Hacking Our Hands project by Hannah Perner-Wilson

“What wonderful contraptions, these tools attached to the ends of our arms. From coding to crochet, human making involves the use of our hands to interface with the world.” Find out what our e-textiles and wearable node host Hannah Perner-Wilson will work on this year.

In order to find out more about these fleshy machines, shall we attempt to hack them?

We can add sensors to sense ourselves making. We can add actuators to enact new actions. And lets hack our hands using local and natural materials – sewing leaf gloves, carving twig tweezers, constructing bark armor, molding mushroom pincushions …

Find more about Hannah’s project here.

PIFrecipes by Dario Cortese

Carrot salad with wild herbs 1.0

Grate the carrots and put them in a salad bowl. Add pumpkin oil, vinegar and dry-roasted sesame seeds. Then add some yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and mugwort (common wormwood, Artemisia vulgaris) flowers with some finely cut leaves of both plants. The more flowers and leaves you add, the stronger will these aromatics flavor the salad, so do not add to much, as they are truly aromatic. Decorate the salad with the flowers of annual plant fleabane (Erigeron annuus), which have a slightly pepperish taste. Mix and, yes, that’s it. Enjoy!
You may add salt too, but at least taste the salad without it first.

Carrot salad with wild herbs 1.1

Prepare the carrots and add pumpkin oil, vinegar and roasted sesame seeds, just like in 1.0. Then add unripe fruits of one big inflorescence of wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris) per salad bowl. Mix and enjoy.

Tomato salad with raw nettle sauce & wild carrot

Put some olive oil and vinegar in a big bowl, cut three or four tomatoes, put them into the bowl and add quite a big bunch of nettle shoots (Urtica dioica) and/or young leaves. Three or more pinches of chopped wild carrot leaves (Daucus carota) won’t hurt. Salt a bit more than usually, as this works as the sauce aka some kind of nettle gazpacho for the tomatoes.
Mix in a blender until you get something like a semi thick liquid sauce.
Cut more tomatoes and put them in an appropriate salad bowl. Pour the nettle-gazpacho-sauce over them and add a bowl or two of wild carrot flowers without their stems. Mix with a spoon and let it sit for a while so aromas develop. Decorate with wild carrot flower(s) and if there is some wild garlic around put its flowers and flower bulbs on top.

Ice matea with burnet

Put 3 tablespoons of yerba mate in 2 liters of cold water and stir. Crush a bunch of burnet (Sanguisorba minor) leaves slightly with your hands and add them to the cold infusion. Leave it to stand for at least a couple of hours or overnight. Then strain it, chill it or add ice cubes and taste the wild ice matea. The aroma of burnet leaves is not that far away from melons and cucumbers. And yes, the taste of mate is also very present.

Fresh cheese spread/dip with calamint

Combine one kilogram of fresh cheese, e.g. cottage cheese, with half a kilogram of sour cream. Add a handful of finely chopped calamint (Calamintha brauneana or any other Calamintha species) leaves and flowers, some olive oil and salt. Mix well and let it stand for a while, preferably for a few hours or overnight. Serve as a spread on bread, as a dip with chunks of raw vegetables, with cooked potatoes, as an addition to salads etc.

Nettle chips

Collect as much nettle (Urtica dioica) tops as you can. The flower buds with older leaves are also excellent. Collect them just before they start to flower and trim their tough stem away.
Heat some oil (e.g. coconut oil), lard or ghee in a pan and fry the nettles for a short while; around a minute is usually enough. Take the nettles out as soon as they become crunchy and the fat stops foaming. The aim is to keep them (dark) green; if they are turning brown, it is really high time to take them out. Sprinkle with salt, mix lightly and enjoy.

Roseroot pifmethamine

Collect 20 roseroot (Rhodiola rosea) stalks and trim off the leaves. Put them in a blender, add a liter of apple/pear brandy or vodka and blend well. Leave the mixture standing for a while, so the crushed leaves settle on the bottom of the container. Then pour off the liquid and store it in a closed bottle. Drinking 30 to 60 milliliters of the concoction has a nice and invigorating effect. Do not throw the crushed leaves away, but use one or two teaspoons as an addition to any tea.


Want to know more about the plants mentioned here and their uses? Check them out on the internet. Wikipedia is a quite nice basic informative source. The easiest way to be sure you are reading about the right plant is to type in their Latin name.

The 3rd PIFcamp is over!

