Brian Duffy / The Modified Toy Orchestra


Brian Duffy is a conceptual artist, whose work involves live performance, installations, original music composition, and the creation of new musical instruments. He has performed and presented internationally.

Brian’s central themes explore the limits of human sense data and the notion of perceptual habit. His work reveals the hidden world around us by utilizing modified and self-built apparatus.

In April 2005 Brian was awarded a three-year fellowship from NESTA (the National Endowment for Science Technology and Art). He is using the Fellowship to expand the central themes and concerns of his work by investigating the harmonic structure of the universe – focusing on the rotational frequencies of pulsars, as well as researching alternative uses for origami, in emergency housing design the Japanese art of paper folding

Related web sites

MTO Bandcamp

MTO Soundcloud

Optophonic Lunaphone


The Modiefied Toy Orchestra live
The Modiefied Toy Orchestra live

Recent and ongoing work:

A Theory of Everything 2006

Concept proposal for London science museum/Dana centre

A Theory of Everything is a monument to Einstein/public space for contemplation of the ‘presence of higher dimensions of space-time’. The design is a manifestation of Einstein’s aspiration towards a ‘grand unification theory’ that would unify the four fundamental forces of nature and realises a visual metaphor used by Einstein himself

Optophonic Lunaphone 2005

Performed in 2005 at the Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham, UK. Also as an installation in the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK.

A new musical instrument that uses six specially adapted telescopes; sensors built into the eye pieces convert the light from stars into sound – this information returns to a central control panel, allowing each sound to be manipulated and played in real time.

Modified Toy Orchestra 1999-2015

An ongoing project which explores the hidden potential and surplus value latent inside redundant technology; a process creating sophisticated new electronic instruments from abandoned children’s toys.

ZX Spectrum Orchestra

The ZX Spectrum Orchestra explore the programming/mathematical/musical mysteries of Basic Programming.

The ZX Spectrum Orchestra have been locked away in the lab writing code for two years, They use no midi, no samplers, in fact, no instruments other than Sinclair hardware and peripheral devices.

Future of Sound Tour 2006-07

Future of Sound provides a forum for the discussion of new and convergent art forms. By creating immersive experiences using state of the art sound technology and showcases leading practitioners in the fields of music and audio design, collaborating with artists and scientists.

Over 50 Performances have included:

2012 UK birmingham Modified Stockhausen, The Festival of Light”  

2012 Switzerland Romont Bicubic, Bicubic arts centre 

2011 UK Rites of Spring Festival Birmingham uk

2010 UK Radio 6 Festival in London uk

2010 UK British Festival of Avant Garde Music in London

2010 Spain Sonar Festival in Barcelona

2010 UK BBC Radio 6 

2009 Germany, Berlin Audio poverty festival,  

2009 China. Hong Kong City Hall

2009 Switzerland ,Fribourg Belluard festival, 

2008 Germany ,Augsburg lab:30 festival

2007 Rome, Palazzo dei congress, Dissonanze festival  

2007 Austria ,vienna Under Construction Festival 

2007 Portugal, Teatro Municipal da Guarda

2007 France. Paris Point Ephemere „octopus“ festival of invented instruments

2007 UK, London Ether Festival 

2007 Spain Seville –  Teatro lope de vega

2007 UK London Tate Britain cybersonica -Late at the Tate

2007 UK London Future of Sound – British Library

Modified Toy Orchestra Recordings:

Plastic Planet. CD Book 2011

Toygopop. CD album. Warmcircuit, 2006.

This is the Monkey . 7” single, Warmcircuit, 2005.

Casio SA1 Songs. 7” EP, Static Caravan, 2002.

ZX Spectrum Recordings:

Basic Programming.  CD Album Warmcircuit, 2006.

Dollar Power.  CD/DVD Single, Warmcircuit, 2006.

Clive Live^3. CD Ep Single, Warmcircuit, 2004.

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