people doing strange things with electricity

Mad Scientists Take Over!!!

This month’s dorkbot is curated by S.O.A.P – aka Seattle Outsider Artist Project, a local non-profit dedicated to the advancement of art by self-taught artists, underground artists, undiscovered artists, and creative persons who do not consider themselves to be artists.

Wednesday, July 6th at 7.00 pm (screening), 7.30 pm (presentations)
Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WA


Matt Stiger, How I coiled my Coil and why there’s a washtub on top: local artist and technologist Matt Stiger, winner of the Best Tesla Coil Award at last month’s dorkbotsea Tesla Night, describes the ins, outs, challenges and rewards of building your very own Tesla Coil. Matt is also an accomplished neon artist, creating interactive art with glass and gases. will tell you more.

Michael Clark and Chris Lodwig, World’s Largest Baking Soda Volcano… For the second year in a row, these pioneering scientists will attempt to break the non-existent World Record for the Largest Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcano at the Weird Genius Real Science Fair. Last year’s was big, and made of baking soda and vinegar! This year’s will be made of baking soda and vinegar, too – but even bigger! Michael and Chris tell you how it’s done, what they’ve learned – and why.

Bill Beaty, More Unwise Microwave Oven Experiments: local tech-artist, amateur scientist, founder of the Weird Science Salon and dorkbot favourite Bill Beaty reprises his microwave madness and shows that, besides heating coffee, zapping CDROMs and making monstrous Peeps(tm), your microwave oven can also produce molten lava, explode light bulbs, and melt beer bottles. tells you about the experiments, and tells you about Bill.

Open Dork/Show and Tell:

THE FLOOR IS YOURS!! Have a weird science project? A wild and woolly theory? A question? An announcement? Need collaborators or co-conspiritors? Then Open Dork is for you! This month, dorkbotsea regular Christopher Prosser will talk about a new work in progress, Franklin Hu describes his Unified Field Theory of Gravity, and anyone else who feels like talking GETS TO DO SO!


Tawney is the girl who listened through a balloon underwater to a favourite sound and called it music. Her primary focus when DJing is to ask questions about the relationship and/or barrier between noise, music, and sound and to never be satisfied with the answer. Tawney spins while you talk, network and show off your own weird science and peculiar chemistry.


Survival Research Labs’ The Pleasures of Uninhibited Excess: a fast-moving and comprehensive documentation of three SRL performances from 1989-1990. Includes "Illusions of Shameless Abundance ...", ArtSpace Computer-Controlled Installation, "A Carnival of Misplaced Devotion ...", plus details of the 1989 bomb hoax incident. You’ll see SRL in Seattle! You’ll see Greg Leyh’s Tesla Coil! You’ll see general mayhem! You’ll wonder why things have been so quiet around here ever since… Video courtesy of Mark Pauline.

More about our speakers:

Matt Stiger, artist statement: Art or craftsmanship? Duchamp declared that anything the artist produces is art. How anybody draws that line is not my business. I just make the stuff. I create things that interest me. My pieces are usually not social, political or religious statements (At least, not that I am aware of!). I make things simply because I like to make them. I am often inspired by things I see in nature; a coral reef, tropical flowers, complex molecules, even microbes. My hope is that anybody who sees my work will feel some of the wonder and appreciation I feel when I see those things. Almost everything I create is interactive. What does that mean? Almost everything I make responds to touch! Touch the glass and see! Brightness increases. Colors change. Patterns, behaviors, and motions change. It's never the same reaction twice. I plan to keep making Neon Art and trying to find new ways to use glass and light in my artistic efforts. I also plan to keep on with my High Voltage silliness by making ever more powerful and insane machines. One day I hope to be able to really shock the heck out of any people crazy enough to come and see my projects!

Bill Beaty: At the moment I'm an Research Engineer on staff at the University of Washington in Seattle. In the past I've spent time as an embedded designer and software engineer, consulted on textbooks, lectured about electricity education, designed science projects for kids, and built physics exhibits while running the electronics dept. at the Museum of Science in Boston. Today I spend my free time running SCIENCE HOBBYIST, a large website for amateur science and science education. You'll also find me hanging out on the PHYS-L physics education forum, holding forth about various ways to explain all things electrical. I was born in the US but I was raised on the island of Guam, which gave me a bit of an "outsider" viewpoint which I've carefully tried to preserve. And when you're in 3rd grade while both your parents are school teachers, it gives you a critical eye regarding the foibles of educators. I was bitten by the science bug at an early age and had fun with a chemistry set, but I soon discovered where the REAL magic was hidden: hobbyist electronics. Even more magical is the Black Art of electrostatics. And to search for traces of true magic in the sciences, nothing beats actual magic. More: