Meet the node holder: Scott Kildall

Scott Kildall has been our PIFresident this year, check out what he prepared for PIFcamp!

Sonaqua Workshop

At PIFcamp, I will be leading a hands-on workshop, where you will learn how to solder electronics and build your own Sonaqua sound player, which makes audio synth sounds based on water-quality using the Mozzi libraries. This is a custom circuit board based on the ATMEL architecture and is powered by a 5V USB battery with two wires that make sounds when you put them into a glass of any water.

The workshop will take 2-3 hours, depending on your level of experience with soldering and circuits.

Unnatural Language

During PIFCamp, I will be prototyping a new project called Unnatural Language (built in a collaboration between Michael Ang). It is a network of electronic organisms (“Datapods”) that create sonic improvisations from physical sensors in the natural environment. Each Datapod has custom electronics connected to sensors, a speaker, and a wireless network. The sensed data, for example from electrodes that measure the subtle electrical variations in the leaves of plants, is transformed into a unique synthesized sound. Encased in sculptural materials (natural fiber, leather, leaves, etc) and dispersed into a natural environment, the Datapods enter into a sonic dialogue with the existing ecosystem of plants and animals.

I have built 8 of these during my PIFresidency along with several software synthesizers on the ESP32, which I will be playing with in the natural environment. At PIFcamp, I plan to build boats and other vessels to house the sensors. This project grew from my work on Sonaqua as well as experiments last year at Dinacon.

Interactive sound installation by Alexandros Kontogeorgakopoulos

The project is an interactive site-specific sound installation co-created with interested members of the PIFcamp community. A series of speakers and light sensors will be mounted on the trees in the forest close to the main area of the camp in order to create a light-responsive soundscape. The installation can be experienced in the daytime due to the continuous changes of the light conditions (sun movement, clouds, leaves movement etc) or equally in the  night time where the visitors can interact with the outdoor space with torches. The second scenario will additionally give an interesting light dimension to the piece where the silhouette of the shadow of the participants will be projected on the surrounding space.

During the stay I am planning to give a workshop on embedded sound-music programming and the technologies used for the project. The interactive music system will be developed on a  small single-board computers open-source platform (the Bela platform) specifically designed for low-latency interactive audio. Bela offers high performance audio and sensor processing witch can be done in C or in Pure Data amongst other standard programming environments for computer music and new media art. With this knowledge the participants can consider using Bela board for their future projects; I recommend it especially for sound related interactive projects. Pure Data is free and open course and can of course run on a laptop and on other single board computers (i.e. Raspberry Pi) so again, this knowledge is transferable to other projects too.

With the participants we will explore soundscape composition concepts,  experiment with small patches for interactive sound processing and music composition, develop new patches,  record sounds from the surrounding environment (we could also create miniature compositions by using materials from the surrounding environment as musical instruments ) and create collectively the interactive soundscape by jamming and exploring the interaction together. In the end we will install the system in the forest with the sensors and the speakers. I will provide the Bela boards and the speakers. The participants will have to bring a laptop running Pure Data, ideas and every cool skill they have in creative projects and music. 

Find more about Alexandros here.

Surveilling nature – exploring ultra-local FM radio

FM radio is old, noisy, and often called obsolete, but somehow it seems to never die. Smartphones FM radio functionality and cheap receivers make it still easily accessible.

During PIFcamp, Klemens Kohlweis will temporarily install tiny, autonomous FM radio transmitters in the surroundings of the camp. Within a range of only a few meters, they will transmit the sounds of simple electronic circuits that amplify or react to their surroundings with microphones, light and wind sensors, creating a listening experience that is unique to a specific point in space and time. Other participants are invited to hook up their own devices to a transmitter to take part in a final soundwalk.

Pure Data building blocks by Thomas Gibbs

Pure Data is a free/libre open source software for manipulating sound and datastreams. It uses small boxes on a screen connected by lines to twist the flow of bits. This could mean synthesising sounds, processing effects or even make things move. This dataflow-oriented programming is more like shaping and molding, rather than writing down pages and pages of instructions to achieve a goal.

In this way it is more immediate and intuitive for developing instruments, sound sculptures and (interactive) installations.

