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Festival starts Wednesday! Here’s what to expect…

Monday, April 11th, 2011

We’re gearing up for the festival this week, now less than two days away! Communikey Headquarters at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art will be open for ticketing starting at 6pm on Wednesday night!

The hours of HQ for the rest of the festival are as follows:
Wednesday 6pm-8pm
Thursday 11am-8pm
Friday 11am-8pm
Saturday 11am-5pm

Come on down to pick up your pass, enjoy a beverage at our refreshment bar, and stick around for the Unsound Showcase. This event is happening in conjunction with the opening of the Polish Soundcard Exhibition. There will be musical accompaniment from DJ Russo, and performances from two Polish experimental artists, Dawid Szczesny and Robert Piotrowicz, at 7pm and 8pm respectively.

After the Unsound Showcase at BMoCA we’ll be heading over to the Hello Wednesday Nightcap at the Bombay Bistro for a night of dancing to Communikey DJs and cocktails as we welcome everyone to Boulder for the festival! Starting at 9pm and going til midnight, this event has become a tradition for the Communikey Festival in the last few years. A warm way to meet fellow festival goers and artists and kick off the festival with musical treats for your ears by CMKY favorites: The Brandon Brown, Ivy, and Papyrus.

Both shows are FREE and open to the public! Come by for some good times and we’ll get this show on the road!

( If you haven’t bought your pass yet get one online for $80 or at Espresso Roma Boulder or Buffalo Exchange Boulder/Denver for $65! )

What is the Gamelatron?

Monday, April 11th, 2011

You may be wondering what this Gamelatron thing is all about. Robots? Traditional Indonesian music? Huh??

Modeled after traditional Balinese and Javanese gamelan orchestras, the Gamelatron is an amalgamation of traditional instruments with a suite of percussive sound makers. MIDI sequences control 117 robotic striking mechanisms that produce intricately woven and rhythmic sound. Performances follow an arc similar to classic Indonesian gatherings, where stories from great epics, such as the Ramayana, are told and settings given in words that are continued in music. Check out some videos here to see what it’s all about!

The Gamelatron is the fruit of a collaboration between the composer and multi-media artist Zemi17 aka Aaron “Taylor” Kuffner with The League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots (LEMUR).

I was lucky to have the chance to experience the Gamelatron last spring at the Joshua Tree Music Festival in Joshua Tree, California, one of our stops on the ViceVerse Tour. Our crew of Communikey and Dis-patch members stumbled upon Taylor Kuffner’s project at the festival. It was then that we fell in love with the Gamelatron and decided to ask Taylor to come out to Boulder for the Communikey Festival 2011.

Seeing and hearing the Gamelatron was a truly unique experience that I’d never had before. Our crew went back again and again to absorb ourselves in the sounds of the gamelan music being played by little robots. At that festival, the set up was in a large red and purple tent with rugs and pillows scattered inside. This allowed for us to spend many hours at a time observing and experiencing it, as it ran continuously during the daytime and nighttime with different compositions being played by Taylor. At the end of the festival we all agreed that it was the coolest project we’d seen there, and when we left I knew that I wanted my friends and fellow Communikey members to be able to experience the Gamelatron as well.

So now it’s come full circle. We are extremely excited to be having Taylor in Boulder for the whole week of the Communikey Festival. In addition to the Gamelatron Installation & Performance at the Naropa Performing Arts Center which is running from 11am to 6pm on Saturday April 16th, a smaller installation of the Gamelatron will be at the ATLAS Institute from Wednesday April 13th through Monday April 18th. Taylor will also be having a discussion about robotics & music with Eric Singer on Wednesday at 6pm, presenting an Ableton Live workshop on Friday at 12pm, and performing live as Zemi17 at BMoCA on Friday at 4:30pm.

All of these events are FREE and open to the public! Come check out something you have never seen before, and prepare to be stunned. Bring your friends, family, co-workers, anyone… We are excited to share this unique project with you!

The Pursuit of Sustainability: Communikey Zero Waste and Carbon Offsetting

Saturday, April 9th, 2011
Utopia is what we make it.  That’s why Yes, AND…? is bringing zero-waste to Communikey.

What is zero-waste you may ask?
It is not an end-goal but an elegant journey towards removing the concept of landfills from our lives. Founded right here in Boulder County, this concept is gaining worldwide appreciation. All Communikey events are zero waste so HELP us this year at the festival by checking everything you use at Communikey Festival for whether it goes into COMPOST or RECYCLING, or LANDFILL. We don’t believe in trash, that is so 1980’s…

Green Pass = Carbon Offsetting  = <3

So, what else are we doing to make this one of the greenest festivals in Colorado?  OFFSETS.

