PIFood 2023 invitation

This year we will go through the documentation of previous PIFcamps, that is through everything related to food. Everything that can be thought of, gathered and connected to, and clustered under the umbrella of PIFood. Ideas, experiments, successes and failures. The goal is to provide future experimenters with information about previous activities, and offer the opportunity to this year’s attendees to recreate some of the material in its edible form, as fermented correspondences and digestible ideas; to reflect, react and engage with it from new perspectives. In so doing we will also attend to (fragmented and not in that order) questions such as:

How can we connect through food and with food; with the environment that provides us with nourishments? How can we think of care through food? How can we think of food as the Other? What can we learn from applying food related concepts to how we collectively imagine the world? What role do science and art have in how we consume, digest and nourish the natural and social world we live in? What kind of sustenance does PIFcamp provide for the hunger of imagination?

We will reminiscence and rearticulate foraging walks, alternative “club mate” fermentations, lime paneers, sourdough scoby breads, coffee corners, DIY incubators for natto and tempeh, open fire workshops, kombucha and foraged syrups cocktails, PIFnicks, beer brew workshops, and more.

The main ingredients were and remain the people. We will also remember these actors, explore their work and what informed their PIFood related activities, while also trying to connect with those physically not present to talk about Diva dinners, durian food festivals, beach BBQs, distillery visits, loose fruit, brick over construction and so on.  

We will learn about how PIFood was incepted through correspondences with DiNaCon, and how collaborations with PIFcamp’s kitchen informed its identity. We will also discuss where we can find concepts floating within the degrowth community (conviviality, care, social metabolism, commons, growth, post-normal science, ubuntu etc.) within PIFood, and also broader PIFcamp and DiNaCon activities. And we will debate the introduction of concepts like regrowth, undergrowth and overgrowth.

Participants are invited to help with preparing this documentation, to contribute to it with their own material and memories, new takes on it, reinterpretations, and new ideas, experiments, connections. The space will be open for sharing meals, recipes, ideas, and accompanying questions. Finally, we will launch this documentation on the PIFood.club blog.

If any participant sees themselves in any of the stated, please contact Ahac (ahac@drmr.si) and discuss your input and/or possible requirements for your PIFood related activity.

Commemorating the inspiration for PIFood, its godfather, the late but never forgotten Dario <3

What about PIFcamp and sustainability?

PIFcamp joins forces with a local NGO Ecologists without Borders who will provide a more circular event and shed some light on the issue of waste. During the camp they will also focus on further developmentent of the carbon footprint calculator for PIFcamp participants and other events which are part of Rewilding Cultures project. Its aim is encouraging participants toward more sustainable mobility and assessing the total level of transport-related emissions.

Ecologists without Borders is a non-profit founded in 2009 and one of the leading Slovenian NGOs dedicated to improving the state of our environment — focusing on efficient resource use and active citizenship; and implementing the concept of zero waste on several levels – individual, municipal, governmental and within  organizations — including cultural ones. Jaka Kranjec, who will join PIFcamp, is their expert on policy, and a researcher of the useless world, a developer of open source solutions and a lover of puzzles who believes in free access to knowledge in the spare time.

Artificial Intelligence Listens to the Trees

Nejc Trampuž, a young multimedia artist from Slovenia, will host a workshop on creating art with the help of artificial intelligence tools that he has been using in his work for the past year and a half. He will mainly introduce tools that enable generation of animations: the open-source Stable Diffusion (Deforum, ControlNet) in Automatic 1111 WebUI. The workshop will also be a space for sharing knowledge of others among participants and for discussing the society of the future that artificial intelligence brings on one hand, and the ecological threat on the other.

In addition to the workshop his goal is to work on his project with the working title “We Must First Listen to the Trees,” which is being developed under the scholarship from the Slovenian Ministry of Culture. The emerging short experimental generative animated film, created with the assistance of artificial intelligence – both in terms of the screenplay and animation – will reflect society in relation to the environment and ecosystem. It will conceive and present sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of living.

The River Knows by duo Swamp_Matter

The project aims to engage with water scarcity and real-time visual storytelling to speculate on climate futures of the Soča River in Slovenia. The bed of the glacial river has been shaped by its waters in remarkable geological formations for millennia. Recently the river’s water level has been low due to summer drought, a consequence of anthropogenic factors. The project looks at the interplay and relationship between humans and the river’s geological processes. It reflects on changing ecologies and raises awareness for the conservation of this important water ecology through speculation. The project aims to use 3D scanning and photogrammetry to create a digital extension of the Soča landscape with particular attention to the dry riverbed and glacial rocks. The digital landscape will be linked to sensors placed in the landscape recording various parameters in real-time (landscape sound, water level, pollution, rainfall) which will create distortions and deformations within the digital landscape.

