Phillip Stearns
Since 2009
Works in Brooklyn, New York United States of America

Phillip Stearns creates at the intersection of art, philosophy, and science, drawing upon a variety of disciplines including installation, audio-video, circuit sculpture, writing, performance art and musical composition. Deconstruction, dissection, and reconfiguration are methods he commonly employs in the interrogation of materials ranging from electronic objects, biological systems, images, light, video, and sound. His process is that of reduction aimed at revealing hidden macrocosms of potential, new materials for expression, and new paths for inquiries into understanding the state of things. In his work with technology, the machine is understood as the living manifestation of human intentions where the development and application of our technologies, machines and tools reveals our desires and dreams—both conscious and unconscious. His work generates phenomenological experiences that become pathways for interconnecting metaphorical spaces implied in the selection of specific materials, processes and media.

Phillip Stearns received his MFA in music composition and integrated media from the California Institute of Arts in 2007 and his BS in music technology from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2005. His work has been exhibited internationally at electronics arts festivals, museums, and galleries including: Harvestworks (2010 NYC); (2010 Chicago, IL); Festival De Arte Digital (2010 Belo Horizonte, Brazil); FILE (2009 Sao Paulo, Brazil); NIME (2009 Pittsburgh, PA); Filmer La Musique (2009 Paris, France); FONLAD (2009 Coimbra, Portugal); Torrance Art Museum (2008, 2007 Los Angeles, CA); Optica Film Festival (2011, 2008 Spain). He has participated in residencies at Museums Quartier (Vienna 2010), STEIM (Amsterdam 2007), Experimental Television Center (NY 2009), Harvestworks (NY 2010), is the current AIRTime Fellow at Free103Point9 for the 2010-2011 cycle, and curator for the 8th annual Bent Festival (2011).
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WORKSHOP - CMOS Music DIY Synthesis @ IN/OUT Fest

Sat Sep 18, 2010 00:00 - Mon Sep 13, 2010

Workshop: "Digital Music Synthesis with CMOS
by Phillip Stearns @ IN/OUT Fest

Saturday, September 18, 2010 from 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM (ET)
New York, NY


Proto-Chiptunes: the hypothetical ancestor of modern-day 8-bit video game music, known as "Chiptunes". Before there were arduinos, video game systems, or even microchips capable of producing sound, there was only binary logic. But in order to find the roots of this ancient music, we must go back further, back before the time of logic, far back into the pre-history of electronics. From the primordial ooze of analog circuits arose the first digital logic circuits. Made only from transistors, resistors and diodes, they clawed their way out of the random void to assert their unambiguous binary dominion over the whole world of electronics. When the digital circuits had established themselves as supreme rulers of the electronic world, and mastered the use of fire, they developed a style of music called "0 01 0110 10010011 0101 01 1" known today as "Proto-Chiptunes".

In this workshop we'll use simple digital logic microchips to make an complex, rhythmic pattern-generator to control a square-wave oscillator. In the process we'll cover the basics of using CMOS microchips to create oscillators, frequency dividers, and sequencers. A demonstration on how to expand the circuit into a complex music generating machine will close out the workshop. You keep the final circuit and materials! No former knowledge of electronics is required and only a minimal amount of soldering is necessary.

Registration is required. See event link for details.


Symbiosis: Between Technology, Humans, and Art

Sat Aug 28, 2010 00:00 - Tue Aug 24, 2010

A night of interactive digital art at that will include new works by Harvestworks interns.

FREE! + Drinks will be provided.

Show Starts at 6 pm,

Hanna Alvgren "Maps in Flux" — Looped video Projection

Pia Blumenthal "Soniforms" — Interactive and generative audiovisual installation

Laurel Chartow "Diazeugma" — Interactive video installation

Kyle Kaplan "Prysm" — Live processed interactive video

Gene Kogan "Untitled" — Interactive audio processing

Cristina Molinan "Scintillation" — Looped video projection

Allan Pichardo "Return to Woz" — Live performance with Data||Lore Ensemble

Laura Simpson "Lethe" — Interactive live video

Austin Stone "Phonoride" — Live electronics performance

Eric Souther "Digital Mandala" — Generative, algorithmic video

Sam Snider-Held "Dear Diary: When I Grow Up" — Interactive drawing robots

Liz Taylor "Through Flight" — Ink Jet Prints
Subway: F/M/D/B Broadway/Lafayette, R Prince, 6 Bleeker


DIY Hybrid Analog/Digital Modular Synthesis Intensive Course

Mon Sep 20, 2010 00:00 - Tue Aug 10, 2010

DIY Hybrid Analog/Digital Modular Synthesis Intensive Course: CMOS Music"
an electronics hardware based digital logic intensive

Taught By: Phillip Stearns (Harvestworks 2010 Van Lier Artist in Residence)
Hosted by Harvestworks

Monday through Friday, Sep 20 - 24
11am to 5pm

$750 (one price, includes materials)
Register here:

596 Broadway, #602
New York, NY 10012
Subway: F/M/D/B Broadway/Lafayette, R Prince, 6 Bleeker

This 5-day (6 hours each day) intensive course assumes a modest level of electronics knowledge. It is designed to be friendly to those who are just getting started in electronics and have a curiosity in making their own electronic musical instruments. Over the course of the module, students will review the basics of electricity, identify components, learn how to read and write schematics, design and build their own custom digital modular synthesizers from the 4000 series of CMOS logic integrated circuits.


The 5-part course features modules with hands-on activities that will immediately apply concepts to practical projects. Each successive activity will grow in complexity and become increasingly open-ended and self-guided. Students will be given simple example circuits and encouraged to develop their own modifications or extensions based on the concepts and information learned in the related lesson.

With the completion of the intensive, students will have a solid foundation of knowledge in basic electronics concepts, and the ability to create their own electronic musical instruments from scratch using a hand-full of components. The types of applications we will focus on as examples will include: simple oscillators, drone synthesizers, simple gating, 2 methods of sequencing, frequency division, and a 1-bit synthesizer that incorporates several of the concepts covered through the modules.

Lesson Overview:

Day 1
Module 1 - Electronics Basics (Build a simple LED circuit)
Module 2 - Introduction to 4000 Logic ICs and Oscillators (Build a simple RC

Module 3 - Mixing Signals with Logic ICs (Build and mix together multiple
Module 4 - Switching and Sequencing with Logic ICs (Switch between multiple

Day 3
Module 5 - Counters (Build a Sequencer)

Day 4
Module 6 - Survey of other Logic ICs (Design Final Project + Begin Building

Day 5
Module 7 - Designing Interfaces (Finish Building Circuits + Design Interface)


Synchromy/Synchromie (1971) - Norman McLaren

An updated version of this type of work for VGA signals:

A circuit driven by feedback loops produces frequencies that can be heard and seen on a VGA based video display. The link between image and sound is recursive; the audio and video signals are derived from a single source and recirculated through an outboard mixer. The sound is a direct translation of electronic signals into audio and the video synchronization signals, which allow the image to be seen, influence the types of pitches that are produced.

More tech info and images: