Audio-visual laboratory

Composer and musician John Richards (Dirty Electronics) has brought his DIY text-to-noise synth to Trenta. In his art circuit, he is wanting to feed into it various texts and debates taking place at this year’s PIFcamp and displaying them on an embedded LCD screen. With PIF participants he was sharing his knowledge of the electronics, design of electronic circuits and construction of analogue and digital instruments. Also, variants of an instrument he named Bad of Nails were made at his workshop. For the development of which they have used materials found in the camp’s surroundings – bricks, wood, stones and the like. As he said, great fun was had while designing a radical chip for crazy low-level computer music. With minimal resources, it was done together with Staš Vrenko and Klemens Kohlweis and they hope to play it live for us.

Another regular visitor to the camp, Staša Guček, has been further developing her last yeas project MOTHeremin. She has created as many as three theremins for the blind and partially sighted, based on drawings of endangered butterflies of Slovenia. Slovenian interdisciplinary artist and programmer Tadej Droljc has made some serious strides into the development of his latest audio-visual composition here. For a project, we will be publicly presenting for the first time in Ljubljana in December, he made a circuit that can control higher voltage devices via an Arduino and has developed a converter that converts audio and laser ILDA signals.

In the surrounding of the beautiful Soča river valley, the musician and performer Janus Aleš Luznar (Yanoosh) wanted to upgrade his inter-media performance Ictuscordis, the main subject of which is his heart or heartbeat. He tried to create a sensor for sensing the heartbeat of the dancer, which in the future he wants to incorporate into the performance, thus upgrading the visual element of the performance. However, he says, time will not allow him to finish the project, the first version of which was developed last year with the help of PIFcamp.

For his spatial multi-channel audio performance musician Mitja Cerkvenik developed a midi controller with automation. And the continuation of past visual investigations of light and shadow on a moving textile surface has been undertaken by designer Kaja Kisilak and architect Lea Bradašević. Their analogue type of visuals, which for example used to be part of the Loudspeaker Alliance concert performance in the past, has now been upgraded so that the work of stretching and moving the fabric is taken over by electric motors that will create moire optical effects.

Also, other interesting musical and visual experiments are being made on the camp – projects that are one way or another related to music.

Active start

The annual exploratory trips around the camp guided by our wild man and nutrition expert, Dario Cortese, with whom we are getting to know various edible wild plants, have been upgraded this year. We are working to systematically mark the habitats of the surrounding edible wild plants. The first mapping have already taken place on the way to the abandoned village of Lemovje, located on a hill and featuring some spectacular vistas.

This year we strive to establish guidelines for a holistic approach to the understanding of our relationship to food, which has always been an important part of the camp. Some experiments with fermentation and bread baking are ongoing. Also, in a playful way food is also the focal point of a soon to be completed board game. The board game’s originators Grace Wong and Jennifer Katanyovtamant try to encourage its players to try new flavours (natto, durian, kimchi …), to make new combinations of flavours and above all, to talk about food.

Scott Kildall, an American conceptual and multimedia artist, communicates in a very unique way. By positioning various response sensors and creative electronics at different points around the camp and manipulating sound material he is recording here, he is constantly setting new and humorous tones to our surrounding. 

Possible layouts of modular outdoor mobile furniture, that would allow for participants to work, rest or spend some time even closer to nature are of interest to a group gathered around  the Greek architect Olivia Kotsifa, whose prime interest is in co-creating these possible environments of the future. With an enthusiastic group of fellows Olivia has already checked up some possible locations to set the furniture up.

The German nomadic scientist with a background in molecular biology Julian Cholle has immediately buried his hands in the ground. Visiting the camp with a desire to study and explore the soil, which he otherwise does in the context of the open research platform HUMUS sapiens, he took some samples of soil. Examined under the microscope they indicated that the soil around the camp is alive and full of microorganisms that assist in biodegradation.

Although most PIFparticipans work on their projects, there is a lot of collaboration and idea-sharing. The relaxed atmosphere and openness of the participants allow for creative exchange, validation of ideas, as well as solving completely practical and abstract problems.

A tribe of digital nomads

In the Valley of the beautiful Soča, a river situated in the unspoiled nature of the Triglav National Park, around fifty domestic and foreign multimedia artists, programmers, engineers, theorists and scientists gathered for the fifth year in a row. They embarked on a week-long journey at a summer hacking camp, working on projects at the intersection of art, science, technology, innovation and open knowledge. 

