PHOTOS, INFO & TIMELINE

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HOW TO OPERATE YOUR NOISE COOKIE

Here are instructions on how to get the original sounds to play from the circuit-bent (modified) sound module on your WTBTN packaging:

1) get a large paper clip and straighten it out (or any form of bendy metal wire)

2) touch the wire to the metal spike (hold it there with right hand)

3) at the same time you do this, touch other end of paper clip to the very first solder joint on the sound module board (it would be the one to the very left- usually yellow wire but sometimes green, and is attached to the l.e.d. wire)

4) finally, while touching paperclip to spike and solder joint with right finger, take left finger and depress the power switch

You should be able to hear the original sound play as soon as all points have made contact. If you discover you have the "train" sound, consider yourself lucky! Out of 1,000 of these, the trains were very rare-- we hardly received any of those, but a LOT of baby doll and kisses.

PROJECT TIMELINE

AUG 10, 2006
OFFICIAL COMPILATION RELEASE DATE
Here's what the finished product looks like (click photo left). Packaging available in ORANGE, PINK, BLUE and PURPLE (see more photos & infos on the ORDERING page).

August 2006
Final shot of all of the completed units (with "noise cookies" fully-loaded and ready to squelch) stacked and organized neatly by color into bankers boxes, awaiting their new homes.

Late July, 2006
Here's a little shot of BCO Women's Auxiliary bandmate Melissa Margolis getting a lesson from dAS in how to add the final contents to the completed vinyl bags. In go the CD's, postcards and stickers! Wheee, we're almost done...


Sidenote:
Now, before I go taking all the credit for the huge production effort involved in this project, allow me to reiterate that I did have some help. The January kick-off with some of the local WTBTN artists and circuit-bending pal univac helped us on our way. We had a kick-off tea party where everyone helped in various assembly lines, snipping and stripping wire and beginning the first step of modifying the sound modules. It did take many months of sitting solo for hours on end, soldering, glueing, snipping-- thousands of repetitive tasks in all, but the entire project could have never been possible without everyone who was involved-- from the sound artists who supplied their tracks, to the friends who came over for dinner and found themselves sitting for a few hours on my couch, snipping open vinyl purses and pulling out plastic flowers.

Pictured at left is my husband dAS, who has been at my side throughout the entire process, assisting in many ways with his keen organizational abilities, and generally putting up with my insanity throughout the entire project. While I've been the one sitting at the worktable, assembling all of the little tiny parts, sniffing soldering fumes and nearly snipping my fingers off on several occasions, he's been on the receiving end of things, gathering up the finished packages, packing, sorting and getting them ready to ship out.

July 2006
Here's another shot of the final phase of assembly (me holding up the flower and completed sound module once it's been attached and all the wires soldered and glued in place). I'm about to begin the last and most painful process of custom-fitting the modules into the vinyl purses and then attaching the flowers. Before I could attach everything, square holes were punched into the vinyl with a large-sized square hole punch so the power switch could stick out, and then a second set of smaller holes had to be punched in order to pull the LED's and screws through. The final step was adding the flowers and then screwing the metal spikes into place. As you can probably tell, there was a lot of fiddling around with pulling the modules in and out of the pocket to make sure everything lined up (x 1000, then x 1000 again, rinse and repeat...)

June 2006
Once the hot-glueing was finally done (and my sense of smell returned to normal), there was a lot of fine-tuning, measuring, cutting and fitting the modules into the vinyl bags. Since these were all done by hand, and initially, the little pocket where the modules fit inside were all just a little different, which made things a bit more tedious when it came to making sure each module fit into place in the correct way. Here's a shot of the worktable again where you can see some of the stacks during this part of the process. (Next time I do this much work, I'm definitely making sure I know at least one good masseuse who makes house calls!)

May-June 2006
Photo of my worktable during the hot-glueing phase of production... Not much more can be said about the hot-glueing phase except for two words---- PHEEEE--EEEWWWW! (stinky stuff!)