The Communikey Green Pass program supports offsetting the energy impact of the entire festival.

Carbon will be the new black in upcoming years.  Already throughout Europe carbon is being taxed and companies are being regulated to reduce their carbon outputs.  With support from our Green Pass program, Yes, AND…? will offset all of our energy use through the Colorado Carbon Fund and the Governor’s Energy Office.


Help Communikey by recycling and composting and getting engaged with our Yes, AND…? program.  Communikey is you!

KidsPatch @ Communikey Festival 2011

Thursday, April 7th, 2011


Saturday April 16th : 11am-2pm @ Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (1750 13th St.)

KidsPatch is an interactive audio-visual and hand-arts workshop for children aged 5-12. Constructing landscapes for collaboration, spontaneity, and creative expression through delightful and forward thinking education in arts and culture. Started in Belgrade in 2008, KidsPatch has had breakout success at other festivals across Europe and the US, including the Communikey Festival in 2009 and 2010. Each event consists of a series of workshops for kids aged 5-12, related to the fields of music, graphic art, performance, creative processes and new media. It is a 100% participatory program. Closely working with established and experienced artists, children are discovering numerous new skills and are developing sensibilities in regard to the processes of creation and presentation of creative content. Results are immediately visible and are presented at the end of each edition through an event consisting of concerts, exhibitions, activity areas, installations, performances and screenings. The performance is produced by the young participants and their artistic tutors.

KidsPatch is about learning through play, collaboration and exploration. It offers a space for kids to be creative and explore that side of themselves in a structured but holistic environment. By having multiple workshops in one setting, the kids can exercise freewill by choosing whichever workshop they are most interested in, and thereby can discover what might be their creative calling. KidsPatch was designed to appeal to all ages; leadership and community is built through having the older kids work with the younger kids. It is also helping bridge the generations by having such an event at a festival for electronic arts that is mostly geared towards adults. KidsPatch highlights the importance of having children be a part in the creative process that all humans experience.

Learn more about KidsPatch on their new website!


This year’s KidsPatch program will include experiments with music composition in LIVEAudioExplorations, performance drawing & animation in TagTools, self-expression within movement, and community building through art/textile projects. A KidsPatch parade with Humble Arts Collective will take place on Sunday at Civic Plaza (Free).

KidsPatch enrollment is $20, and is NOT included in the festival pass.

Please enroll kids ahead of time:

InterACT @ ATLAS Institute

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Interactive programming at Communikey Festival 2011 :

Workshops + Discussions + Films + Installations

Over the course of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the InterACT programming will offer plenty of hands-on workshops and engaging discussions in addition to a couple film screenings and installations, all taking place at the ATLAS Institute on the University of Colorado campus.. Read on to find out what we have in store for you!


+ INTRO TO ARDUINO with Eric Singer (Workshop)
Presented by QuickLeft : 10:00am-4:30pm

A hands-on full day workshop with robotics mastermind Eric Singer, a Brooklyn-based musician, artist, engineer and programmer with 20 years of arts and multimedia programming, engineering and performance experience. He holds a BS in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon; a Diploma in Music Synthesis (Magna Cum Laude) from Berklee College of Music; and an MS in Computer Science from New York University. He has performed and lectured throughout the world with electronic musical instruments, as well as touring and recording with many bands on tenor, alto, and baritone saxes. He is a founding member of the Brooklyn-based arts collaborative The Madagascar Institute, and he has contributed to many of the group’s spectacular projects in addition to reaching the semi-finals with the MI-originating team “The Brooklyn Benders” on The Learning Channel’s ‘Junkyard Wars’ television show. He is also the founder of LEMUR (League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots), a group of artists and technologists creating robotic musical instruments. In addition to directing LEMUR, he currently works as an independent Arts Engineer and Consultant.

Tickets are $80 and not included in the festival pass.
Buy tickets:
Please enroll:

+ ROBOTICS & MUSIC (Discussion)

A conversation about robotics and music with Eric Singer, executive director and founder of LEMUR (League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots), and Taylor Kuffner, the composer and multi-media artist who collaborated with LEMUR to create the Gamelatron.

+ GAMELATRON Installation !

Gamelatron will be running as an installation in the ATLAS Institute from Wednesday April 13th through Monday April 18th. Be sure to check it out while you’re there for the other interACT programs!