As every year, selected internationally renowned mentors are an important part of the camp, acting in a network of projects as nodes and critically addressing the field of community work, creative electronics, interactive technologies, and learning in nature. And since the camp is designed according to the principle of horizontal knowledge-sharing, the participants already familiarized themselves with the projects they intend to undertake.

The kick-off day started with participants getting familiarized with the surroundings and above all – getting to know each other. After a delicious dinner we had, the day shifted into the night with the sound of music, as the first jam session took place. Our thoughts were full of expectations of the things to come as we concluded our first day enjoying the warmth of the campfire.

PIFcamp 2018 – Images and Sounds!

The envisioned and realizable PIFprojects are about to be completed. Another contribution to the long list is the Library of Missing Parts and Inclusive Circuits, a humorous database of missing graphic representations, which illustrate our relationship to technology. The sensor building workshop led by Hannah and Vaclav is going along nicely. We managed to build several sensors from textiles, which will sonify our work through modular synthesis.

Klemens Kohlweis is another artist who made it possible to listen to our immediate surroundings. He used several parabolic microphones to isolate and amplify selected sounds at great distances. The sound of wind takes center stage in Juan Duarte’s project Aeolian Artefact. Januš Aleš Luznar (Yanoosh, Ohm Fat) is also fast approaching the rhythm of his heart with the help of two stethoscope-looking  microphones he built at the camp.

Two participants, both working at the intersection of sound and visual art are Connor Haynes, an audiovisual artist from UK and Juan Manuel Escalante, best described as a nomad. Both were making field recordings in places around PIFcamp, manipulating them and producing accompanying visuals. Escalante envisioned a graphic album and created a series of refined artwork, which reveals various locations where he made the recordings. He considers releasing the project in a fanzine form.

The Slovenian visual artist Tisa Neža Herlec focused on the sonification of her drawing table, which she managed to accomplish with a few contact microphones. Music and sound also drive the Sonance Garden interactive installation by Ina Thomann, an Austrian artist working under the artist name Lino Leum. She will be able to manipulate the sound in the installation by changing the degree of light, moisture and temperature.

We are also trying to grasp the concept of time. For Anna Sircova, a psychologist working and living in Denmark, time has been the subject of intense research. An enticing glimpse of the future is provided by Jakob Scheite and his Fortune Telling Machine. A sample of a donor’s urine is used to measure concentrations of the donor’s hormones and these measurements collectively are used to predict an individual’s future.

Open Saturday 2018!

PIFcamp is nearly finished, which means the grand finale is at hand – the traditional Open Saturday! Join us, meet this year’s participants and check out the projects we were developing during the past week.

The programme will start around 1 PM, and will continue late into the night. Food and drinks will be available – for a small contribution you won’t be hungry or thirsty, but we would kindly ask you to find your accommodations else where.

See you!

Programme:

Urška Alič (SI) – silk printing “PIFish” workshop

Luka Frelih (SI) Distributed Sensing Dome – 3D scanning of big objects

Lynne Bruning (USA) The Wandering Cafe – morning chat in a pop-up cafe down the Soča river bank

Hanna Perner-Wilson (AT) Sense Yourself Making – performans & tattoo session

Václav Peloušek (CZ) – sonification of skateboarding using wireless shoe pressure sensors

Bernhard Rasinger (AT) – laser show

Dmitry Morozov ::vtol:: (RU) Hot Ninja – performative Wi-Fi action

İpek Burçak & Eren İleri (TR) Secure Shell – multimedia installation

Jakob Scheithe (AT) Fortune Telling Machine – A bio-hacked urin fortune teller

Juan Manuel Escalante (MEX/USA) Sounds of Soča – immersive listening session

Juan Duarte (MEX) Aeolian Artefacts –  sound installation on the bridge

Kleemar (SI) – live act

Inna Thomann (AT) Lino Leum: Sonance garden – interactive sound installation

Klemens Kohlweis (AT) – parabolic directed microphone presentation

Anna Lerchbaumer (AT) – sound installation

Connor Haynes (UK) ­– AV installation

Lavoslava Benčič (SI) – Audible Healing Pressure Points + introductory workshop of e-textiles

Maggie Kane (USA) – presentation of the smart jacket prototype (MIDI controller)

Sanja Hrvaćanin & Eva Pondrk (SI) – presentation of the smart jacket prototype for cyclists

Anna Sircova (DK) – lecture Psyhology of time & installation Space of Futurisation

