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
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


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 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.

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


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.

– Personal computer
– Audio Interface (optional)
– Midi or Voltage controlled Synth (optional)

– A bit of theory on vibration and sonification
– Human brain signal measurment and sonification | positive/negative/neutral exercise
– Brain & music
– Culture Physarum
– 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
– 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
– Physarum sonification
– A bit of theory on the growth and intelligence of slime molds
– Collective improvisation
DAY 5 & 6
Collective improvisation and public concert

HCK YR FD with Dario Cortese!


To delve deep into nutritional science is to go out into the wild. Barely for two or three millennia, more precisely in a mere century, we are producing, growing and breeding too much of everything, and the trend hasn’t yet reached its peak. If we take a good look at all of the IT possibilities of development… they are so plentiful, they are practically devouring themselves. So, in order not to starve at the table full of goodies, it is wise to step out. Or, as Douglas Adams would have it: Please, step out! This is the invitation with which we shall greet you at the start of this year’s PIFadventure.

Joining Please, step out! means you will be present on food-hacking trips around Soča village, where we will be gathering edible wild vegetables, wild herbs, wild fruits, and preparing them in simple, but for some probably extraordinary ways. These wild food hikes will also represent a gateway to the nutritional, historical, economical and other perspectives in connection with (wild)food, and by the time PIFcamp is over, you will have a pretty good picture of what is food and what is not. And you might as well know now: the majority of what we consider to be food is not.

Please, step out! is held by Dario Cortese, an independent wild food researcher and author of several books on wild food and nutrition.

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.

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

The 5th PIFcamp project by Tilen Sepič

Another local participant on PIFcamp will be Tilen Sepič, a multidisciplinary designer, new media artist and promoter of open source culture. His experience with light is manifesting in light-design objects, product photography and light installations.


His project will explore generative patterns and shapes made with overlapping frequencies of light, exactly synchronized with frequencies of sound in context of nature.

Light setup will be controlled with multiple voltage-based analog inputs including CV, PWM and sound, so that can be interconnected with many other projects.

Because the setup will be created from fundamental high-power LED parts only, it will be 5-10 times cheaper than common led show-lights.

Tilen will be building, exploring and testing scalable LED installation for lighting trees, with analog drone-based control over the frequencies and colors.

You are welcome to join him!

The 4th PIFcamp project: Oscillatorium

Another project on PIFcamp comes from our own Ljubljana-based intermedia artist Robertina Šebjanič, who in her art practise places her interest to the fields such as the humanist and natural sciences, bio-art, noise/sound art and much more, and Monika Pocrnjič, a visual art education student with interest in art, esthetics, biology, technology, anthropology and pedagogy.

Oscillatorium – Living systems oscillation


The sonification of environment, or sonification of processes, is communication; a step towards understanding inter-species’ communication and inter-species co-existence. Analogue oscillators do not exist only in the field of electronic circuits, but also in nature, which is why this project attempts to deepen and continue the research and development of natural electronic synthesizers – sound objects.

In the field of natural sciences, predominantly biology, the use of natural oscillators is dedicated to the study of the ways of functioning of the natural world within its temporal structure. A simple example of this is the functioning of the heart and circadian rhythms, which represent the information flow from the working processes in our brains. Circadian rhythm enables us to understand and monitor time and helps us to maintain our everyday rhythm on the basis of electro-chemical oscillation of the cells. Within this project we would like to concentrate on the study of various living systems (animal and plant species) and through them establish a specific oscillation for each of the species, which we would then assemble into a sonic-visual experience.

Theoretically we would be referring to work of botanist Jakob Johann von Uexküll, more specifically to his A Foray Into the Worlds of Animals and Humans, with a Theory of Meaning. Von Uexküll introduced biosemiotics as a research field and defined the term umwelt (milieu, situation, embedding – lit. German for environment). The expression usually refers to the so-called “self-in-world” subjective reference frame. The biological basis at the heart of his studies originates from a reflection on the communication and discerning of the meaning of what is human and what is animalistic. The fundamental thought of Uexküll’s theory is that organisms can have different umwelten, even when they share the same environment.

The project Oscillatorium is in its development phase and will debut at Kiblix festival 2015 (produced by Kibla). The collaboration at PIFcamp will be in the form of debates, experimentation and research.

Key words:
bio-sonification, natural oscillation, vibration, analogue, bio-analogue