Swamp_Matter is a duo consisting of Eva Garibaldi (designer & researcher) and Ana Laura Richter (artist & dramaturg) motivated by a shared passion for exploring the complexities and mysteries of amphibious landscapes. Their work is driven by a deep curiosity about the relationship between humans and nature, and the ways in which this relationship is constantly evolving. Through their projects, Swamp_Matter seeks to challenge the perception of unstable landscapes as stagnant and lifeless places, and instead, highlight the rich biodiversity and ecological significance of these often-overlooked environments.

Fungi Internet – Mycorrhizal Communication Infrastructure

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we did not have to build a cable network for The Internet but could just dock onto existing naturally grown ones?

There are dense mycorrhizal (fungi) networks in the forests that live in symbiosis with plants, receiving carbohydrates from photosynthesis and therefor providing the plants with nutrients from the soil.
But more importantly for this project: They provide a nutrient exchange system between the plants and communication channels that function by chemical and electric signalling.

Let´s compare systems on different scales and built on different matter that work with electrical and/or chemical signalling:
The first that come to mind are brains, thunderstorms, electricity networks like computers or world wide communication infrastructure.

While the weather with its electrical charge and discharge as well as brains and mycorrhizal networks exist naturally, we build our digital communication system from glass fibres and cooled server farms.

I want to propose the idea to benefit from and nurture existing fungal systems and try to send messages via these already existing paths, maybe invite the networks to grow close to human communities and create a data highway of nutrients and information.

This is a speculative storytelling project – very welcome to lead to scientific research and connect already existing studies to it, but most importantly I want to spin ideas.

Some questions to start with:

– which communication protocols are used in fungi networks and what is their message transfer speed?
– how does the symbiosis between fungi and plants work, how can it be abused?
– what does the fungal network need to flourish?
– simple (theoretical) experiments of sending a signal through a fungal network
– looking for benefits for the environment and the human need for a functioning communication infrastructure

The first story-telling and speculation session at PIFcamp will be on Monday, August 9th at 6pm.

Fungi Internet is a project by Rosi Grillmair.

Wavey Wind, The Modul-air Mitt

Using an ESP32 microcontroller with wifi and bluetooth capability, a gyroscope/accelerometer module and keyboards switches, Jurij Podgoršek will be building an experimental low cost motion “glove” controller with a button for each finger.

The idea stems from an earlier abstract visualisation project which was intended to visualise music. After building the initial prototype and hooking it up with a touch user interface of sliders that modulate the visuals, the author asked himself – why should I make the program interpret music? We already do that when we listen and (can) react by dancing; using a motion sensor, the dancing can be “amplified” by turning bodily motions into shapes and colours projected on a surface.

Using the motion mitt, the operator of visuals doesn’t have to get locked into a clumsy little touchscreen but can immerse in the experience of sound and video while co-creating it. A workshop will be held to build a number of gloves that can connect in an ad-hoc network, so that group of people could collaborate with them.

The glove(s) will send events via the open sound control protocol, opening the possibility to using using them for audio synthesis/modulation, or maybe even as a general interface.

“What Can a Body Do?”

Open hardware with open software – an introduction into designing PCBs with KiCad

Electronic devices are all around us. Whether it’s your washing machine or the device you’re reading this text on – they all have one thing in common: they contain printed circuit boards. PCBs are usually a tasty sandwich of an insulating material and one or multiple layers of thin copper used to connect electronic components and keep them mechanically fixed.

Whether you want to etch them yourself with some acid in your bathroom or you have them professionally made in a factory – learning how to design them is a super useful skill to have for anybody interested in building electronics (and potentially even for other, more unorthodox uses…).

At this years PIFcamp Klemens Kohlweis will hold a workshop on how to design your own PCBs using the (awesome!) open source software KiCad. Starting early in the week we will talk about challenges and possibilities of the design and manufacturing process, then go on to drawing our own functional and/or beautiful circuit-boards – and hopefully even get them manufactured in the same week!

PIFcamp Community Harvest

During this PIFcamp Community Harvest, media art historian Heather Contant solicits, records, digitizes, collects, and redistributes past and present memories and materials related to PIFcamp: its participants and its organizers Ljudmila, Projekt Atol, and Kersnikova’s Rampa Lab and BioTehna. The aim of this Community Harvest is to simultaneously illuminate the significance, vibrancy, and unique perspectives of the creators, collectives and practices emerging from this region and to keep the community flourishing, by providing virtual and physical forums, in which community members can share their memories and artefacts, reconnect with one another, and discuss their current and future work.

The metaphorical ‘fruit’ of this harvest will be made accessible to all via the PIFcamp website, providing a database for future community members and historians. Heather will also use this material—these signals of the past in the present—to create an improvisational performance, inspired by Signal-Sever!Scatter!, the Wardenclyffe Situations (collective performances by Marko Peljhan and Projekt Atol from the 1990s and 2000s). During this performance, individuals will be free to reconfigure the raw ingredients collected during the harvest to produce a multi-media feast to inspire and hopefully feed the community for future generations.