DIY16: 2019 - Bean & Nicola Woodham: (de)coding performance

Learn to build and program wearable sensors for use in sound based live art.

Deadline for applications: 2pm, Thursday 20 June
This DIY is supported by HOME Manchester

Project summary

(de)coding performance: a 4 day hands-on workshop offering a crash course in coding, working with current ‘market’ technologies of wearable sensors to enable participants to build and program their own products for use in sound based performance and live art. The workshop will focus on utilising open source programs and low cost, economically accessible hardware, led by Rebecca Fiebrink, an embodied audiovisual interaction researcher and open source machine learning software developer.

How can we subvert these technologies and explode their potentials within live art practices? How can we utilise live art approaches to making, to deepen our knowledge and understanding of these often abstract, immaterial processes?

The project aims to equip live artists with a basic understanding of coding, machine learning and wearable hardware. In order to enable them to design, make and control their own body sensors for use in live performance. Each participant will gain hands-on knowledge by completing a practical exercise from conception to performance.

A key element of this project is access and sustainability; we will use open source (free) software and up-skill artists to ensure that finance is not a barrier to making live art at the intersections of technology, enabling artists to have more sustainable practices. We are frustrated that digital arts and technology remains a cis-male dominated discourse and challenge the gender disparity and barriers faced by women and non-binary people by working with diverse facilitators and encouraging applications form women and non-binary people.

How to apply

We are specifically interested in applications from women and non-binary people working at the intersections of sound and live art practices. Participants can be at any stage of their practice and do not need to have prior knowledge of coding.  Application is via a simple form where we would like to get an overview of your practice, specifically your interest in sound and technology.

Participant Requirements include an openness to engaging with making elements of this DIY and possibly some sewing! Ideally participants would have access to a laptop (Mac or PC), a usb-c to usb adaptor if your laptop has usb-c only ports and headphones. If you don’t have access to a laptop please flag this in your application and we will arrange a laptop that you can borrow.

Dates, times and location


  • Sunday 4th August, 6pm - 9pm
  • Monday 5th August 9.30am - 6pm
  • Tuesday 6th August 9.30am - 6pm
  • Wednesday 7th August 10am - 2pm

Location: HOME, Manchester

The artists

Live artists, Bean and Nicola Woodham, have been asking: ‘where do their bodies and technology meet?’, ‘how can we take bio-technologies with market value and use these for explorations of sound, light, image through movement?’ and ‘how can we take performance practices with sensors and micro-controllers, often associated with high-end productions, and make them available within the context of low-cost art making?’ Bean has been working with machine learning to create ways of controlling sound and video through the outputs of their body (such as movement, sweat, heart rate and pressure). Nicola is currently using wearable motion sensors as a means to de-articulate and estrange her voice-making. She is experimenting with shifting the source of her voice from her vocal apparatus to other body parts.

For questions about this DIY, please contact the artists.

Part of DIY16 - Call for Participants