#PIFcamp2016 – Day 3

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In the early morning hours one fifth of PIF(l)ars rose to hike to the Krn lake, and there wasn’t one who, seeing it, didn’t want to jump right in. But then, who would not want to take a swim and immerse himself in the mixing mirror-like reflections of the mountain scenery and his own body.  Well, some did dare to get their feet wet and remained there admiring it for some time, while others chose to try and reach Mount Šmohor.

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Hearing the thunderous sound of an approaching storm they were forced to head back and had a wet, albeit refreshing descent to the beautiful Lepena valley. Naturally, not before they also took various samples for further examination and analysis: some soil, some snow from the glacier, water from the Krn lake. They were trying to find out what kind of microorganisms could be found on different geolocations.

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Mary caught a toad on the way up the hill. She took a sample of its urine, and when her misplaced portable laboratory arrives from the airport, she plans to extract the hormones it contains.

Another laboratory though has already been set up in the PIFtent by Paloma and Leslie of the Interspecifics collective, and the PIFparticipants that use it have made a breeding ground for bacteria from agar, soup cubes and sugar.

Throughout the whole day individuals prepared everything needed to print their own personalized circuits, some of which will be formed on the basis of the plants they gathered while hiking.

After yesterday’s drilling, sawing and concrete-making session, the sound simulator of the well-remembered earthquake in Posočje is taking shape.

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Some very interesting patterns were weaved on printed circuit boards. We installed a speaker into a hollow tree. Marko Vivoda from the Slovenian visual collective Izland focused on the development of his idea how to “build” a column from soap bubbles that could be filled with smoke and he could project light on to them.

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Many projects, like the one from the Slovenian musician Jaka Berger – Brgs, focused on sound. He finished his envisioned optimization of a guitar, built on a drum and a feedback speaker. A highly productive nomad like him, who performs on numerous stages, needs to own a set of instruments, which are innovative, as well as easy to transport.

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An oscillator was in the making until late hours, a light and sound sensitive and responsive robot is being built, an obsolete doorbell was hacked, a telephone transformed into a microphone. Work on modular synthesizers continued… 

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After dinner it was time for Vaclav from BASTL Instruments to familiarize us with his own impressive modular synth.

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In short, the projects, tackled with ingenuity and determination, are definitely taking their shape, so they can be presented on Saturday’s open event.

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#PIFcamp2016 – Day 2

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The second day began relatively slowly for most participants. One by one the last remaining hackers arrived, and jumped right into action. Hannah Perner-Wilson, an artist from Austria, who explores the field of e-textiles with various creative approaches for example started sewing pockets for her portable tool storage system right away.

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Leslie Garcia and Paloma López from the Mexican artist collective Interspecifics held a demonstration of the EEG experiments for mapping brain activity and a presentation of their plan to build microbiological filters for tracking microorganisms. Of course, all participants took time to focus on their specific projects. Persistent sawing and drilling sounds could be heard in one corner, and one could also help preparing concrete.

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Mike Page, who with his playful attitude and fun project definitely left his mark on last year’s PIFcamp, held an etching workshop, and practically everyone was soldering diverse electronic components, which by the end of the week will end up in modular synthesizers.

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Part of the PIFgroup chose to step out into the wild and pick edible wild plants; along with the usual specimens like Wild carrots and Wild thyme this time they also brought back plants like Red clover and Mountain cumin. And we have to note: our PIFchefs really do make mind-blowing meals for us geeks, and even desserts aren’t missing or lacking. Tereza, Vid, Bojana and Dario, bravi maestri!

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When there is so much work being done and the atmosphere is so cheerful one hardly notices when day turns into night. And since the workday culminated in a music jam, you can imagine the night was quite long. Looking forward to another day!

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#PIFcamp 2016 has begun

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The Soča valley has been overrun by PIF(l)ars (nerds aka PIFparticipants in the local lingo). A weekend of preparations, initial explorations of the beautiful surroundings and introductions is behind us, but the PIFadventure really started only yesterday.

Breakfast was followed by the initial meet-up and the presentations of participants with their projects, and the afternoon was spent in building workstations. The first workshops also took place, among them we tackled hacking more or less complex locks under the guidance of John Maushammer.

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A group of PIFparticipants went for a short hiking tour in the direction of the deserted mountain village Lemovje. Heading the group was our familiar PIFcomrade Dario Cortese, with the help of whom we have had the opportunity to glimpse into the bountiful world of edible plants in our surroundings, of course mostly those that are predominantly safe to digest. Some, for example Bellflowers, Wild carrots, Winter savory, Ground elder and Wild thyme, ended up in a truly tasty omelette.

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After dinner most focused on workshops; the one that drew the biggest crowd was making PCBs, but some also chose to indulge in various games.

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Despite #Changing weathers, we are more than ready to rise to the challenge of a week-long search for creative solutions to stimulating problems.

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The Hacktivated Reactive Network by Luka Frelih

The Hacktivated Reactive Network will take on signals from the real world environment of the PIFcamp and its participants, react to them trough live-coded scripts and feed them back to the camp trough screens and kinetic sculptures. The physical input and output devices speaking the OSC protocol will connect trough Noise Make-up Language (NML), a web livecoding bridge, and form a living, pulsating and growing network inhabiting the camp site, its computers and browsers, not to mention the minds and bodies of campers.

hektiviranaContinuing from last year’s camp, we will be making more input and output modules based on ideas from kinetic sculpture, DIY and kids robotics, modular synthesizers and the beautiful natural surroundings. We will combine humble potentiometers, servo motors and microcontrollers, glue and sticks into abstract expression carriers capable of transforming gestures into numbers and back again. This year we will also try to develop good ways to use other projects sounds as inputs. Perhaps we’ll even manage to give the network a voice and sound. Join in!

Lynne Bruning: Intersection of Technology and Craft

Conductive thread, conductive fabric, velostat, Arduino, breadboad, Attiny, LEDs, Surface Mount LED, esistor, vibration board, Maxbotix range finder, 3V coin cell battery, battery holder, multimeter and scissors
Conductive thread, conductive fabric, velostat, Arduino, breadboad, Attiny, LEDs, Surface Mount LED, esistor, vibration board, Maxbotix range finder, 3V coin cell battery, battery holder, multimeter and scissors
A project by Lynne Bruning, creator of exclusive wearable art, eTextiles and adaptive technologies, will explore the whats, whys and hows of the connections among differing systems.
Exploration of the synaptic junction between electronics and textiles will lead to the development of new hardware and textile methodology for eTextiles, adapted traditional electronics hardware thru soldering, circuit making and prototyping, to integrate, fuse and interweave with traditional textiles.

Open Source Estrogen project

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Open Source Estrogen explores the various ways that estrogen performs a molecular colonization in our society, bodies, and ecosystems. Estrogen is the most ancient of sex hormones. Therefore the mutagenic effects of environmental (xeno) estrogens disrupt species across all animal taxa, including humans. In response to our collective mutagenesis (becoming alien), the project uses DIY/DIWO estrogen-hacking protocols as a way of detecting & extracting slow violence.

Open Source Estrogen is a project by Mary Maggic and Pippo Pruscha.

A Wearable Studio Practice by Hannah Perner-Wilson

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Hannah Perner-Wilson has been working on A Wearable Studio Practice project since 2015. The project packages the work environment of a typical Electronic Textiles studio into a series of portable items that can be worn or carried on the body. Providing the functionalities normally contained in static furniture and the architectural infrastructure of the studio/lab, these items allow the electrical engineer to become nomadic in her or his practice.

Now is a perfect time for electrical engineers to become mobile with their practice. It’s not just electronic parts that have become smaller and smaller, but also many of the tools used in electrical engineering (power supply, multimeter, oscilloscope, programmers… ) have become more compact and portable. Many practices closely related to hardware such as software/programming and CAD/design have been liberated from static infrastructures because laptop computers – their primary tools – are powerful and lightweight. Co-working spaces and FabLabs offer temporary workspaces all over the world. There is an awareness of the benefits of local production and site-specific development.

More about the project is available here.

PIFproject: Hacking the tuning fork

forkHacking the tuning fork is a project by Alexander Zaklynsky.

At PIFcamp I will be working on a project which will be developed for my current master program in ArtScience at the Royal Academy of Art in Den Haag, NL. I will bring a couple tuning forks which I have made from Aluminum as well as some modular electronics I am currently building at Bastl in Brno. I aim to build some devices for the activation of the tuning forks as well as manipulation of the audio for composing interactive audioscapes. Another part of my work is about natural soundscapes so I will bring various mics and a hydrophone for the river. Along with my current projects I am also excited to learn and absorb as much as possible from the offerings at PIF and see how my ideas evolve as a result.

Dinoflagellate at PIFcamp!

projekt Dinoflagelate
http://www.livescience.com/19318-bioluminescent-light-organisms.html
The project by Jože Špehar is based on special abilities of little single cell algae. This little creatures react upon a disturbance in a fluid they live in with light emission. They are called Dinoflagellates and their natural habitat is only in certain parts of the world’s oceans. The point of the project is to observe this phenomenon through creation and performance of different kinds of disturbances like air bubbles, droplets or streams of fluid and capturing this action and beauty with camera.

 

The work in this project can be roughly divided in three groups:

 

  • Development of devices, that will be able to produce air bubbles of different sizes and shapes (the diameter of the bubble, that is already big enough to make the cells glow is about 0.5 mm). Bubbles can have different shapes,  from simple circles or vortex ring bubbles, we can also make clouds of smaller bubbles. Lots of work and imagination can also be used in preparation of other types of disturbance sources.
  • Hacking the remote shutter release cable for camera (dslr). Camera will be set on the tripod, shooting will be triggered trough the wire in order to get a still picture. Shutter signal will come from the electronic circuit that uses photodiodes instead of the ordinary trigger button.
  • Preparation of the container in which the algae will live in during the time of the experiment and all the objects that will come in contact with them. It should be dipped into boiling water for 15 min to sterilize the materials and prolong the life of the algae. Maybe also the pure water from Soča river will come handy here.

Human and Non-human Rhythms by INTERSPECIFICS

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Dive into bio-hacking and experimental sonification with Paloma Lopez and Leslie Garcia aka INTERSPECIFICS!

“Matter and radiation exist only in and through rhythm.”
(Lúcio Alberto Pinheiro dos Santos)

RHYTHM-ANALYSIS
Rhythm is found where there’s interaction between space, time and expenditure of energy. In this sense to understand rhythm in both the complexity of music and the very nature of sound is also to understand the frequencies that shape human experience in time space and pervade everyday life and space.

THE LAB
In this 5 day long collaborative lab we will explore and work on following things together:
– Collect water and sediment from different shores of the Soča River and plant samples from the forest of Trenta
– Measure our own brain signals while exposed to different environmental stimuli
– Build a microbial fuel cell and a Teensy based signal amplifier
– Culture and track the amazing slime mold Physarum Polycephalum
– Use Processing and Pure Data to monitorize bioelectrical signals, and Open Computer Vision to analyze the movement of microorganisms in a microscope
– Make sound with all and try to understand different patterns within organisms and environmental situations

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THE CONCERT
With our tools built we will engage in a collective musical improvisation and try to put together the different sounds and rhythms deriving from the collected micro-organisms. The result will be presented as a live act at the conclusion of the week.

PARTICIPANTS NEED TO BRING
– Personal computer
– Audio Interface (optional)
– Midi or Voltage controlled Synth (optional)

THE WEEK IN ACTIVITIES
DAY 1
– A bit of theory on vibration and sonification
– Human brain signal measurment and sonification | positive/negative/neutral exercise
– Brain & music
– Culture Physarum
DAY 2
– A river adventure collecting water samples
– Microbial fuel cell building and sonification
– A bit of theory on bacteria that produces energy
– Track the growth of physarum
DAY 3
– A forest adventure collecting plant samples and plant transplant
– Pulsum Planta(e) kit building and sonification
– A bit of theory on the amazing secret life of plants
– Keep tracking the growth of physarum
DAY 4
– Physarum sonification
– A bit of theory on the growth and intelligence of slime molds
– Collective improvisation
DAY 5 & 6
Collective improvisation and public concert