PIFproject #2: Prototyping Workshop by Michael Page


When designing something an inevitable stage in its development is prototyping, making a physical version of the scribbles in your notebook. This can be both fun and frustrating! The workshop will be an opportunity to discuss and demonstrate practical prototyping techniques (deciphering schematics, using breadboard, prototype board and PCB design) and talk about strategies to evaluate a prototypes success.

After a bit of this, if we are feeling brave we can attempt
… from the mythical “bag of currently unfulfilled possibility” you pick a dusty old microchip.  Your quest is to research what the chip can do then design and build a creative device (possibly an audio application, but not necessarily). You might get something with an obvious use like a 555 for an oscillator. However you might get something fiendishly boring that you really have to struggle to make funky. You can use whatever other components you need but the IC you pick has to perform the main operation of the device. If enough of these little silicon embryo’s struggle into life we could assimilate them all together into a freaky lunetta system. Hopefully we will learn something about prototyping and how different ICs work.
I think the task would be all the more noble if the ICs come from the dankest corners of the worlds weirdest workshops, and so if you have time dig deep in your junk for those logic chips you have never used or op-amps or whatever you think might be fun. Oh and I have a prize for the most inventive device!

PIFproject #1 announced!


Peter Edwards (Casper Electronics) and Václav Pelousek (Bastl Instruments) join forces to bring modular synthesis out of the studio and into Trenta park for PIFcamp. This project will give participants access to a simple but powerful set of building blocks which can be used to create interactive systems that control sound, light, motors and more. Participants will learn about the basics of analog and digital engineering while creating unique interfaces and experiences to share with others and integrate into the PIFcommunity.

The focus of our joined workshops is to provide simple but solid (and cheap!) building blocks to interface electronics with the outside world. On one side we have input conditioning for various types of sensors and on the other we have motors and physical actuators to modify the physical world. All interfacing can be done in the methodology of modular synthesis since all building blocks use control voltage as a common language. The format we will be using to interact with the building blocks is the electronics breadboard. It will be used for configuring internal connections but also to provide a mechanical base for creating solid objects. We will both work with participants to help them build functional systems throughout the week while also a holding a few group exercises and open lectures on basic electrical theory and coding practice. Václav on his own would like to focus on creating mechanical sequencers to run musical circuits (river / wind sequencer etc.). Peter will be focusing on musical applications of this system but is also eager to explore how light and electromechanical objects can be utilized to create audio/visual installations.

Since our building block will be breadboard based it will be very easy to combine this project with any other electronics project at the PIFcamp. We are eager to see how this project can be integrated into and activated by the greater PIFcommunity.

Let’s plant a PIFcamp web-tree!

In his project Tomaž Strgar, a graduate of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, as well as a post-graduate student on the Faculty of Arts (both in Ljubljana), who develops alternative principles of display and organization of on-line content, restores and designs smaller pieces of furniture and much more, questions the foundations of contemporary tendencies of web, technologies and society in general development.

»Web 3.Tree«


The theoretical part will predominantly include hacking of the concepts of our web future, all of which have been accumulated under the term »Web 3.0«. We shall discuss the production of web tools and technologies, the intelligence of machines and people, the meaning of semantic web and content organizing, and visions, such as the intelligent networks of intelligent machines. As needed, we will enlist the help of Descartes, Darwin, Turing, Huxley, Hegel and other spirits to the discussion. With the help of the visitors from the interested participants of other PIFcamp projects we shall gather ideas and material to develop our PIF web tree.

Practically speaking, we shall perform a radical cut into the foundations of modern web aesthetics. A web page will no longer be a scroll, but will always – just like a poster – be visible in it’s whole; the interactive elements will following a click open a new page with same characteristics. With the combined use of standard and non-standard tools we shall plant the PIF web tree, which will function something like this. You are warmly welcome to collaborate!

More light on PIFcamp!

Another project group be mentored by Michael Murray (IE), who is an arts technologist working in the technical areas of Theatre, Circus, Music and Video with a background in electronics and computer technology and a true passion for  lighting, and Tom O’Dea (IE), a Dublin-based artist, whose work encompasses sculptural works and mixed media installation across sound, electronics and video and is currently a researcher at the Arts Technology Research Laboratory in Trinity College Dublin.



The project aims to explore the idea of comparative rupture within the natural environment through the use of structured geometric lighting and sculptural installations, driven by data from local or networked sources. The aim of the project is to explore and deconstruct the claims towards neutrality and objectivity inherent in the data structures of the ‘hyper-real’ systems of global computing and communication technology by drawing them back into the affective and asignifying register of the natural environment.

The project will make use of various LED lighting technologies to create a system by which we can explore with other PIFcamp collaborators the effectiveness of different aesthetic strategies for reconstituting data as an affective or subjective entity.

The project also aims through collaboration to generate discussion about how a particular technology can act reflexively on the artist to shape their practice, through the setting in the natural environment, PIFcamp forces the project to coexist with elements outside the control of the technology’s parameters.


What is the sound of nettles cooking (or growing)?

Edible wild plants expert Dario Cortese presents his “food hacking” node!

Dario (right) is playing some Breton tunes to Good King Henry (not seen, as the plants with this name grow below the dancer).
As edible wild plants are three to four times stronger food (especially mineralwise) than cultivated ones, it will be an interesting point to get them “voice” their power via any possible channel. This is but only one of the possibilities to include wild edibles into hacking activities in Trenta valley, not to mention that collecting and using these foods is hacking business by itself, as it goes straight to the core of food: what did we eat 10.000 years ago? Why shouldn’t we have a direct access to food, otherwise dominated by hipersupemegamarkets, and, yes, also your own garden (most of the weeds are edible and more nutritious than cultivated vegetables).
And also, how do the nettle’s stings look like from a very close distance? Interestingly enough, they also contain serotonine and acetilholine, two powerful neurotransmitters.
Hunger aside, there will also be some very straight presentations of wild edibles in the surroundings of Soča village, that means how to recognize and use them.

By the way, more than 2000 species (out of 3500+) of wild plants in Slovenia can be used as food.

Wild appetite!

Only on Open Saturday! Graphic Sound and Jam Session.

On Open Saturday the participants and guests of the camp will be able to join a workshop mentored by Lavoslava Benčič named Graphic Sound. Lavoslava works in the field of visual communication and is an active member of Čipke.

Graphic Sound


In the course of the three-hour-long workshop of graphic sound we will shape sonic structures. The workshop is mostly directed towards those, who don’t have previous knowledge or experience in music composition.

We will start by exploring the beginnings of Graphic Sound and continue by discovering some examples from the art scene of the 20th century. The digital era has wastly contributed towards the transformation of graphic sound tools. We shall get to know them in the practical part of our workshop. We will install the software on our personal computers, prepare our selected visual data for the inclusion into the program and for the effective transformation into sound. What follows are sonic experiments, conducted by the tranformation of visual data into sonic structures. The worshop will conclude with a jam session.

It is highly recommended that the participants bring their own laptops and headphones.

What about PIFcamp Reactive Network?

Computer art node holder and ultimate open source & free software geek Luka Frelih presents the 7th project of the summer camp, named PIFcamp Reactive Network.

PIFcamp 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.

Waving robot by Marka

We will invent and make input and output modules based on ideas from kinetic sculpture, DIY and kids robotics, modular synthesizers and the beautiful natural surroundings to combine humble potentiometers, servo motors and microcontrollers, glue and sticks into abstract expression carriers capable of transforming gestures into numbers and back again. We will also bring along and repurpose the huge 19-pad stomp board from Sounds of Ljubljana which will surely add to the fun of finding the pattern that will emerge from connecting these experiments with the noise emanating from other projects at PIFcamp.

Dancing Mushrooms by Lisa Bowden

The 6th PIFcamp project by our international guest Lynne Bruning

Lynne Bruning creates exclusive wearable art, eTextiles and adaptive technologies. She teaches seamless integration of electronics with textiles, inspiring fiber artists, electrical engineer and computer hackers to embrace eTextiles and wearable technology. Ms. Bruning fosters eTextile communities via The eTextile Lounge, an online resource and by lecturing and teaching worldwide.

eTextile Explorations

Dried Flowers with LEDs for Bouquets and Center Pieces

Using traditional crafting techniques of embroidery, lace making and sewing, we will use conductive fabrics, threads and paints to transform electronic hardware into soft circuits and eTextiles. During PIFcamp we will collaborate with the other nodes to replicate their computer circuitry into functional electronic textiles and thru this process gain a greater understanding of how electronic hardware is manufactured and how to manipulate these systems into eTextiles. By exploring alternative methods of manufacturing sensors and PCBs we hope to introduce additional tools to PIFcamp’s varied electronic systems and expand our electronic component vocabulary.

Conductive Thread Speaker Coil Sewn into a Plant Leaf