Thursday, August 9, at the Museum of Modern Art’s John Cage Day:
Celebrate the centenary of legendary artist, composer, philosopher, and writer John Cage with a series of readings, performances, musical compositions, and personal reflections by poets, writers, musicians, and scholars. Participants include writer and editor Richard Kostelantez; Joan Retallack, John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Humanities, Bard College; pianist and toy-piano virtuoso Margaret Leng Tan; and poet, editor, and curator Roger van Voorhees.

* The Music Box, the sound sculpture shantytown I worked on in New Orleans last year, is open to visitors again this summer, and the final performances there are happening soon. If you’re going to be in New Orleans, check it out:

* My wind-powered sound sculpture, “Trumpet Marine”, will be hanging out in Williamsburg’s East River Park this summer as part of BWAC’s Outdoor Sculpture Show, probably starting in July. More on that soon! Meanwhile, here’s a video of the thing at the Figment Festival last year:

* I made a little algorithm that uses Twitter’s Streaming API to read millions of tweets per day (about 500 per second!) in search of the tiny fraction that happen to be in iambic pentameter. Out of those, it selects rhymed couplets and retweets them in an endless crowdsourced sonnet. You can follow it at and
Pentametron got some nice coverage from the Poetry Foundation –
And this interview in Gawker explains how it works:
It even got a tweet from the Globe Theater!

* In September I’ll have an installation in the Asian American Arts Alliance’s “Locating the Sacred” Festival, and I’ll be doing a residency at Albuquerque Open Space as part of the ISEA electronic arts festival.

* …and I discovered that Electric Violin Lutherie has created a real violin inspired by my amateur 8-bit violin. That’s the kind of thing that makes me love open source design.

(mailing list archive) toy piano fest tomorrow — and more

Tomorrow is the first day of the Uncaged Toy Piano Festival, organized and curated by Phyllis Chen. I don’t know how I can share a stage with heroes of toy piano like Phyllis and Margaret Leng Tan, but I’ll be doing a few pieces with toy player pianos that I developed at the Queens Museum Sound Art Residency this summer. I’ll also be bringing my robot toy piano to perform Satie’s “Vexations“, and demoing the Resistor JelTone, a working toy piano made of Jello. The festival runs tomorrow (Tuesday 11/29), Thursday (12/1) and Saturday (12/3) at three different venues in Manhattan, and you can get all the details at

In a week or so I’ll be going back to New Orleans to see a performance at the sound sculpture shantytown I worked on in September. The New Orleans Airlift brought a bunch of artists to build a little village of musical instruments out of the wreckage of an 18th century house, and invited local musicians to perform with/on/in them! There’s a teaser video from the first performance — you can hear & see my piece, a set of amplified squeaky floorboards, providing the bass line starting at about 1:22. The project was covered in the New York Times last week, and you can read all about it at Next week will be my first chance to hear and see the completed shantytown!

In October I set up a show of my greenmarket scanography images at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library at Grand Army Plaza, along with two amazing photographers in the (Un)Still Life exhibit. There’s just one week left before the show comes down after this weekend, so please visit if you’re in Brooklyn. I had some of my images printed huge for the first time – more than 5 feet tall for one of them! And I had fun putting together a grid of almost 200 little tiny prints – check out the installation timelapse. By the way, all the prints are for sale, and a portion goes to benefit the library.

…and then I went to Europe, to talk about my work at VU Amsterdam’s lecture series with the Metamatic Research Initiative, and to show a piece I made for Artbots in Gent, Belgium. I haven’t really had time to collect my thoughts – or my photos – since I got back, but you can see a recording of my talk at, and I have a silly video demonstrating the Voice Extruder, an installation which translates visitors’ voices into little sculptures, which are immediately fabricated for the visitor to take home. The Voice Extruder is an offshoot of my work for Metamatic, about which I’ll have much more to say soon! The day after I got back from Europe, I took the Voice Extruder to Baltimore for the Exploratorium’s Tinkerers’ Ball.

And what are you up to? Keep in touch!

* shantytown photo by Mellissa Strkyer — see lots more photos from the New Orleans project at the dithyrambalina blog.

busy summer!

Last month I went to the Lightning Field, brought Sketching Device #1 to the Peabody Essex Museum, and spoke at the Sketching in Hardware conference. Now I really have to get to work.

