Forks In Sockets

The young dissident naturally wanted to play tricks - and misuse all technology. That’s how electronic music was born. We started making music with devices made for other purposes. Technology won’t take control as long as man can misuse it.

-Erkki Kurenniemi

Forks in Sockets brings together people that are interested in doing strange things with electricity in a cross-disciplinary context. This was the first public performance in which the exciting results of these interdisciplinary collaborations are shared with the public. See videos below and read more about the performance here: Forks In Sockets.

Forks In Sockets photo credit Kevin Cook

In 2012 engineer Josh Bailey, media artist Anne Niemetz and sonic artist Dugal McKinnon first brought musicians and engineers together to perform with and through the Tesla coil. The project has since grown as an experimental playground for science and art, and now includes engineers, contemporary composers, designers and artists.


I designed and performed the visuals for Forks and Sockets. The concept behind the visuals was human fascination with the mythical powers of science and nature. Throughout history humans have been enthralled with the awesome power and beauty of scientific processes as they manifest in nature. This fascination has led to various experiments to control and direct scientific processes for enhanced productivity, on one hand, and to create awe-inspiring demonstrations on the other. These experiments are simultaneously the genesis of innovation, production, destruction and demise.

mad scientist photo credit Szilard Ozorak

The visuals are an edited and curated mix of historical depictions of control mechanisms from the laboratories of “mad scientist” characters in famous films, and real-time generated computer graphics responding to the rhythm and volume of the Tesla coil.

For this gig, I used a Novation Launchpad and a custom Lemur interface on the iPad to control a VDMX interface.

the setup

Byron Mallet, one of my graduate students in the Computer Graphics program is working on a real time musical performance interface for the Oculus Rift. For this performance he was performing the instrument in real time to generate visuals. The visuals were streamed in real time to my setup where I could mix them with movie clips and other real time graphics instruments.

byron pensato photo credit Ally Baldwin

You can read more about the show here: Forks In Sockets, as well as view videos of the performances.

Video for vela performance.

Video for Interruption123 performance.

Video for PlainChanges performance.