…less rain and more fun!

Wednesday finally brought slightly better weather so the morning walk with Dario took place on schedule, and the harvested plants spiced up lunch and dinner.

PIFcamp-goers continued to develop their projects and research: Robertina Šebjanič and Miha Godec, who are preparing a lab book for conducting aqua_forensic 2.0 workshops, have assembled a TDS sensor, which measures water conductivity. The degree of conductivity was sonified via an electronic circuit. Robertina and Miha hiked with Saša Spačal and Rob Canning to the Lepena valley, where they created field sound recordings. Blaž Pavlica joined in as well and he will use the recorded material in his DIY ambisonic dome project. On the dome, which was developed and used as part of PifLab and past PIFcamps, a matrix of eight speakers is installed – a diy system for reproducing the ambisonics, a spherical spatial-sound format that allows immersive representation of the sound field.

Soundscapes at Šunikov gaj © Miha Godec
Rob Canning working on his field recordings © Miha Godec

Lovrenc was busy working on his weather station – cleaning 3D printed elements and programming the Arduino and Raspberry. The lesson of the day: “Don’t update Linux!”, Says Lovrenc, who due to this fatal mistake spent significantly more time for programming than planned. The weather station, which will be connected to the network of amateur stations Weather Underground and installed here in Soča, will measure wind speed and direction, temperature and humidity, and will also be equipped with a camera. In the future, the station can be upgraded with air quality and CO2 sensors as well. 

Test measurements at 8 PM (CET): 19 degrees / 148 hectopascals / 1.42 km/h

Lovrenc at work © Katja Goljat, Matjaž Rušt

The afternoon was marked by workshops and presentations. Julian’s introduction to microscopy introduced various DIY and professional lenses and devices, we then used to look at soil and compost samples from the immediate surroundings. Julian Chollet is collaborating with the DIY soil photogrammetry project at PIF. On Sunday (after the end of this year’s camp) he will conduct a Humus Sapiens field workshop in Bohinjska Bistrica as part of the konS platform.

Intro to microscopy © Katja Goljat, Matjaž Rušt

In the tent, the initial part of the remote workshop with Maggie Kane aka Streetcat.media took place. In the coming days the workshop will introduce the participants to the principles of designing narrative video games in the coming days. An enthusiastic cosplayer and versatile artist who gets bored at concerts, as Maggie described herself, presented various examples of how artists can use  “sick visuals and interactivity” of video games to enrich their concerts, performances and other events to increase audience engagement.

Maggie Kane’s remote workshop © Katja Goljat, Matjaž Rušt

As part of their μπA (micropia) project, the Beam Team (Stella Ivšek and Anja Romih) researched ways of mapping video projections on natural objects and, in collaboration with Tilen Sepič, who prepared an improvised music set, also tested them in an experimental evening performance on the shore of river Soča. The live performance took place in an intimate atmosphere – due to the slippery terrain, only a handful of PIFcampers could attend. Thanks to the diligent video team the documentation of the event will soon be available to internet public as well. 

The weather forecast for the coming days is promising, so in addition to the many activities that are yet to happen, we are “looking forward to less rain and more fun”, as Luka concluded at the end of the day. Tomorrow, he will finally be able to test his solar cell-powered rotator for houseplants.

Beam Team & Tilen Sepič © Katja Goljat, Matjaž Rušt

PIFcamp 2020: The early rain catches the strom

After a rainy morning in the village of Soča Peaks (to listen to the soundtrack click here), the planned hike with Dario Cortese was postponed until the afternoon. Such sweet mornings under a tent are ideal for documenting, which is also this year’s umbrella theme of PIFcamp. In cooperation with the PIFcamp video team (Jure Lavrin, Tilen Sepič, Domen Ožbot, Katja Goljat and Matjaž Rušt), the participating PIF-goers put on display their artistic and / or research process, part of which is also being developed within the camp.

2020 realness © Katja Goljat, Matjaž Rušt

Documentation, often underestimated in the culture of makers and hackers, the rain was the first good excuse to commence work on archiving. Under the safe roof of a tent, the future archives of the following PIF-goers were created: Julian Chotell’s DIY-Soil-Photogrammetry, which is an attempt to use photography as a tool in exploring the earth, with the help of modified scanners. Robertina Šebjanič and Miha Godec in the aqua_forensics project developed water forensics experiments with the help of drugs found in rivers and seas. The second part of the project is in vitro experiments and verification of the emerging lab book.

Aqua forensics in the making © Katja Goljat, Matjaž Rušt

The first morning workshop on botanics in the wild, led by Dario and Darja, took place under a tent, where wild plants were given two new roles: in form of a toothpaste and a healing cream. In the afternoon sunny hours, the classroom moved to the neighboring hill Lemovje, where Dario and Darja presented edible and poisonous wild plants on a hike in situ (among others: thyme, sage, cloves, long-leafed mint, yarrow, horsetail, sage, wild garlic, St. John’s wort).