This workshop comes in four parts. Each part is composed of roughly 30 minutes of theory and 30 minutes of playful discovery. They build on each other, but can be joined (or left) based on the individual level of skill. The first session will cover the basics of PD, which means installing the software, control versus audioflow, basic operations, stream and message types. This is followed by a rough overview of synthesis, i.e. making sounds and noises. The ensuing session covers audio processing like playing files from disk, recording audio to disk, creating/using filters and effects. The final part covers interaction with the outside world using the Arduino, MIDI, OSC, MIDI, and/or computer networks.

To get the most out of the workshop bring a laptop (running Linux, OS X, or Microsoft Windows) and a headphone. You can also bring a mouse, your Arduinos (and Raspberry Pis), as well as basic electronics like LEDs or switches. You will be able to play files based on different triggers and sculpt audio in realtime by processing a multitude of sources.

MIDI, flute & microcontrollers

Join Václav Peloušek in doing some crazy experiments with microcontrolles and swag musical videos!

I have been designing and making synthesizers for more than 10 years and started a company Bastl Instruments 6 years ago. I also did a lot with physical computing and programmed various microcontrollers, but my main focus was always to create tools to help me to make music. So I am a musician and this year on PIFcamp I would like to use to opportunity to create some music with other people and I would also like to make a music video as cooperation with others. I will also bring tools, sensors and interfaces that could help me or others connect things in real life into a musical ecosystems. One idea i would like to spend some time on would be a MIDI controller that could attach to a hand held microphone. The controller could be played with flute type fingering and it would send MIDI notes to alter pitch of singing into the microphone.

Multichannel Mapper by jesusonecstasy

Multichannel audio performances are fairly easy to setup when using a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) on a computer with a multichannel audio interface. In the case of a setup without a computer, a solution with Eurorack modules could be used instead, but at a higher price. Some multichannel (8 inputs, 8 outputs) audio interfaces can be used also in standalone mode (without a computer) and come with a powerful internal DSP (Digital Signal Processing with EQs, compressors and limiters) making it an appealing choice when a portable compact setup is preferred.

The Mapper is a project in which Mitja Cerkvenik aka jesusonecstasy will create a device that connects a MIDI controller to the audio interface bypassing the computer. This allows an arbitrary mapping of the MIDI parameters to the interface’s internal DSP parameters. The automation of EQs, levels and aux sends could create spatial psychoacoustic effects. Jesusonecstsy will perform a multichannel live act on the closing evening of PIFcamp, which will be accompanied by a visual performance by Kaja Kisilak and Lea Bradašević.

AV piece by Tadej Droljc

Currently I am working on a performance that includes electroacoustic music, digital visuals, custom made stage object / instrument, haze, air compressors and light from various sources (laser, moving heads, dimmers and strobes) – all these elements tangled and controlled from within computer. During the PIFcamp I plan to develop various elements of this project.

Synspecies

Tadej Droljc (b. 1981) is a Slovenian interdisciplinary artist and creative coder who works in the field of electronic music, computer-generated audiovisual composition and other forms of new-media art. His recent work is focusing at what he calls a pluralistic approach to real-time audiovisual composition, where various hierarchies between sound and image co-exist inside individual compositions.

For his solo and collaborative works Tadej was awarded the Edigma Semibreve Award, Shortlisted for Lumen Award 2018, Lumen Prize Student Award 2017, Dennis Smalley Scholarship in electroacoustic music and he won the Most Promising Video Artist prize at the Madatac in Madrid. He performed and exhibited his works at the festivals such as Ars Electronica, L.E.V. Festival, Brighton Digital Festival, Semibreve, Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes, Node or Athens Digital Arts Festival among others. Currently, he is collaborating with Ars Electronica’s Futurelab on the project Immersify. 

Outdoor workspaces at PIFcamp

Join Olivia Kotsifa and build your own workspace in the nature!

Being a designer – maker on the move, I am very much interested in the freedom we have in choosing our workspace environment. During this year’s PIFcamp I will focus on outdoor furniture that will give the option to the participants to work or take a break from work and spend more time closer to the nature, in the woods. 

I believe when we are talking about the future of work we need to think of our future workspaces. Flexible and mobile and most of all, close to a natural environment, is my answer to this.

This project is a continuation of Olivia’s Artist-in-Residence, which happened this February at Ljudmila, Art and Science Laboratory.

PIFood

Since PIFcamp initially started in 2015, its embeddedness in the natural habitat of the Alpine region already indicated that the eating habits of technology motivated participants will be (re)defined by the surrounding environment. This happened gradually and without any specific all-encompassing plan.  Through this time and process a concept of PIFood fermented from related sediments and now calls for a distillation into new forms. As such, PIFood encompasses practices, experiments, explorations and observations related to all-things-food at PIFcamp. In previous years these manifested as PIFdinner, PIForgaging and PIFerment.

