Experiments in Echolocation by Rodolfo Acosta Castro

70% of the bat species use echolocation to hunt and communicate. The ultrasound signals that bats emit are above human hearing, but we can bring them down to our perception with some electronics. Let’s build a couple of Bat-detectors and let’s search for bats at the Soča river when the sun comes down. 

No bats? No problem! We can steal the bats superpower and build a small square-wave synth secretly screaming for attention. 

Rodolfo Acosta Castro is a Berlin based artist working with electronics, code and nature in theater context. He will try some experiments with ultrasound transmitters and is happy to collaborate with other projects, to improvise or use new materials.

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

The Sound of the World, According to a Teapot (in Memory of Alvin Lucier)

The first idea of Niklas Reppel was to build a DIY binaural dummy head microphone, as commercial ones come at a price that prohibits experimentation in nature (like, lowering the microphone into a crevice or gorge, or putting it out in the rain).
On the other hand, decent microphone capsules, are relatively affordable. So that led him to think, “why should the human head always be the reference? What if I make something more modular and build a set of ear-shaped microphones that I can stick to anything? That’d allow me to explore the sound of the world from the perspective of non-human entities, such as teapots, or plants, or bridges, while maintaining a certain binaural quality.

In fact, looking at the world from the perspective of things, rather than humans, seems to be a recent trend in UX research. See it here: https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3411763.3450390

If we can make things talk, we should be able to make things listen, right?

This will be his project this year: building oddly-shaped microphones from decent capsules, and sticking them to anything he can find, to explore the sound of the world from a not-totally-human perspective. With the recorded material, Niklas will create immersive soundscapes, improvised or composed with
his own open-source live coding language (Mégra), and implemented on the Blaž Pavlica Sound Dome, to make the sound of the world (according to a teapot) accessible to the interested listener. He’ll also bring a wireless transmitter so that the listening things might even be live contributors to the dome performances.

Ena Katardžić

“Inspired by the convergence of cultures and its consequences, especially as a result of queerness and diaspora, my work is critical of spacetime with an emphasis on performance. This criticality is culminating in something I am calling the non-durational. The non-durational is a lens of critique I am developing that is informed by relativity and existential philosophies. It can be put onto a variety of different subjects, including sexuality, language, and art. It is inspired by notions like assembly theory, eternal recurrence, intersectionality, a number of queer theories, durée, amor fati, and Dasein. It is like the word “queer” at times–adjectival in nature. My current practice aims to make observations and form language and material to explore the non-durational, an endlessness that is contingent upon power.

Text and photo by Ena Kantardžić.

Kraakdoos ensemble: make your own crackle box synth and play together, workshop with Dan Xu

A crackle box (or kraakdoos in Dutch) is an electronic-noise-feedback-synth-instrument designed by Michel Waisvisz of STEIM in the seventies. It is played by directly touching selected points in the circuit thereby becoming part of the circuit and completing a feedback loop to generate sounds. In this workshop, we will learn how to make a crackle box from scratch! There will be some breadboarding, diagram-reading, components-matching, soldering, and noising. Hopefully, we will have some homebrew boxes so we can touch, play and perform together!

Ig Dan Xu

Ceramic products and stories

Martin Mušič, a part of Baobap collective, is planning to design a useful ceramic product with a story connected to Soča Valley. He will use the 3D printer to make a prototype, which will be used as a plaster mold for casting liquid clay in it. He is also planning to build an outdoor furnace out of locally sourced materials and burn the clay products in there. The finished ceramic products will have an extra kick – a story with a local connection.

Cabinet Of Curiosities

Last year’s PIFresidency artist, Maggie Kane, will continue leading their integrative communal build project that centers digital storytelling and upcycled material (re)use at PIFcamp this summer. In 2022, Maggie led a group of artists in Ljubljana to build a freestanding wooden structure that houses interactive controls, a Raspberry Pi, and a digital screen. This summer, Maggie will host a workshop on how to build basic HTML games that allow participants to explore personal stories or memories that they have & how they can incorporate those experiences into an interactive game using the open-source platform Bitsy.

Experimental Scoby Therapy

In Experimental Scoby Therapy, developed by Nastja Ambrožič and Celeste Sanja Smareglia, the visitor is immersed in an immersive experience under the dome of Blaž Pavlica while lying down. In the comfort of the cushioned mattress, the sound coming from the e-textile DIY speakers sewn into the pillows, and the animations spreading across the projection screen on top of the dome, the user will get in touch with the symbiotic organism SCOBY. Capacitive sensors made of SCOBY paste, connected to the OctoSens interface, and other sensors that read physiological changes will form a key part of the therapeutic experience. The signals read from the sensors will be converted into sound frequencies and colorful visualizations. The experimental therapy will be a meditative, hypnotic conversation between humans and bacteria, a sensual dance of sound and visuals in the ambient silence of the dome.

The immersive experience is based on the use of SCOBY, a living symbiotic organism of bacteria and yeasts, commonly used for the fermentation of tea in the popular kombucha drink. In our case, SCOBY will be used as a sensor, as it has the ability to detect changes in the environment, such as skin conductivity. The values collected through the sensors will be converted into audio and visual signals, the effects of which will be reciprocally mirrored in the subsequent meter values. A communication loop will be established in the experimental therapy.

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.