PIFcamp started and the first day went by in the blink of an eye!

The 8th edition of PIFcamp will take us into the world of live-coding, lasers, prototyping, noise, more or less rhythmic sounds, community projects, and the endless possibilities of exploration.

More than sixty participants have made their way to Soca. The day started with a lot of work, setting up tables, setting up the tent, and arranging the internet connection, cables and other details. The kitchen was quite lively, the cooks and little helpers prepared a delicious leek-chickpea soup, for all the hungry and tired. After a new type of welcoming at the entrance – a quick antigen test, and very fortunately, for once, we were all for sure on the negative side of the scale, the traditional introductory part began.

eMotion bubble

Raising emotional awareness and improving emotional intelligence.

In many social situations, it is necessary to hide our emotions – take for example, that you dislike your boss. Just because you don’t like him doesn’t mean you can openly express your feelings, because that would leave you jobless. In this kind of situation, suppressing our emotional expression is beneficial to us. Decreasing our outward expression of felt emotions is called ‘emotion suppression’, and many people are very good at it. They suppress emotions frequently in their day-to-day life in order to avoid any kind of problems or in order to stay within social norms.

Research has shown that although emotional suppression decreases outward signs of emotion, it does not actually lower emotional experience of the person. Hiding one’s feelings doesn’t actually make them go away. Emotional suppression increases the physical symptoms experienced, such as sweating or increased heart rate. Sadly, it also has negative effects on cognitive functioning. Anything which is suppressed for long goes to the unconscious mind, which eventually gets its release through undesirable behaviors unconsciously. Emotions serve as a useful indicator as well as a warning signal, indicating how we are progressing through life at any given time. When we experience an emotion, it means our brain has identified a change in the environment that is relevant to us- our health, objectives, or concerns. It brings those things to our attention which emphasizes us to express.

Emotions are what gives communication life, so inclusion and display of emotions are considered important to maintain an effective social communication.  We express emotions with our bodies, intentionally or unintentionally, with various face expressions, gestures, vocal tones and bodily movements. But manifestations of our emotional states occur not only with the observable bodily
changes such as trembling hands, burning cheeks etc., but also with unobservable reactions such as
racing hearts, tightness in chest, raised blood pressure etc.

In addition to the hard-to-control physiological responses, people use all sort of controllable elements of appearance, such as garments, jewelry, and accessories to express themselves. Self-built physical appearance helps to express moods and emotions (in a socially acceptable way). This symbolic power of appearance can be used not only to enrich the expression of the social self, but also to manage how to communicate the self. Clothing itself is a mode of communication. The clothes or the accessories people wear, make statements and express something about themselves, they reveal their choices and emphasize their identity and personality through display of clothes. People interpret these visual statements as they
want, but we can always redefine our appearance with the way we dress and with the expressive
abilities of our bodies.

One way to express ourselves in contemporary, fast pace, networked and wireless society, is via wearable technologies. With capabilities of available technology, customization and user–centered approaches transferred to clothing design, we are able to create interactive systems that allow users to define their final appearance, with better possibilities for self-expression and interfaces involvement in electronic networks.

Nastja Ambrožič will design and construct a wearable prototype where LED are incorporated into fabrics and clothes to display emotions and personality of the wearer. Her starting point will be a DIY heart rate sensor, which will be incorporated on the wearer’s body and connected with wires on a sphere-like structure dress, called ‘eMotion bubble’, which will show changes in the person’s emotional states (changes in heartbeat).

Entangled perception

»If the word cyborg – cybernetic organism – describes a fusion between a living organism and a piece of technology, then we, like all other life-forms are symborgs, or symbiotic organisms.« Enhancing sym-cy- orgian aspects of existence, Efe Di will be developing a wearable »sensory organ« containing intimate co-habitation between mycelium, electronics and human.

Mycelial growth on petri dish will act as an external visualizer of internal psychophysiological processes, or the anxiety-and-stress age. Electrocardiogram (ECG) signal measurements will be transformed into sound that will be played to mycelial body via microcontroller. Fungi are capable of sound perception and respond to different frequencies with change in growth and metabolism. Therefore, stress related factors of ECG signal can be transformed into both favorable and unfavorable sound frequencies in real time. In short: when you are in a good mood, mycelium is also in a good mood. The result is a mycelial map of mental states.

Modern standard healthcare diagnosis works in strictly rational realm, collecting and analyzing cold objective data. Findings are rarely interpreted in a way accessible to a layman, so the patient is excluded from discussion about his health state and often has no idea what is going on with and within his own body. Efe Di askes: is there another way to provide insight into physically hidden body processes? We know that our brain has evolved for recognizing patterns, but it is weak in processing logic and making calculations. What happens if we visualize these states in the form of a living being that is drawing shapes of emotions? Can these visualizations change the way we perceive harmful behavior towards ourselves? Can we feel it more deeply, emotionally, and mythological?

Project by Eva Debevc

Experimental audio, weaving, textile craft, drawing, and storytelling.