The third edition of PIFcamp has ended successfully and if we rely on the testimonies of PIFparticipants and guests, we can safely state it has been the best yet. We would like to give thanks to all who made PIFcamp possible starting with the organizational team from Ljudmila, The Projekt Atol Institute and this year’s co-organizers BioTehna and Rampa Lab.

Immense gratitude is due to our team of tireless cooks for our delicious meals, to the photo and video team for their stunning documentation of the PIFhappening and PIFprojects, to the scout clan Zmajev rod for giving us extra shelter and working space in the tent, the local community of Soča village for every imaginable support and to the UCSB or MAT program for being there for us in key moments. Thank you!

Naturally it would be very hard to do it without the support of the Municipality of Ljubljana and the Slovenian Ministry of Culture, as well as all our sponsors and donors. Big thanks goes out to the HTE  store for all electronic components, to Iskra for potentiometers, to the Conrad store for all the tools, and to Radio Študent for enabling us to be heard!

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, the biggest RECOGNITION and THANKS goes out to this year’s participants and to the whole PIFcamp community for the selfless, benevolent and heartfelt sharing of knowledge, ideas, experiences, talents, courage, ingenuity and magic <3

See you next year!

P. S. We want your work zeal to outlive PIFcamp, so make sure you take full advantage of the 15% discount on all on-line purchases offered by Conrad.

May hacking live forever!

PIFcamp 2017 – Day 6

The end of the camp is getting closer, which is reflected in the projects, as they are all in their final phases. After breakfast we therefore took some time to hang out by the river. We went to the Great Soča Gorge, a truly fairy-tale-like location, where one can bask in the emerald sheen of Soča, take deep plunges into the river or just enjoy sitting by the gorge and relax with the light effects of Václav’s modified fidget spinner.

After Václav explained all about the history of flashing stroboscopic effects with psychedelic results, which inspired his modification of the fidget spinner, he led the participants of his Kastl workshop to the shade and continued explaining the various practical uses of the synths they made yesterday.

Back in the base Peter led the second part of his echo synth building workshop, and other continued work on their projects.

Hannah and Mika have also reached the final phase of their costume creation. We had a tasting of the fermented mate drinks and were most pleased with the ones which were flavoured with thyme, oregano and calamint.

After supper it was time for a Nintendo tournament.

Even the youngest tried out various instruments. We listened to music and socialised by the fire, which was a spot perfect for watching another laser show. This time others joined in its creation, as they threw corn starch (amongst other things) towards the laser beam to form a kind of a Milky Way effect. The frolicking went on long into the night.


PIFcamp 2017 – Day 5

Cindy left our camp in the morning. A part of the group attended Gea’s yoga session, a fine way to stretch their feet all sore from yesterday’s hike to Krn Lake. The daily dose of wasp stings is becoming mandatory. Andrew got stung in his tongue right after yoga, but it wasn’t fatal. His swelling went down in a few hours and he was back in shape again.

The crew of the Slovenian National Television came to visit. Before lunch we gathered ferns and other plants that will be incorporated into two costumes created by Hannah and Mika (Kobakant) for their ritual performance. Their team is getting bigger, as they have been joined by Andrew, Craig, Miro and many more.

Miro made a pair of stilts and Hannah was already practising walking on them in the afternoon. We got a good idea about the two costumes and their future form by the evening.

The ingeniously humorous Václav spent some time in making insoles for his sneakers. With the help of Hannah he equipped them with conductive strips and sensors, which control the sound coming from his modular synth. He also held a workshop. Ten participants were able to make their very own Kastl synths, a mini modular synths with an input for headphones.

Like every day there was a lot of swimming going on in Soča, and some even took to kayaking.

A large segment of the happening is taking place in the evening, as it is quite hot during the day. The brother Jure and Marko Lavrin graced us with an incredible pop-synth musical performance, Jure continued with Dario and Brgs on their excursion into psychedelic music, then it was time to listen to some noise generated by Staš and Peter. They were soon joined by Kleemar, and all of the aforementioned contributed to the making of diverse electronic harmonies that went on until the small hours of the day. The energy was phenomenal. Some danced like nobody was watching, others immersed themselves in the laser visualisation Bernhard projected on the nearby tree. A small performance was given by Andrew, who fitted right into the visual content of the evening with his costume and some simple lighting effects. Another visual performance was the work of Klemens Kohlweis who projected onto the wall behind the band.

It was high time to discuss the program of this year’s Open Saturday, when PIFparticipants present their projects to the public. Yair and Zohar are planning their lollipop presentation for noon, Dario will take us for a walk to and on the nearby meadows, and we will also get a chance to try out the fermented mate drinks created by Rosen and his team.

