Hack your own food!

So, we are told the best food grows on the shelves of superhiperultramega markets. And that eco/bio/organic is the best? Well, here’s the rest of the truth: we are literally surrounded by nutritionally very well rounded wild edibles, which can be prepared in any culinary way. But the rule is that the simplest is the best! This time we will leave cockroaches, larvae and other bugs behind (they are more or less edible by the way) and will concentrate on wild vegetables and herbs.

The aim of the node is to get closer to the plants, edible or not (all of the poisonous ones are very medicinal indeed, but there is a thin line between their medicinal and poisonous effect).

And, yes, did anybody mention Fly Agaric and Belladona? Some connections with the quite recent use of these Old World shamanic psychoactives in the region not that far away from the PIFcamp base will be mentioned, too.

The node is led (or at least he tries do it (t)his way) by Dario Cortese, an agricultural dissident and a proud dog pack leader. In his spare time he even wrote a few books on the subject.

Protect Me From The Future by KOBAKANT

Hannah Perner-Wilson and Mika Satomi from KOBAKANT will be joining PIFcamp this year to design and build “all-natural wearable technology”. Merging natural and technical materials and mechanisms to produce a new style of technological cladding – wearables that will protect us from the future.

We will hunt and gather nature’s treasures from the Soca valley and investigate how we can use these resources to build a new category of wearable technology. Technology inspired by the properties, qualities, textures, colours, rules and smells of the outdoors. These wearables will make us want to run out into the wild, to make noise and take action, to express our concerns through moving our bodies in all kinds of nature.

We will investigate, make, talk, choreograph and perform!

1) INVESTIGATE nature’s ability to make sound – both analog and digital

Explore following concepts with our hunted and gathered materials:
– Resistive and piezoresistive properties of materials
– Piezoelectric properties of materials (solar cell, temperature difference, physical strain….)
– Electromagnetic pickups (generating and amplifying small voltages)

Experiment with different sound circuits:
– Those from Bastl Instruments
– We will order some 555 timers and ATtinys
– Participants please bring stuff too!

Make things loud!
– How can we amplify these sounds so that they are heard? Especially outdoors.

2) MAKE the results of our investigation wearable

– Design wearables so that we can make sound with the movements of our bodies
– Make these designs durable so that they can be worn and performed

3) TALK about nature, human nature, technology and the built environment

We will gather around the fire to share and discuss:
– What is nature, what is natural?
– How are humans and nature intertwined?
– What do we want to make noise about?
– Who are we performing for?

Some proposed texts for reading:
Donna Haraway: Staying with The Trouble
Richard Sennett: Together

4) CHOREOGRAPH a performance (a ritual, a protest, a march, a dance, a game, a movement…)

Any choreographers and performers at PIFcamp? We would love your help and input on this part!

5) PERFORM on the last day of PIFcamp

Q: Who can join this node?
A: You must hunt and gather, learn and share. Then you may join.

Q: What do you mean by “natural”?
A: Good question. Lets discuss.

Q: What do you mean by “make noise and take action”?
A: We will discuss together what we want to make noise and take action on. This discussion will inform what costumes we build and the choreography of our performance.

Q: What materials and tools can I contribute to this project?
A: Bring yourselves, bring your bodies, bring circuits that make sound and materials that conduct. Bring your sewing needles and pocket knives. Your hiking boots and bathing suits.

Current Dictionary Definitions:

wearable – “an item that can be worn”
cladding – “a covering or coating on a structure or material”
technical – “of, involving, or concerned with applied and industrial sciences”
natural – “existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind”

More about the project.

Digital Naturalism with Andy Quitmeyer

Andrew Quitmeyer’s node will incorporate concepts and activities from his work in Digital Naturalism. The goal is to discover ways that DIY technology, created in the wild, can let us explore nature in new ways. The key relationship in this work is between field biologists (of any level) and technologists (of any ability), thus many of our activities will involve hybrid artistic and scientific examinations of the wilderness surrounding us. For instance we may develop biological tools for studying nearby creatures, and then adapt these into artistic devices for continued exploration and sharing of this phenomena.


Helping lead our investigation will be Digital Naturalism’s four main design guidelines (illustrated examples here).


The first is Behavioural Immersion, and looking at projects and activities that connect our senses and actions to those of wilderness creatures. For example, participants might be interested in making wearable scientific probes can map our senses to the activity of nearby ants, or birds, or fish.


Open Endedness encourages creating tools for general exploration increasing chances of serendipitously stumbling across interesting new phenomena. Making simple capacitive touch sensor probes that we can connect to nearby flora, for instance, lets us openly poke and probe novel questions in the environment. We might also program generalised tools, such as robotic arms, to poke and probe different ecological systems in multiple ways.