Plant hub with Dario and Darja © Katja Goljat, Matjaž Rušt

The sun rays lured Blaž Pavlica and his assistants to set up a dome for distributed perception. This time, Blaž will use it to create a DIY spatial-sound format that transmits sound above and below the listeners. The first attempts will follow in the coming days!

PIFcamp 2020: Will you PIFcamp me?

Once again (the 6th time already!) PIFcamp gathered makers, hackers, tech freaks, and nature lovers in a semi-remote location of Upper Soča valley. This year, the Covid-safe edition with about 35 participans remains in a pocket format on the location, but is big on-line, with several live streaming of presentations and workshops. Hiking, however, remains in the domain of real presence. Europe’s most popular hack and maker summer camp also happens offline!

Kick-off, day one © Katja Goljat, Matjaž Rušt

Kick-off of this edition, according the camp’s main organizer Tina, resembled the “family gatherings”. The old faces of PIFcamp mixed with the few new ones. The pristine Soča valley welcomed the participants from the neighboring countries (Slovenia, Austria, Czech Republic) and the global followers online. After short presentations of the participants, the Sunday evening was devoted to timetable-building, orientational walks, and first talks among camp-goers. The opening day was topped with a mouth-watering dinner by tandem cooks Klemen Košir & Miha Tumpej.

Klemen Košir & Miha Tumpej, the cooking team
© Katja Goljat, Matjaž Rušt

On the second day, a morning walk with artists Robertina Šebjanič and Miha Godec included collecting water samples and video shooting of the scenic Soča river and walking towards Koritenska jezera. Šebjanič will present updated version of her aqua_forensic project at the camp and share some insights at the workshop later in the week. We are looking forward also to Dario Cortese’s traditional hikes focused on collecting wild edible plants that will culminate in a Plant hub, a sort of crash course in wild botanics.

Yard tent © Katja Goljat, Matjaž Rušt

All the way from Panama, the familiar PIFcamp-goer, a scholar and the enthusiast Dinacon maker Andrew Quitmeyer held a video call in the PIFcamp yard about ants, ant sensor and ant ecosystem that are his main interest for the past 10 years. Myrmecorpora is Quitmeyer’s 6-day workshop for wearable interactive ant farms. The workshop that will be held online and facilitated by Simon Gmajner offline will end with a fashion show of wearable ant-farm. Andrew’s ant licking quotes escalated on PIFcamp memes. Isn’t this fANTastic?

Testing video streaming equipment © Kaja Goljat, Matjaž Rušt

The super informative, hands-on evening lecture held by Bernhard Reisinger and live-streamed with the help of Vaclav Peloušek introduced us to oscilloscope, sound and its visualizations. Oscilloscope, “an instrument that allows you to play” enables you to see the visual representation of sound that for Bernhard is much more playful than a laser system based on mirror reflection. Sound and visuals to play. Is there a better way to start the week?

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 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.

PIFcamp2016 – Day 4

Another day of early rising for PIFparticipants. We also recieved some morning visitors, among them the crew of Slovenia’s National Television, which plans to cover PIFcamp in a show named Poletna scena (the Summer Scene).


They were able to share our enthusiasm, when the simulation of earthquake took place. The first try though was unsuccessful, but not uneventful: the sound blasts proved too strong for the speakers and instead of a crumbling building we witnessed smoke. The second try was successful, and we can safely claim Soichiro and his team realized their project. And when they repeated the feat with another type of building in the evening, the demolition was accompanied by loud cheering from the crowd. 


In the PIFhouse Jože has been making something interesting. He was working with a special kind of Californian algae, as he is interested in their bioluminescence. At the presence of certain mechanical stimuli they emit light. He plans to expose them to differing forces, such as bubbles, sound blasts etc., and capture the resulting patterns with a light-sensitive camera and by prolonged exposure. So check his presentation at PIF’s Open Saturday!

The weather was bad, but that didn’t stop PIFhikers from taking on another hill. Our expert on wild plants and hiking guide took them to the village Skala, which is an important pagan ritual site. The Christians built a chapel on the spot, and one can find peace and quiet there, as soon as he steps through its portal.


Interspecifics made batteries from the samples they collected in our surroundings. As they concluded, the most energy can be harnessed from the soil located near the cheese dairy in Duplje by the Krn lake. The tent, where their laboratory is set, hosted several other workshops as well, among them the estrogen extraction one by Mary Maggic.



Our charmingly confused Frenchman also finally got a chance to work on his project. His Mimosa plants, procured from Ljubljana’s Botanical garden, were left in the dark and had to recover. These fragile, tender trees did become more like themselves in time, and Cedric was able to take some measurements of their response to electrical stimuli during the night. He says it is now time to connect them to circuits and translate their responses into light and sounds.


The project work continues tomorrow, and another tour, this time to Korita, is planned… By the way, Tarock remains the most popular evening activity for those who are trying to relax. And we are getting better and better!