Sizzling Semiconductors


electronic workshop

presented at:


Feminist Hardware Festival Vienna, Mz*Baltazar’s Lab, Viena, AT

Sizzling Semiconductors commences as a screaming tone at the precise touch, of a radio-sensitive mineral. The workshop proposes the construction of oscillating instruments from scratch to investigate the multifaceted history of electronic parts, semiconductive stones, their presence in electronic devices, and environmental decay.


Following the path of Galena crystals from antiquity to the industrial revolution, we will observe how these crystals enabled the first communication network through their demodulating capacities and how our present computational devices became so dependent on rare earths. We will peak at crystal radio cults, amateur activities, and informational wars carried on waves, transmitted and received through stones. 


Inspired by early 20th-century radio discoveries, we will create sounding electronic instruments out of scrap metal pieces and stones. Galvanized steel, a very usual leftover seems to bear inconspicuous proprieties once made incandescent: negative resistance peaks. Following Nyle Steiner’s experiments, we will enact negative resistance oscillators shaped as cat whiskers with components built from scratch. An old screw can become a surrogate for a transistor to scream modulated tones when treated properly. 


The participants will acquire knowledge in both technical and historical aspects of electronics to understand the methods of reinforcing communication networks out of leftovers. They will be guided to construct, bend, drill, solder, and reinvent circuitry. Heavy manual work is implied. 

Prior experience in electronics is warmly welcomed but not necessary.

Sizzling Semiconductor instruments made by participants at NØ SCHOOL Nevers, 2022