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Qubais Reed Ghazala (born 1953), an American author, photographer, composer, musician and experimental instrument builder, is recognized as the "father of circuit bending,"[by whom?] having discovered the technique in 1966, pioneered it, named it, and taught it ever since.
Ghazala has built experimental instruments and/or consulted for many prominent musicians and media companies including Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, the Rolling Stones, Faust, Blur, Chris Cutler (the Residents, Henry Cow, Art Bears), Sri Chinmoy, Rob Schwimmer (Simon and Garfunkel), Nine Inch Nails, Towa Tei, Blue Man Group, Yann Tomita and MTV, among others.
Ghazala's work has been covered globally in the press including the New York Times's declaration of circuit-bending as part of the fine arts movement (April 8, 2004, Technology Section, Matthew Mirapaul), and can be found being taught world-wide.
Ghazala's work is held in various galleries internationally including the permanent collections of New York City's Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and the Whitney Museum of American Art as part of the Fusion Arts compendium.
Ghazala's influence upon creative electronic design is global, having originated the planet's first "grassroots electronic art movement" (while Ghazala has noted that he was not the lone, or first, experimenter in the field, it should be recognized that his contemporaries' work, regardless of date, did not spawn an international and specific art movement replete with original terminology, processes and an ever-increasing fellowship).
Ghazala's practice with chance art (the root of circuit-bending) also involves studies in dye migration materials [failed verification] and Japanese suminagashi [failed verification], as well as liquid, gel and smoke chambers, mobiles and pyrotechnics.
Ghazala accidentally discovered the technique of circuit bending in the 1960s when he left a toy amplifier in his desk and heard it start to emit sounds comparable to those produced by expensive synthesizers of the day. The amplifier's casing had been opened, exposing its inner circuitry and allowing it to short circuit when placed against the metal desk. It is this chance aspect of bending that serves as the foundation of circuit-bending.
Since discovering circuit bending, Ghazala has built countless instruments. These mostly consist of electronic toys modified with the circuit bending technique and customized until they barely resemble the original product. He has produced numerous audio compositions with these instruments which have been featured on many albums. He has also written a series of works relating to and teaching the circuit bending process, including his book, published by Wiley & Sons, titled Circuit-Bending: Build Your Own Alien Instruments.
Ghazala coined the term "immediate canvas" in his work with circuit bending, which is the concept that through circuit bending the hurdles of electronic design are avoided. Anyone can step up to an open circuit and create, without needing to know electronic theory or daunting equations. Another term coined by Ghazala is BEAsape which means BioElectronicAudiosapien. When body contacts are used, the body of the performer is used as a capacitor – there is a fusion between man and machine into one purpose which Ghazala says is something new zoologically and musically.