THURSDAY APRIL 14th : interACT 2

+ SOUND DESIGN 101 with Smirk (US)
11:00am – 2:00pm
This workshop is FREE. Previous experience in sound design a plus but not required. Please enroll:

Brandon Wolcott aka Smirk explores psychoacoustics, system design, spatial programming, and the body sensation of sound. Wolcott is a sound designer, producer and performance artist. He has performed his music, under the alias Smirk, all over the U.S. and Europe. As a sound designer, he has worked at some of the premier theaters in the country, including original works by Adam Rapp, Thomas Bradshaw and Caryl Churchill. He also produces large scale musical events in the pursuit of liminality.

+ BURNING ICE (Film Screening)
1:00pm-2:30pm : FREE

Feist, Laurie Anderson, Ryuichi Sakamoto , Jarvis Cocker, Robyn Hitchcock, and many other artists embark on polar expedition to contemplate the effects of climate change first-hand and to begin a creative conversation with the rest of the world about one of the most important and pressing issues facing the future of humanity. Learn more about the film here!

2:45pm – 4:00pm

Join German techno legend AtomTM, Kirsten Stotlz of Yuma based art collective M12, Boulder-based designer Todd Berger, NYC based mixed-media artist Elena Ailes, and CU educator and  climate scientist Jason Neff as they carry the inspiration from the Burning Ice film into a conversation to explore  the relationship between art, creativity, and re-visioning a more sustainable world.

Speakers: AtomTM, Kirsten Stoltz, Todd Berger, Jason Neff, Elena Ailes.  Moderator: Lauren Higgins.

FRIDAY APRIL 15th : interACT 3

+ ABLETON LIVE (Workshop) with Taylor Kuffner
12:00-1:00pm : Presented by Dubspot : FREE

For advanced Ableton users. Taylor Kuffner aka Zemi17 has been using the music production software Ableton Live for nearly a decade. It is what he used to sequence up to 170 robotic striking mechanisms (for the Gamelatron), playing the musical roles traditionally assigned to multiple performers. Taylor is the co-creator and art director of the Gamelatron, the world’s first and only fully robotic gamelan orchestra. He regularly composes for dance, theater and multi-media productions, owns and operates a 20kw sound system, which has been amplifying the New York underground for over a decade, and is the resident DJ for the legendary Danger events. This workshop will highlight using Ableton Live to control a multi-point sound set up in a syncopated fashion, among other topics.

Please enroll:


A conversation with independent organizers and creative leaders looking at how we activate cultural movements, bringing together disparate communities and manifesting social change through art.

Coming together for this discussion is Sarah Slater, director of TITWRENCH, the Denver based lady-centric DIY music festival; Gosia Plysa, co-organizer of the Krakow / New York Festival Unsound; Andrew Lochhead, currently the National Labors Coordinator at Workers Arts and Heritage Centre Hamilton, and Director of Break and Enter, an independent party and events organization in Toronto; and Kyle Griffin, Underground Music Movement Aficionado, technical director of NEXUS who runs the Funktion One rig in Santa Cruz, California.

Speakers: Gosia Plysa, Sarah Slater, Andrew Lochhead, Kyle Griffin. Moderator: Kate Lesta (Creative Director of Communikey).

+ AN ISLAND (Film Screening)
5:00pm-6:30pm : FREE

An Island is an unconventional music performance film and an abstract documentary about a band and an island. In August 2010, French filmmaker Vincent Moon and Efterklang‘s 8 piece-live band met up on an island off the Danish coast. The objective was to shoot a film. A film with the same length as an album, and a film full of performances, experiments and collaborations. Over an intense period of 4 days Efterklang collaborated with more than 200 local musicians, kids and their own parents, creating new performances and interpretations of songs from their album Magic Chairs (4AD, Rumraket 2010).

Check out a film teaser here!

Communikey’s Yes, AND…? program partners with Colorado Carbon Fund and Special Transit

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Yes, AND…? <3’s   Special Transit:

We want to take the time to thank Special Transit for kindly donating 40 bus passes to Communikey.  This allows our visiting artists to use the HOP public bus service to get around Boulder. Special Transit is a private nonprofit that provides transportation and mobility options for older adults and people with disabilities, including contracting the HOP, a fixed-route bus service in Boulder, and the access-a-Ride and call-n-Ride services in select communities. Thanks to Special Transit for making a difference in the Boulder community and helping us reduce our carbon footprint with this festival!

Curious where the HOP bus can take you?  Check out this MAP to see how easily you can hop around town.