The Rampa team is working on several different nodes for our youngsters. On Arduino use in combination with sensors and visualisation, so one can visually imagine all the data gathered by the sensors from our environment, for example. Others are also working on their project presentations. Vincent and Mojca will upload a song to their accordion, so we will be able to play along the pattern of its LED lights. Vaclav and Bernhard will perform as Laser Bros (lasers and modular synths), Peter and Vaclav will also be performing together, and Hannah will make a presentation of the video she made about her last year’s project on PIFcamp – PIFpack. We will have our traditional picnic, and you will be able to screen print your own PIF T-shirt.

PIFcamp 2017 – Day 4

A group of PIFparticipants rose up early in the morning and went on a hike to Krn Lake. The most enthusiastic ones didn’t even wear proper shoes, but that had no effect whatsoever on the pleasure of their undertaking, as they enjoyed watching the ever-changing local flora and fauna. The lake served as a beautiful spot to have a rest and a quick panacea for soaring feet – the little fish in it even provided a pedicure. Those, who were up to it, continued to a nearby mountain top Šmohor.

Before returning to the valley Andrew tried out the robotic arm he took to the hike. He gave it a Sisyphean task – to move stones from one pile to the next and back again. He also shot some spectacular video material with his drone. On their way back the group gathered another batch of stinging nettles, which we have been eating fried for the last couple of days, and some rhodiola rosea or rose root. The root will serve as an invigorating addition to an alcoholic drink we are preparing.

The PIF participants that stayed in the base relinquished their morning yoga session. Rosen and the team working with him continued with their fermentation of yerba mate. It was time to take out the kombucha. They strained the liquid into smaller bottles and exposed them to the sun. They also added some herbs to the concoction to improve its flavour. They plan to serve at least 10 litres of the drink by the end of PIFcamp.

Batt-Girl (Bat Dezabeli), our guest from Jerusalem has been crocheting away in the shades of the tent. A photo of Soča River serves as an inspiration for her 3-D crocheted painting. Kristijan Tkalec, who has been measuring the temperature of the river every day and determined it has 9 degrees Celsius in the morning and 12 degrees Celsius at noon, decided to make an UV sensor, which will help us to ascertain the time it is advisable to socialize in the sun.

Jaka Berger – Brgs, one of the most versatile Slovenian musicians, has been tirelessly working on his project. He has finished his yearly upgrade of the prepared string pieces he uses on his percussions. He programed a patch for granular synthesis in pure data, which he plans to use on his next record. Luka Frelih also helped him to create the code for Arduino he will use to control sixteen servomotors he added to the drum he was working on at PIFcamp last year.

Our guests from Italy – Alice Pintus and Alessandro Contini – held a synth-making and the basics of sound production in Arduino workshop throughout the day. They explained a lot about generating simple noise patterns, translating light into sound, sequencing and so forth.

When the evening meeting full of reports about the experiences of the day and our progress ended, it was time for the Czechs to steal the show. Václav, who has been playing around with a fidget spinner he modified to create a kind of psychedelic contraption with a kaleidoscopic effect, made an introduction into the operational amplifier schematics reading. The lecture section was continued by Vadim Petrov, who provided a short and practical introduction to the coding of video content in browsers.

The Israelis Yair Reshef and Zohar Messeca-Fara who have been forced to work on their electronic lollipops by night as there is too much wasps around the tent during the day, made a demonstration of their work methods and a degustation of the first lollipops. Amongst other things they have been using silicon moulds of the plants we made with Andrew yesterday.

The electronic “freitonerin” with mechanical keys by Groenhuis and Miklavec is finished and is working. They will start on another version tomorrow. This one will have electronic keys, as they are testing different combination to find out what works best. The accordion will also have LED diodes. They will serve as a decorative element, but will also help you to learn new songs, as their blinking will point out the next key that needs to be pressed.

All project are linked in a sense, and the bonds among the participants are getting stronger as well. Although we are barely through the first middle of the camp, we already agree it is its most active chapter so far.

Join us on the Open Saturday!

The 3rd edition of PIFcamp is slowly coming to its conclusion. The intense hot week has not slowed down the PIFcampers by Soča and everybody is rushing to finish their project before the end of the week.

We are inviting you to visit us on the traditional Open Saturday (AUG 5). Throughout the day full of mini-events and presentations you can check out the diversity of PIFprojects and meet the fascinating participants of PIFcamp 2017.