In 2019 we set out to search for a common holistic approach through observing and understanding our relation towards food. We plan to do this with two, for now mostly separated subsections: PIFoodKitch and PIFoodLab. In the future the idea is to see both of them intertwine into a self-sufficient concept of PIFood. This year we will emphasize PIFoodLab, focusing on hacking the surrounding habitat with edible plants for later usage in fermentation processes. Find some concrete ideas bellow that call for further dialogue.

PIFood 2019

Foraging & mapping

Edible plants from the surrounding area will be mapped to enable the participants to conduct foraging trips when wanted. Participants are encouraged to propose and help out with choosing the appropriate tools and help with the mapping with our plant expert Dario.

Syrup making

Syrups for second fermentation stages will be prepared from regional edible plants gathered by foraging expeditions. Bring your grandma’s recipes and techniques, let us know your needs and let’s find the tangiest one. 

Coffee and tea tastings

Participants can bring their own selected coffees and teas for tastings and as the basis for kombucha and water kefir fermentation. Basic equipment for preparing different styles will be available: chemex, aeropress, water boiler, coffee grinder, tea kettle. An additional idea is to make a kit for cold-drip (PIFdrip) and/or cold-brew (PIFbrew) coffee.

Kombucha and water kefir ferments

We will organise a workshop on how to prepare different tea and coffee kombucha ferments in the beginning of the week to be ready by the end of the week, while tasting previously made brews during the week. Water kefir ferments will be made on a regular basis as they need less time.

PIFermet cocktail = PIFcock

All the above ferment experiments will be used for an experiential cocktail tasting with the goal to find the cockiest fermet combination of them all, the PIFcock.

Kimchi and other vegetable ferments

We start with the question how to make kimchi variations only using local ingredients, asking thus larger geo-historical questions, such as what do kimchi and sauerkraut have in common and what its popular connotations mean for preserving local traditions.

Sourdough ferments

The idea is to exchange knowledge on how to bake bread and other sourdough ferments outside, without kitchen appliances and ovens using wood and charcoal. And finally also try out some of them, if possible. Participants are encouraged to bring their own sourdough starter.

Participation & Documentation

These are some ideas within a larger framework that can be worked on within the PIFood concept, and of course other suggestions are encouraged and more than welcome.

The final idea for this year is to compile a PIFood compendium/manual that future editions and participants can contribute to and build upon.

Coordination of PIFood activities will be supervised by Ahac (ahac@drmr.si), who can also be contacted in advance regarding additional requirements and/or questions. 

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PIFood preincarnations and undergrowths

HUMUS sapiens – Open Soil Research

HUMUS sapiens represents a compilation of soil explorations emerging from the networks of mikroBIOMIK, Hackteria, and Gasthaus – with the ambition to bring DIY (do-it-yourself) and DIWO (do-it-with-others) approaches as well as an open-source-based “hacker spirit” into soil ecology. Participants are invited to reflect on current scientific discourses and critical societal challenges through hands-on tinkering and curiosity-driven research.

Far more than just the dirt under our feet, soil is a truly complex and dynamic ecosystem. It is a constantly changing mix of minerals, living organisms, decaying organic matter, air, and water. It is the living skin of our planet, allowing new forms of life to come into being, incorporating the nutrients left there by organisms of the past.

Soil is bursting with life and can be vastly different from one square centimeter to the next. From plants, earthworms, insects, and fungi to invisible amoeba, nematodes, algae, and bacteria – each creature provides their own essential role in the soil ecosystem. The shared nature of the soil habitat manifests not only through the highly interconnected so-called “soil food web” – which is mainly driven by microbial metabolism – but also in regard to humans and their dependence on the productivity of edible plants. It is this dependency that motivates Homo sapiens to manipulate natural ecosystems, while at the same time failing to understand them.

Human impact on the soil, especially intensive agricultural practices (deforestation, overgrazing, use of agrochemicals, etc.) and urbanization, leads to compaction, loss of soil structure, nutrient degradation,and contamination – ultimately, the breaking down of these ecosystems and eroding of the soil to infertile desert. HUMUS sapiens aims to reexamine these problems from an ecosystem’s viewpoint and to support the paradigm shift from an anthropocentric ideology to a more biocentric philosophy of life.