February-April 2006
After the circuit-bending "kickoff party" in January, I took over solo-production on the bulk of soldering the various tiny little parts and wires to create the "noise cookies" for about three full months. This involved an insane amount of labor and a huge learning curve when it came to figuring out the finer details of making the electronics work. Here's a shot of some of the little mini-jacks after soldering them to the wires for attaching to the speaker. (click photo to see larger view)

January 2006
The kickoff party for the circuit-bending process has begun. Many thanks to our good friend and circuit-bending "guru" univac for helping us find where the "bend" points were on the sound modules. I was originally inspired by an earlier piece he designed as a silly, noisy Valentine's Day card for dAS but it took me many months of searching to find them in large quantities for this project, and the ones I ended up with were a little different in design than the 99 cent store version that univac bent for the greeting card. The most difficult part was finding the right points to work with that didn't drain the batteries almost immediately. It was definitely a combined effort of univac's technical expertise and a lot of novice fiddling on my part in order to find the correct points to attach to.

Pictured left: Ava Mendoza focuses on soldering one of the sound modules.

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December 2005
Hiding behind a wall of 25,000 artist cards on the day of their arrival...

Many thanks to dAS for many hours of assistance collating and helping to keep things organized in our small living space. You wouldn't believe how high up that stack was -- very intimidating!

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October 2005
Holding up one of the integral pieces of the 'Women Take Back The Noise' packaging during pre-assembly inventory. At this point, we have also received some of the parts and the sound modules from the manufacturer and are just beginning to work out the design for the circuit-bend/modification of the sound module. The entire process of searching for the modules and procuring them for the project took approximately 7 months. We were excited to learn after receiving them that there ended up being three unique original sounds in the assortment-- a baby saying "Mama", a sickly-sweet doll voice that makes a kissing sound and then says "I love you!" and finally a wonderful 10-second long train sample (my personal favorite).

July 2003 - July 2005
The original WTBTN call for submissions has just been sent out through the internet, by way of forums, groups, lists, email and general word of mouth. Over the course of two years, over a hundred compositions and letters of interest were submitted and reviewed. In July of 2005, the call for submissions officially ended and announcements were sent out about the total number of 47 artists worldwide who would be participating. Then began the arduous process of searching for parts and materials to complete the custom-made circuit-bent packaging design...

WTBTN: Past & Present
Kerri Pidnow and Ninah Pixie share a sentient moment after an internet radio show which took place just after Ninah joined the BCO collective (circa 1999). Both Kerri and Ninah remain current members of Big City Orchestrae and have each played large roles in the collaborative effort responsible for building the 'WTBTN' cd compilation project. Kerri was one of the female band members of BCO who helped put together the original 'WTBTN' shows in San Francisco during the earlier part of the 1990s (as mentioned previously.)

WTBTN: A Brief History
The original 'Women Take Back The Noise' shows from the early 1990's were put together by members of bay area based sound-art collective, Big City Orchestrae, who came up with the title as a fun wordplay on the 'Women Take Back The Night' theme. A few of the women involved in BCO at that time, had been interested in putting together a series of shows where they could all perform together, featuring their own compositions, and noise-making contraptions. The title 'Women Take Back The Noise' was used for both shows, circa 1992.

Ninah Pixie, who had frequented several of the Orchestrae's past shows over the years as both audience member and fan, finally joined the collaborative group in 1998. She has since then worked with many creative experimental artists from around the world, both on live performance and studio projects alike. Through collaboration, correspondence & travel overseas (as well as over the internet) she has been continually delighted to be introduced to so many other women like herself who have "taken back the noise" in their own unique way.

In 2003, after becoming inspired from watching an old video from one of the original WTBTN performances from the early 1990's, Ninah decided to carry on both the title and tradition of these early experimental 'women-only' projects by curating the compilation as an homage to noise and sound experimentation from the female perspective.

Cosey Fanni Tutti models the original 'Women Take Back The Noise' t-shirt (circa 1990, design by Robo)

The t-shirt is from the original performances by some of the women of Big City Orchestrae, which later helped to inspire the creation of the current 'Women Take Back The Noise' project.


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