Experimental music instruments that explore other ways of sensing and operating

Like to participate?  SEND US A MAIL (see application procedure below) DEADLINE 03-03-2019

For interdisciplinary creative professionals, (post)graduate students in music, visual art and design, disability sector scientists and workers, and anyone highly motivated around disability and creativity, this free workshop is a collaboration between OtherAbilities, WAAG Technology & Society, STEIM studio for electro-instrumental music, and Contact Broedplaats.

As human beings we are regulated by our culture, not only in the ways we think but also in the ways we perceive our reality, how we connect to the world, or rather, how we disconnect. This central regulating function is directed at our senses; only when encountering people with sensing abilities different than our own is the illusion of sameness and uniformity challenged.

The environments and practical tools in our society were created as a way to help us deal with daily challenges. Nevertheless, they have been designed according to a concept of an ‘average’ human figure, as it turns out, mostly white, male, of particular bodily measurements and sensory abilities. This concept is often considered ‘ideal’, becoming a sign of normality, hence anyone who falls outside of the prescribed categories often has trouble participating and sharing in the same experiences of this ‘normal’ reality.

As an answer to this, we have created a workshop that will serve as a meeting point between artists, designers, engineers and anyone who would like to create and develop experimental music instruments that help explore other ways of sensing and operating, for both disabled and non-disabled people.

The workshop will include lectures by creative practitioners and academics who are distinguished experts on the subjects of disability, vibration, and sound engineering. Each session will include one guest from a different profession as an adviser to consult with the group and participants individually. Technical experts will be present during the prototype building sessions for assistance in working with sensors, tactile speakers, programming and fabrication.

The OtherAbilities Workshop is part of a larger project focused on different creative solutions to sensory challenges, examining larger issues around ‘disabilities’ in art and society, hopefully signaling the possibility of a paradigm shift from dis-ability to other-ability. The opening session of the workshop will take place during The OtherAbilities Festival at Broedplaats Lely, Amsterdam on March 3rd 2019, including discussions with international guest artists.



Location: First meeting at Lely Broedplaats, Schipluidenlaan 12; all other meetings at Contact Broedplaats, Contactweg 47, 1014 AN Amsterdam (wheelchair accessible locations)

Dates and duration: Five working meetings and a closing evening. The first meeting takes place on Sunday 3/3 between 11:00-13:00 during the OtherAbilities Festival. All other working meetings take place on Saturdays 10:00-14:00 including lunch break.
March: Sunday 3/03 – Saturday 16/03 – Saturday 23/3 – Saturday 30/3
April: Saturday 6/4

Closing evening: Thursday 18/4 (public evening program, prototypes presentation)

Eligibility: creative professionals and postgraduate students in media arts, visual art, sound art, music, (sound) engineering, and disability studies as well as other highly motivated people interested in creating tools to increase or shift sensing abilities.

Requirements: Participants are expected to be present at all meetings, so that the teams have enough time to realize their instruments. Prior technical knowledge and skills are not required.

Organizers: Adi Hollander (MA, MIT) and Eva Fotiadi (PhD, University of Amsterdam) in collaboration with STEIM Studio for electro-instrumental music and Waag ‘Technology & Society’

Advisor: Michele Abolaffio (sound engineer, researcher at STEIM)

Language: English and Dutch

Max number of participants: 20

Fee: none

Materials and resources: a variety of materials for the construction of instrument prototypes will be provided by the organizers; online lectures and readings will be available on The OtherAbilities website; there is no budget available for production or other costs.



Please send a cv + portfolio (max 10MB) or website if applicable + short motivation note to The motivation note should be between 2-7 lines and briefly state your motivation for participating in the workshop, including any relevant previous experience (if you have none, do not worry, it’s not a selection criterion!).

DEADLINE: 03-03-2019



Meeting 1 – March 3rd
Introduction to the workshop and The OtherAbilities project and of MakeHealth; presentation of concept, program, resources and team; discussion with OtherAbilities exhibition participants about their work, sharing of experiences; Mapping of workshop participants interest areas, and interest groups; pitching of challenges and formation of teams.

Meeting 2 – March 16th
Introduction and guest tutor’s presentation; recap of ideas presented in meeting 1; within each team: brainstorming on possibilities and existing examples; clustering of ideas and decision-making on following step.

tutor: Frank Baldé, software designer STEIM. 
Frank Baldé (*1956) joined STEIM Amsterdam in 1985 and started his Career there as a software designer. A major influence has been his close collaboration with STEIM’s artistic director Michel Waisvisz (1949–2008), which resulted in a number of music software applications for live performance. Frank Baldé’s programming work includes MidiDraw, the real-time MIDI manipulation program The Lick Machine (together with Michel Waisvisz), the software sampling package LiSa, and the application junXion, which can read sensor data and process/translate it into MIDI or OSC. At STEIM, Frank Baldé actively assists visiting artists to create new instruments using junXion. He has been teaching at the Institute of Sonology since 1994.

Meeting 3 – March 23rd
Introduction and guest tutor’s presentation and teams’ development since previous meeting; within each team: collective decision on project direction; first sketches of models, research in materials; plan of implementation process.
Guest tutor: Mark Ijzerman, media artist, designer, researcher.
Mark IJzerman (1988) is a Dutch media artist, designer, researcher and lecturer. His works explore human perception and the interconnectedness of the senses, often starting from sound. In his practice he often works with sound, creative coding and electronics. IJzerman is a lecturer and researcher at the Music & Technology faculty of the University of the Arts Utrecht where he teaches courses on creative coding, media art, installations, and perception. He is also a part of new media collective Zesbaans and sound art collective Soundlings and writes and runs sound art blog Everyday Listening. Because of his background in sound, his works often either relate to the acoustic environment, or are temporal in nature. In performances and installations, he explores interaction between sound, light and the physiological effect on the body and has paired sound with the sense of touch, taste and smell.


Meeting 4 – March 30th
Introduction and guest tutor’s presentation and teams’ development since previous meeting; within each team: realization of prototype, experimentation with materials and techniques.
Guest tutor: Martijn Tellinga, artist, composer, occasional performer.

Meeting 5 – April 6th
Introduction and guest tutor’s presentation and teams’ development since previous meeting; within each team: realization of prototype, finalizing and documenting prototypes.
Guest tutor: Dr. Yolanda van Ede, anthropologist, assistant professor University of Amsterdam.

Meeting 6 – April 18th
Closing with guest speakers and presentation of all prototypes. Each group presents their prototype, their vision and process.

Questions ?
Do you have any question regarding the workshop, questions of content, practicalities or accessibility, contact us anytime at , Adi Hollander and Eva Fotiadi.