In September, I’ll be making a wave-powered sound sculpture for the Dumbo Arts Festival (September 23-25). Also showing a bunch of big prints from my produce scan series in the show “(Un)Still Life” at the lobby gallery at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch (September-December). And going to New Orleans to install a sound sculpture in Swoon’s musical house project (opening October 15th). Hopefully I’ll have time for Maker Faire in there somewhere (September 17-18). And I’ll be sending good vibes (and probably laser whistles) to the Festival of Music for People and Thingamajigs in the Bay Area (September 22-25). Then in October, I’ll be going to the Netherlands to speak at VU University Amsterdam and to show a piece at Artbots Gent (October 7-9), and in December, I’ll have a couple of pieces and maybe an installation in Phyllis Chen’s Uncaged Toy Piano Festival in NYC.

So now I’d better get some rest.

(mailing list archive) noises of summer

I saw a firefly a few days ago, so it’s summer now, whatever the calendar says. Last weekend was the annual Figment Festival on Governors Island, and I brought back my 2008 wind-powered sound sculpture in a new cyborg body. Here’s a video:

I was lucky to be chosen as one of the Queens Museum of Art‘s sound art residents this month, so I’ve been working with my collection of vintage automatic music toys, and I’ll give a presentation/performance this Saturday (June 18th) at 5pm. The performance is free, but come early and check out the rest of the museum, including the famous Panorama of the City of New York! Event into:

Here’s the toy collection:

The following weekend, I’ll be at the Solid Sound Festival at Mass MoCA (North Adams, MA) as part of Peter Kirn’s Handmade Music Lounge:

Coming up in July: a workshop at the Peabody Essex Museum near Boston, the Sketching in Hardware conference in Philadelphia, and a field trip to the Lightning Field in New Mexico!

What are you up to?

(mailing list archive) upcoming noisy stuff in the spring

Happy February! I’ve got some upcoming events to share. A lot, in fact!

Tonight is the opening of Flux Factory’s latest show, HOUSEBROKEN, celebrating their new home in Long Island City. I contributed to the show by sneaking a bunch of dishes and cookware out of their kitchen, engraving them with various texts and images, and returning it all. for details of tonight’s opening, and if you’d like to see some of my dish-tricks:

I did it back in 2001, 2002, and 2003, but then I neglected it for a while. Now, with the help of NYC Resistor, Lanternfest is back! Make homemade lanterns and show them off in Prospect Park. We’ll have a lantern-building workshop next Tuesday the 23rd (please RSVP to me), and the lantern festival itself on the first full moon of the Year of the Tiger, Sunday, February 28. More details at

I’ve got one of my greenmarket produce scan photos up for sale at the Dumbo Arts Center’s benefit Pop-Up Sale – go buy art for a good cause (more art)! The sale is Friday-Sunday Feb 26-28 – more at

I’m in the middle of my annual instrument-a-day month, in which I spend February trying to make a new musical instrument every day. This is the third year, and I think it’s getting harder. You can see and hear the noisemakers so far at — and like last year, I’m celebrating the end of the month of instruments by performing with the Glass Bees at Barbes in Park Slope, Brooklyn: Wednesday, March 3 around 7:30pm. Thanks to Bethany Ryker for making this possible! More info: &

I’ll be performing a new piece for robot toy piano at the NYC Electro-Acoustic Music Festival, March 25-27. There’s dozens of interesting-looking performances, and I think most of them will be free! My piece will be at Galapagos in DUMBO, Brooklyn, the evening of the 25th. Check in a week or so for the full schedule.

I’m working on a sort of piano-tickling machine for a piece by composer Zachary James Watkins, which will be performed by Tiffany Lin in Seattle on April 3, at the Chapel Space at Good Shepherd Center. By the way, if any of you in New York have a grand or baby grand piano I can experiment on (harmlessly, I promise!), please let me know!

On May 2, I’ll be performing with pianist Asami Tamura at the Music with a View series at the Flea Theater in Tribeca. Looks like it’ll be a fun show with a bunch of experimental composers and performers!

And my ongoing daily photo project with Keira Chang continues at – we’re just a few months away from a full year.

Please let me know what you’re up to!

– Ranjit

(mailing list archive) greenmarket scanography in december

Hello – just a quick note to say that I’ll have a show of tiny pictures up in the tiny gallery at baby grand bar in SoHo, NYC:

The show will be up all month, and we’re having a reception on Tuesday (December 1) from 6-8pm. Baby grand’s at 161 Lafayette St, just south of Grand St.

– ranjit

My greenmarket produce scans series:
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