Yes, AND…? <3’s  Colorado Carbon Fund:

Communikey and CCF support solar thermal energy for Apex Center Parks and Recreation (Arvada, CO)

The Communikey Festival becomes lower impact each year and 2011 will be no exception as Yes, AND…? work with the Colorado Carbon Fund to embark on the full scale measurement and mitigation of our carbon footprint, tracking the impact of energy use in venues, artist accommodations, internal transportation, and artist’s air travel. At roughly 80 metric tons, the footprint of the festival will be offset through the Colorado Carbon Fund with support from Communikey Green Pass sales.

Get involved with Colorado Carbon Fund and Offset Your Energy Use over the Week of Earth Day, April 18-24

The Colorado Carbon Fund’s  (CCF) Earth Week Campaign asks individuals and businesses to voluntarily offset part or all of their emissions for the week of Earth Day (April 18-24). For every dollar received, a dollar will be spent on building carbon offset and clean energy projects in Colorado creating jobs, reducing emissions, and bringing Colorado’s clean energy future that much closer to reality.  Click here to reinvest in Colorado today with your tax-deductible donation.  For an individual it costs about $10 to offset their entire emissions for the week (including the emissions resulting from your food). If you are a business and would like to participate, we have ideas for you. Call us at (303) 866-2264 or email us at

For information about Special Transit or the Colorado Carbon Fund visit

Exhibitions @ Communikey 2011

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

This year’s festival will have more exhibitions than ever before! Exhibitions will be located inside both Norlin Library on the CU Campus and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, which is also the festival headquarters. Be sure to take some time to check them out in between the music showcases!

ViceVerse pt 1 : USA

Exhibition opening Thursday April 14th, 5-7pm @ Norlin Library

ViceVerse is an ongoing collaborative cultural exchange project between the Communikey and Dis-Patch organizations based out of Boulder and Belgrade respectively. Spanning 52 days between April and June of 2010, 11 artists set out for a 15 city tour across North America. Featuring musical performances, video art, installation art, professional and children’s workshops, the ViceVerse project seeks to synthesize and share a collective experience between two disparate cultures.

Sponsored in part by the University of Colorado, the ViceVerse Exhibition at Norlin Library is a display of words and photographs captured on the ViceVerse 2010 North American Tour as presented by Sam Campbell, Maike Verloh, and Kate Lesta.

ViceVerse is made possible by the Trust for Mutual Understanding.

Polish Soundcards

Exhibition opening Wednesday April 13th, 7-9pm with live performance @ BMoCA

During 60s and 70s Polish communism, when vinyl singles were rare, sound postcards became extremely popular. Bearing striking designs, they contained analogue recordings engraved in a laminate layer. Sound quality was low, but they meant access to hit songs from the West. In Mat Schulz and Rui Silva’s exhibit, tracks are transferred to mp3’s, revealing how recording technology changes over time.

Polish Soundcards is made possible by Polish Cultural Institute New York.

Micro exhibits showcasing bodies of work from projects that exist in the world outside of the Communikey Festival:


NVRVR is an ongoing video collaboration between Sam Campbell and Erica Griffiths. Through the NVRVR moniker, life is condensed into 30 second, highly contagious, easily consumable narratives.NVRVR is just an idea, until you make it.

@ Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Meow Wolf’s The Due Return

Designed and directed by Meow Wolf, this multi-media installation is a collaboration with over 50 artists, including national and international artists. The Due Return opens May 13th 2011 at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

@ Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Thursday April 14th Happenings @ CMKY Fest

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Thursday April 14th, the first full day of activities for the Communikey Festival, will see workshops, exhibits, live music, film, A/V performance, dance parties and more!

The daytime activities include an Audio Boutique at HQ from 2-7pm featuring several female artists from Denver’s Titwrench Festival; interACT workshops/film/discussion at ATLAS from 1-5pm; and the opening of the ViceVerse Exhibition at Norlin Library from 5-7pm.

A foray into some of today’s deeper dub sounds, the Dub Visions showcase on Thursday night at the ATLAS Black Box Theater includes the Colorado premier of Spain’s Pulshar. Featuring producer Pablo Bolivar with the vocals of Aphro, Pulshar traverses the borders between spacious song craft and the futuristic outer-reaches of the dub-techno universe. Local live pa Normal Ones bring their own brand of vocal-infused, deep dub accompanied by the video visions of offthesky. CMKY welcomes back Mr. Projectile, unveiling his own brand of dub with Movax providing visuals. The show is 7-10pm and the cost is $10 for general public (buy tix here) or included in your Communikey Festival pass. Dub Visions promises to be an immersive audio/visual experience!