Technological Agency seeks to ensure our tools are open, understandable, and manipulable. By making our own devices together, and taking apart, or modifying existing tools, we can increase our collective ability to extend ourselves with these tools.


Finally, Contextual Crafting encourages shrinking our gap between the workspace and where we employ the objects we create. At PIFcamp we will, of course, be building our tools and devices in nature, and we will also be studying ways to harmoniously adapt workspaces to various natural features. Creating light-weight, transformable organisation units, and modular work surfaces that can be carried, or even incorporated into one’s clothing, is a goal we continually work on. Adaptable, portable, and wearable studios also lend themselves to exploring less utilitarian (and more fun) designs for keeping tools always close at hand.


No previous  experience in anything is necessary, just be alive and excited.

Op-amps, modular synths and jams!

Here is what Václav Peloušek from BASTL Instruments will be doing at this years PIFcamp!

Václav  will focus on trying to develop a new project / prototype on the spot together with other participants. He would provide already existing tools from the Bastl portfolio which can catalyse certain types of real world interfacing by providing simple translation interfaces from sensoric input into motoric, sound & light outputs. With such tools artificial ecosystems could be easily created and reconfigured. The general goal would be to not get stuck at the technological reality of inventing the tools but fully use the potential of existing modular synth tools which already provide the extreme flexibility. This would be an extension of topics he dealt with in his master thesis.

The general topic is using Control Voltages as an universal representation of anything in the world. Such voltage could be processed in many different ways by using a modular synth. This basically means analog computing.

He will also offer introductory course into analog computing with op-amps (operational amplifiers) and provide same basic insight into reading analog synth schematics.

Further his personal goal will be initiating more musical situations / jam sessions and developing new ways to play music together. 

Don’t forget to bring your instruments!

PIFcamp 2016 – Day 6

_MG_4371Most had a late start on the last day in Trenta. After another in a series of fine breafasts, which were prepared by Urša and Polona with the occasional help of Ahac, the first visitors arrived to the campsite.

The first to arrive were last year’s participants, friends and acquaintances… Some, for example a group of girls from the newly-established band ČIPKE, didn’t just come to look at the projects, but worked on their own new instruments.


Throught the day some finished their projects, others presented them to the crowd, and once again the earthquake simulation made us cheer!


In the afternoon we started a fire, grilled meats, fooled around, told stories… It was merry.


Dario unveiled his bagpipe and improvised with other PIFmusicians.


The DJ of the evening was Blaž, who managed to entice even the wounded ones to the floor, even if just for a moment or two. His music was accompanied with VJ-jing by Marko Vivoda (Izland) and Alexander Zaklynsky.


Aljoša Abrahamberg came to record some material for his show about conteporary art on the local television, based in Nova Gorica.


Sad, that it is over, we said our goodbyes to Trenta and left her enriched with new knowledge and new friends. A big thanks goes to all who came and made all this unforgetable moments possible, all our sponsors, donators and funders, and above all to Tina and Uroš, who made it happen.


PIFcamp2016 – Day 5

After breakfast all PIFparticipants were obliged to go on a trip towards the Great Gorge (org. Velika korita). A short walk took us to one of those dream-like destinations one never forgets. There some tried kayaking, others jumped from the cliffs and some just sat and enjoyed the hypnotic color of the Soča river.



When we returned back to camp it was time for lunch and desserts. A delicious cake, made a day in advance by Polona, was served as a birthday present to Peter, John and Lio. Tasty treats are definitely one of the features of this year’s camp, the cake was followed by an incredible fruit halva. 

The short break proved a great opportunity to do some sports; a frisbee, a kite and a slackline made an appearence.


_MG_4236Work on the projects continued. Hannah gave an introduction to e-textiles and also familiarized us with the webpage How to get what you want in order to encourage everybody to make as many electronic parts as possible by ourselves and don’t just buy those made in the factories. This principle enables one to have greater control and flexibility in order to reach desired results. She also made a glove with which she could elude diverse sound for plants by applying different pressure with her fingers.

Leslie and Paloma continued with their translation of energy into sound. On Open Saturday they plan to transform their bio-laboratory into a sound and light bacteria room, where we can hear and see how algae and bacteria, which were grown on PIFcamp, communicate with us.


Before dinner and just before he left the camp Brgs presented his project. A short jam session then turned into dj-jing, and at some point it seemed all tried to select the most idiotic song they know. But still, dancing continued until sunrise.

Well, we must note the wonderful taste of the local fish that were grilled that evening and made us very happy. But there was also some bitterness, as the week has almost come to its end and with it also PIFcamp.