Danilo Ivanuša Knedl (SI) cooking workshop for kids

Kristijan Tkalec, Ahac Meden, Dario Corteze (SI) – fermented goods tasting

Lio Novelli & Jurij Podgoršek (SI) – presentation of Daktyl keyboard

Lovrenc Košenina (SI) – setting up a permanent DIY weather station

Jani & Niko Pirnat (SI) – Rock & roll ball

Tisa Neža Herlec (SI) – hands-on presentation of a sound instrument

PIFcamp 2018 – Unwinding…

There comes a point in the day, when each PIFparticipant has to step away from his project, let go of technology and de-stress, usually by the river. There, in a mysterious location, if you are adventurous and curious enough, you can stumble upon the The Wandering Cafe, and enter a charming world full of stories, magical delicacies, as well as receive an obligatory and invitingly comforting cup of coffee. Its proprietress and initiator is Lynne Bruning, the American maker and e-textiles innovator.

Another mandatory PIFstop is Krn Lake. There’s simply nothing better to reset one’s brain other than a two-hour stroll up to the largest of the Slovenian high mountains lakes. A simple gravel road takes you trough a luscious forest up to a mountain lodge where the prospect of surrounding peaks is simply spectacular. This view was enjoyment enough for some, but others yearned for more and went up higher to Krn’s mountaintop.

The future of mankind, the importance of mutual trust, of investing in the development of our social skills and of staying grounded in reality informs the project by multimedia artists İpek Burçak in Eren İleri. A remote location right beside the main PIFworkspace serves as a location for their installation Secure Shell. It will provide a safe space for its user. Interaction with a device providing imagery and curated texts on screen will invite him to enter into a mind-provoking solitary contemplative state. There he will ponder the possibilities of resisting and actively working against the distribution of power and capital, as we find it in today’s world.

Our fermentation team intent on preparing a diverse range of foods (kimchi, tempeh etc.) continues to provoke discussion about the food and eating habits of the future. Fermented foods should definitely be an integral part of a balanced diet, as they help digestion, strengthen our immune system and contribute greatly towards our bodily and mental well being.

PIFcamp 2018 – All Is One!

Nowadays, easy access to a Wi-Fi is a given. Connecting to one means receiving arbitrary and basic information about the of the network. What if it wasn’t so arbitrary? Could we use it to send meaningful messages? Make ones day with a beautiful verse, a humorous pun? Could we overtake the network provider’s list and incite people to think, act? The possibility is explored in this potentially highly activistic project named Hot Ninja by Dmitry Morozov.

The blazing sun doesn’t seem to mind PIFcampers, as every day they get evermore increasingly absorbed in their work. Lovrenc Košenina and his team continue work on their custom weather station, which features temperature, moisture, UV, atmospheric pressure and wind sensors. The gathered data will be readily available online.

Several textile projects are also in the course of being completed. Maggie Kane, who hails from the USA, works on her MIDI controlled smart jacket inside the house, but she’s not the only one with a smart jacket project. Another one is being built by Sanja Hrvaćanin and Eva Pondrk. It’s designed with cyclists in mind, as it features lighting and signalling devices, which will increase their visibility in traffic, as well as notify other drivers about the cyclist’s intended travel direction.

Soča remains the go to place for socializing and cooling down. The serenity of the riverbank induces one to slow down. To better cope with our daily stress and freezing water temperatures, potential inflammations, build up our energy and focus more mindfully on the present, Tilen Sepič, who is a part of the PIFvideo team, introduced breathing sessions in the daily routine of the PIFgroup. The sessions are is based on the method developed by Wim Hof.

An improvised etching station was set up by Michael Page and Staš Vrenko in the afternoon. It seems there is always somebody eager to learn and create his own unique PCB.

To facilitate and amplify our capabilities of sensing the processes at PIFcamp , be it the ones we initiate ourselves or those from our surroundings, Vaclav organized a senseMini workshop. The various sensors needed were therefore completed in no time.

When the daily heat subsided, we were pleased warm our bones and feast our eyes on a bonfire.

PIFcamp 2018 – Everything Circulates!

The fragile ecosystem PIFcamp tries to integrate in is in constant peril. It is besieged from all angles by our ever-growing needs for resource materials and the pleasure driven commodification of nature. This heavily underscores the need to rethink the modes we operate with or within it, as every mishap can have dire consequences. In nature, everything circulates and at PIFcamp this rule applies in the same degree to ideas, skills, projects, knowledge, experiences, tasks… It is an ideology. A responsibility.