A little bit about the artists…

Pulshar is a duo hailing from Barcelona, Spain that was formed by Pablo Bolivar, a music producer with an extensive discography, and Aphro (Sergio Sainz), a composer, visual artist and ex-vocalist of dub and reggae bands. The two have been working together in the studio since 2007, composing tracks that combine deep soul and old classy dub with space-tech elements.

Normal Ones, based out of Boulder, Colorado, are not your average live pa/dance act. Their performances, usually in stereo or in immersive surround sound environments, include live mixing, live sound shaping with effects, live vocals and improvisational placement of sounds in the listening field. Normal Ones are unexpected, futuristic and retro all rolled into one: the creative sum of two lifetimes influenced by decades of participation in underground music from the early 1980′s to the present. The duo behind Normal Ones, Jahnavi Stenflo and Nathan Jantz, also play a big role in production for the Communikey Festival.

Matthew Arnold aka Mr. Projectile has been an influential member of the electronic music community since 1992. Matt got his start DJing and organizing parties in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota where he also started one of the first minimal techno nights in the country. He is currently based out of Santa Cruz, California where he plays a large role in organizing with Bay Area production company Nexus, whose focus is on “helping to create unique environments designed to elevate and deepen the personal experience shared in a proper listening environment.” Mr. Projectile’s set at Dub Visions will mark his second appearance at the Communikey Festival, the first being an opening set for the legendary Thomas Fehlmann at the Fox Theater in 2009.

Following the show at ATLAS will be a booty-shaking after party at one of Boulder’s favorite underground bars, Catacombs. Three of Boulder’s best DJs will be hitting you hard with the techno, funk, soul, house and general dance party madness they like to bring! Liminal States, a DJ night that usually takes place at George’s next to the Boulder Theater, is run by locals J.L.Kane and DJ This That and the Other, and joining them at Catacombs on Thursday is Drom Fam’s Crab Cannon. This party is free, 21+ and will go from 9pm to 1am. Come get down!

Communikey Festival 2011 is Bike Powered!

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Communikey Festival 2011 is Bike Powered!

This year, the Communikey Festival of Electronic Arts is bike powered. As we revamp the Communikey bike program we are reducing the ecological impact of the festival while maximizing awesomeness.

Our headquarters at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMOCA), will host the Communikey Bike Station, the festival hub for artist bike rentals, bike parade organizing, and a bike repair station. This years bike fleet will increase from 15 to 35 bikes with help from local sponsors,  the University of Colorado’s Bike Station and Boulder Bcycle.  These bikes will be made available for out-of-town staff and artists to use for the duration of the festival (April 13th – 17th) – and at no cost!

Bicycle commuting is a breeze in Boulder, and is often a quicker way (and more fulfilling way) to get around this bike friendly town. We hope by offering these bikes that this will help deter unnecessary vehicle use, enhance our artist’s visit to boulder, and help to mitigate the substantial carbon footprint generally created by festivals.

Watch out for stellar bike parades during the festival and make sure you get involved!  Go bike propelled Communikey!!!

2011 Festival Headquarters @ BMoCA: Events and Details

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Wednesday April 13th marks the official kick-off of the 2011 festival at the Communikey Headquarters! Located in the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (1750 13th St) in downtown Boulder, HQ provides a full information hub with festival staff present to answer your questions. You can pick up and purchase passes there, as well as tickets for individual showcases and festival merchandise. The HQ will be open from 11am to 8pm, Wednesday through Friday, and 11am to 5pm on Saturday. We will have beer, wine and snacks available for purchase at the headquarters. CMKY Passholders are eligible for a highly discounted BMoCA membership, with student rates at $10/year and individual rates at $20/year. Discounted membership can be purchased on site at HQ or online HERE . Please enter your discount code : BMOCAcmky2011

In addition HQ features live music boutiques running at HQ on Thursday and Friday, as well as the opening of the Polish Soundcard exhibit on Wednesday April 13th, with Polish musicians Dawid Szczesny and Robert Piotrowicz.

On Thursday April 14th, the Audio Boutique will feature artists from Denver’s TITWRENCH Festival, a grassroots, feminist art and music collective founded in 2008. The all female roster includes Sarah Slater, Pillow Garden, Pollination Population and Laura Goldhamer, who will be presenting a playful and participatory workshop using her Speaker Drum Bell Machine.

Friday’s Audio Boutique will feature several ambient artists from across the U.S., presenting live and DJ sets, including Radere from Philadelphia, Borne from New York City, Watson from Santa Fe.

The Audio Boutiques run from 2pm until 7pm Thursday April 14 and Friday April 15, so come on down and experience some great live artists while you pick up your pass, mingle with other festival attendees, enjoy a beverage and snack, and explore the exhibits and installations!