The programme starts at 12PM and includes some of the activities listed below:

  • Yair Reshef and Zohar Messeca-Fara: Electronic lollipops tasting
  • Dario Cortese: A walk around the surrounding meadows
  • Rosen Ivanov: Fermented drinks tasting
  • Rampa Lab Team: Hands-on workshop with sensors (for kids)
  • Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson: E-textile ritual
  • Kikimore (Sara Mlakar and Straška Guček): Ambiental sound performance
  • Anton Prykhodko: “Hacking garden”installation made out of garbage with different inputs for connecting synths
  • Vincent Groenhuis and Mojca Miklavec: Try out their electronic MIDI accordion
  • Hannah Perner-Wilson: PIFpack video live
  • Vaclav Peloušek & Bernhard Rasinger aka Laser Bros: Evening AV performance (lasers and modulars)

and more…

The traditional picnic, garment screen printing, and evening jam sessions  included!

Accommodation for guests is unfortunately not possible, so we suggest you check out possible vacancies in the camps close by: Camp Jelinc, Camp Soča or Camp Korita. Since the Vršič pass road is still under reconstruction, we advise you to consider an alternative road via Predel / Predil (Italy).

PIFcamp is located in Soča Village (address Soča 25), right beside the local church.

We will ask the visitors joining the picnic for a modest contribution for food and drinks.


PIFcamp 2017 – Day 3

Despite a long previous night a small group woke up early and start the day with yoga. As Gea was absent it was led by our man with many talents – Andrew Quitmeyer. He is one of the central figures of this year’s PIFcamp and is the one, who might also be the most recognisable one. Some of you may know his as an author of the television show Hacking the Wild. Well, for a job well done he was awarded with a wasp sting at the end of the session.

After breakfast the majority of participants went on a hike with our wild man  Dario Cortese, who led us up the hill to a nearby deserted village Lemovje.

We made our base their for a short time. While some left to catch a glimpse of a spring, which was located approximately a ten minute hike away, the others joined the workshop led by Hannah Perner-Wilson and Mika Satomi from KOBAKANT. We gathered various morphologically interesting plants, which might be use as accessories to the interactive garments they are planning to build.

In the meantime we were having fun with co-creating Hannah’s “green” T-shirt. That meant we covered her in stinging nettles. As they have hairs they are highly suitable for instant textile design.

While we were walking, we naturally gathered some more of the delicious wild plants growing in the vicinity. We also got to find out about some new ones. What we gathered later became an ingredient in our meals, but we also made a really good tea. The hike was crowned with a mandatory daily swim and many refreshing jumps into Soča.

The wind was suitable enough for Cindy Regalado and Luka Frelih to try out if the day was good for flying kites. The kite did take of, but not high enough to take appropriate pictures. Cindy therefore decided to explain remaining steps in the process of this specific way of map making. We got to know the program with which one can process the images and “stitch” it together. They also tried to fly the kite again in the afternoon, but this time, although the altitude was suitable, something went wrong with the camera.

After lunch we partook in a short workshop, in which we learned a lot about the uses of whey and making yogurt. We added some black currants and several local herbs to milk in order to check if they contain suitable bacteria for yogurt making. We will find out if they do tomorrow. Vaclav Pelovšek lead a quick course about the of modular synthesis. Some joined Andrew in making silicon casts of the plants we gathered on the hike. In the coming days we will be using the moulds to make organic shapes from chocolate or epoxy resin.

Lavoslava Benčić (from ČIPke), who has been working on her electronic gloves for the third year on PIFcamp now, decided to try and make an orthopaedic insole from kombucha. But, as it turned out kombucha doesn’t have enough of a “spring” effect when dry. Staš Vrenko and his group successfully finished the etching of eight circuit boards in the bathroom, which they turned into an improvised darkroom.

The electronic accordion project is almost in its closing phase. Vincent and Mojca focused on determining if the electronics programming was done correctly, meaning, if specific tones answer to the assigned keys. Light box by Špela Škulj, made for screen printing, will be ready by Friday and we will get to try it out by making PIF T-shirts. By the evening we also got a first taste of the candy which will coat the electronic bonbons. The camp seemed like a well organised anthill at some point. Everybody was busy doing something. Gregor’s analog sequencer is also finally getting shape.

This night turned into a cacophonic symphony of sounds. PIFmusicians made them with drums, a bagpipe, flutes and synths, but this wild jamming was soon stopped by a temporary power shortage. So, most of us went straight into our beds, as the next day will be full of new adventures – some planned to go on another hike to Lake Krn at the break of dawn.