Attending as a family, Laura and August are intending on developing a project in collaboration with their children. The focus will be on relating sound and image/craft in a fun and playful ways accessible to young persons while conceptually interesting for adults as well. They will be making a portable system for making music in nature.

First step is to search and collect natural objects around PIFcamp and capture the sounds of those different objects. The next step is arranging objects (rocks, sticks, leaves) on top of a long handwoven blanket with patterning to support object placement and then running the camera over the blanket, from start to end. That will control the playback and recording. The system will utilize our experience developing interactive camera-based web applications, August’s expertise in real-time audio synthesis, and Laura’s experience weaving. Plan is to create a system that is highly portable, playful, and keeps the majority of the interaction in and with nature.

Car Valves

What to do when a friend gifts you a bunch of outdated vacuum tubes? Apparently, it is possible to build a very nice low voltage tube preamp.

Car Valves is a project based on old outdated vacuum tubes. It is built around the ECH 83 which was originally designed to be used in old car radios. It has one amplifying stage [triode] and a stage that seems to be used within the radio receiving circuit [heptode]. In its original function, it has been powered by 12V car batteries. Compared to conventional high-voltage tubes, this property makes it an ideal and harmless object for experimentation. Join Ludwig Klöckner and build yours.

Features:

  • High Impedance Audio-Input
  • Symmetrical and Line-Output
  • Controls: Gain, Bass, Treble, Volume
  • On-/Off Switch

MonsterCode by Theun Karelse

(Monster = imagination Code = encoding into the environment)

Before we had books knowledge was passed down orally, sometimes it was ‘stored’ directly into the landscape. Using small data-sets we will overlay physical space with a metal landscape during PIFcamp and experience how to build them up so they can hold vast amounts of knowledge in a single space you can walk through. Theun will also bring a first prototype of a device that tries to give a physical experience of animal vocalizations.

We feel our own voices when we speak, but can we physically experience the voices of animals? This prototype is a first step and is ready to be tested for feedback to develop it further.

Machine Alps – sculptural sound installation by Scott Kildall

Scott Kildall will be developing a new installation called “Machine Alps”, which depicts what trees, plants and fungi might sense from human interference. Using sensors connected to the leaves of plants, barks of trees and surfaces of mycelium, several sculptural nodes will drive low level synthesizers based on live data, using recorded samples of machine noise. This will be a performance where bleeps, churns, grinds and other disruptions get orchestrated into a coherent soundscape.  

Speaking through light

The electromagnetic field is a widely used medium for the transportation of information. Yet its use through free space propagation (meaning not using fiber-optic or electric cables) is mostly limited to the invisible radio spectrum. Those radio waves at comparably low frequencies can travel through walls, beyond mountains, and interplanetary dust clouds, and usually don’t keep us from sleeping. Visible light, on the other hand, can be blocked by a single fly alone and also might annoy us if it flickers through the night.

This week we do not want to be bothered by flashing lights and insects interrupting our communication channels. We want to explore how sound-carrying light looks like, how living nature alters the light, and how this affects the tonal properties of the sound. We would look at light as a specific form of electromagnetic radiation and use software-defined radio technology to modulate and demodulate the streams of photons. We will experiment with loading information onto a visible carrier wave through amplitude, frequency, and phase modulation. Not only sound can be sent via light, but also poems and pictures. Sound to light to music. Words to light to poetry. Light to light to light.

The vast landscape of Triglavski narodni park offers the perfect dimensions for long-range light transmissions. A hike will take us to an elevated place so we can deploy our (hand-crank operated?) laser walkie-talkies. We will get within line of sight and then we will speak through the light.

Speaking through light is a project by Thomas Preindl.

Lichen and Deeper Time


Many entities and processes exist on spatial scales that are not amenable to conventional time-lapse techniques. Lichen, for example, grow extremely slowly, on the order of a few mm to cm per year. This slow growth-rate makes it difficult to understand their dynamics except at punctuated points of observation. Additionally, lichen have extremely fine microstructures and are difficult to cultivate in the laboratory, meaning that in-situ observation is preferable.

At PIFcamp, the team will be prototyping a self-contained system for monitoring lichen over deeper times, both on Earth as well as while traveling in outer space. They will consider various aspects of the problem and develop a prototype for initial testing, considering materials that could be useful for extreme environments. All the outputs will be open-source as a way to develop new possibilities for deeper-time, in-situ and remote observation of organisms and processes that are otherwise diminished in scientific research.

The team will also be giving close attention to this symbiotic organism. Lichens exist throughout the entire biosphere and survive in the most extreme environments but are at the same time sensitive to environmental disturbances. They have also been shown to be resilient to the ravages of space and live for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. At the venue, we will investigate lichen classification and morphology through investigating those entities that exist in the proximity of the Camp and will prepare a hybrid – remote presentation with Adriana Knouf (Amsterdam, Netherlands), the driving force behind the module and the Founding Facilitator of the tranxxeno lab, a nomadic artistic research laboratory that promotes entanglements amongst entities trans and xeno.

Vivarium & transxxeno lab

Team: Eva Debevc, Nastja Ambrožič, Jakob Grčman, Simon Gmajner, Adriana Knouf