PIFcamp continues to adhere to the DIY and DIWO operating methods. Cooperation, integration and collaboration is what we nerds are great at. We sure are a handy tribe! Hands and the human ability to create take centre stage in Hannah Perner-Wilson’s Sense yourself making project as she and other participants plan to capture the processes of making with sensors and transform them to music.

In the short introduction to the project, Hannah spoke about self-awareness and our awareness of other-than-self phenomenons, be it on-going processes in our environment, other beings… She also stressed how important it is to act prudently and responsibly in regards to our raw materials and our surroundings. As gathering various resources is crucial to Sense yourself making, she distributed practical gathering aprons with big pockets she made for the easy storage of potential matter to be used in course of the project.

There was no stopping us taking our first hike with the local expert on edible wild plants Dario Cortese. We were not pleased to find out that more meadows have been mown this year than any previous year. Nonetheless, we managed to gather some common yarrow flower clusters, wild carrots and wild tarragon. Some of these plants will end up in our fermentation experiments (kimchi, kefir…) carried out under the leadership of Kristijan Tkalec and Ahac Meden.

Our kindhearted and to the hidden beauties of nature wonderfully sensitive resident electrical engineer Bernhard Rasinger, who made last year’s PIFcamp truly memorable with his laser show and oscillators, started his work on an algae experiment. He uses blue and red LED lights to promote the growth and photosynthesis of the algae he gathered from Soča river while storing them in plastic water bottles. He hopes the experiment could turn out to be a working prototype that would contribute to the amelioration of the air we breathe (a byproduct of photosynthesis is oxygen), as well as help to reverse the consequences of climate change.

Another PIFproject got started when the scorching sun lost some of its power and allowed Ljudmila’s founding father Luka Frelih to begin work on his 3D Dome, which enables scanning objects. For now the team focused on the construction of its metal frame. Later on they will continue with the installation of cameras.

The evening on the second day of PIFcamp climaxed in a pleasant jam session.

PIFcamp 2018 – So it Begins!

The fourth edition of the international hacking camp PIFcamp could do nothing but attract creatives, nature lovers, technology enthusiasts, art professionals, scientists and open culture advocates to the Alpine valley of Trenta once more. You can imagine that the promise of informed discussions, inspired activities, thought and skill provoking projects, new or renewed & brilliant friendships, as well as unforgettable adventures, collaborations and experiences in Slovenia’s Triglav National Park is more than enough to induce clever, daring, mindful and unselfish individuals to flock here from all corners of the world.

One of the several indicators of the camp’s success are all of its participants who have joyfully returned to have a second, third and sometimes even forth go. Nonetheless, there are enough new faces around to add to the excitement even further. But first things first! A mandatory dive into the what subjectively feels like freezing, yet incredibly enticing Soča river, a myriad of handshakes, introductions, laughs and a hefty meal before it’s off to work on the PIFprojects.

This year’s projects and activities promise everyone will get to fully satisfy one’s inner nerd. Hannah Perner-Wilson, our cherished Austrian multimedia artist, pedagogue, as well as a wearables and e-textiles researcher pitched her concept for a well thought-out and engaging project that definitely got our childlike probing juices flowing. Another PIFcamp bastion is undoubtedly BASTL Instrument’s Vaclav Pelousek, a modular synthesis professional who hails from Brno (CZ) and can’t fail to impress with his extensive list of planned activities, workshops and ideas, which are all informed by his broad understanding and his signature playful humour.

We feel very fortunate to be able to include Dmitry Morozov ::vtol::, a Moscow-born and based new-media artist, musician, sound engineer and sound system designer with an impressive portfolio to our international PIFcamp family. While we hope to squeeze out as much knowledge from him as possible, he will work on developing his already beautiful and sometimes clandestine Mobile Terminal for Guerilla Communications.

Fresh faces round out the roster of the local team. The recognized Slovenian new media artist, phenomenal VJ and awarded game developer Boštjan Čadež- Fšk promises to build Trivolan, an Omega 3 by Force Dimensions inspired, but accessible haptic interface for use in visual performances. Januš Aleš Luznar, a Slovenian electronic music producer working under the artist names Yanoosh and Ohm Fat will work on his Symphony of the Heart, a project that explores the effects of the heart beat and various images on our brain waves and the cardio-vascular system.

A staple of the PIFdiet remains hacking our food habits and therefore our own wild herbalist and botanist Dario Cortese has once again thought of a programme to test and impress our taste buds while not in or around the kitchen, store or the local market.