Thursday started early for some: before 6am (5:45am!), the bravest participants gathered for coffee and tea and decided to go on a long hike into the unknown with chef Klemn. They studied the map one last time and started the hike. A good hour later, more traditionally oriented PIFcampers went on a shorter hike to the Krn Lakes. Its is becoming almost an annual activity.
The participants are masters of multitasking, so they also held a Waaaater Walkshop during the traditional walk. Vivian‘s project was to allow the participants to slow down in the otherwise fast-moving atmosphere of PIFcamp. “The Walkshop allows you to explore, understand, feel and connect with your environment through walking,” she writes at the beginning of the booklet she created at PIFcamp. “In the notebook, I will ask you questions and invite you to draw, but remember that this is just a guide to help you discover and feel.”
Community archiving is an important part of Viviana’s walking workshop – each participant receives a notebook in which they write/draw their feelings and reflections. From the archive, we pulled out one of the twelve booklets that said “Becca”. As PIFlog writer always checks with the source, we asked Becca about her experience. “We opened the notebook by the beautiful lake and looked into the water, at the shape of the waves as they emerged on the surface. Vivian was also interested in how we could hear the water – we were on a lake that is otherwise calm. The only sounds were occasionally made by swimmers jumping into the lake, but it was a very calming experience.” Leafing through the booklet co-authored by Vivian and Becca was also a calming experience.
By lunchtime (jota!), the hikers had already arrived at the base and were slowly blending in with the rest of the participants. Meanwhile, a few curious people had already gathered around Seamus on the lawn for a demonstration of the mini portable units, Datapods, sound synthesizers to which various sensors can be connected.
Soon after, ten participants gathered under the baldachín, turned on the soldering irons, and, under the watchful eye of Lina and Manu, started to assembling the Fantasía synth at the workshop. When the assembly was done Iván and Julia took over – guided the PIFers step by step through the process of programming the synth they had just built. The full-afternoon workshop was (verified!) also suitable for complete beginners, who thus built their first programmable synth to chase PIFnostalgia at home.
At the same time, a silent sound began to echo through the PIFcamp and led us under a tree. Tilen set up a portable battery-powered sound system and gathered fellow synthesiser enthusiasts who provided a wonderful musical backdrop for lounging, active listening, and also small manual tasks (e.g. assembling extension cables or quietly typing of PIF blog).
At the same time, a journey through the history of field recording took place under the tent with Niklas, the guide you have already met in an earlier post. A lively debate developed among the interested audience, which was reinforced by listening to examples and sharing tips and hints.
In the afternoon, the sky above us was still very bright as Marko used drones to map a part of the Soča River in the area close to PIFcamp. The Trenta mapping is part of his multi-year ISOLAB project, which you can find out more about in a short video documentary made by the PIFvideo team during our stay in Soča.
Just before dinner, a few PIFampers gathered under a nearby tent for a workshop with Karl Yerkes to learn about the new dimensions of live music coding in C, in the CLAVM (C Language Audio Virtual Machine) environment. Karl told us about the workshop: ‘It’s about live coding in an ancient language that is still used all over the world, C, completely unnoticed. In the workshop I gradually show how to create increasingly sophisticated musical processes, starting with simple signals and mathematical operations. At the beginning, we learn the basics of digitally generated sound, digital signal processing, and basic mathematical functions. Then we try our hand at music composition with parameterization, parameter mapping strategies, pattern generation and effects. Layering functional abstractions, we begin to listen to music that deviates from the expectations associated with live coding in such a low-level language. Finally, we encode the music live in C.”
5th day after dinner, the PIFcamp odyssey of covid tests continued (all negative!) and one extraordinary event after another. First, Bernhard realized his long-awaited wish: he performed a laser show on the biggest wall in the PIFcamp area. All eyes of the participants (although the evaluation is rather subjective) were focused on the wall of epic proportions (at least for the village of Soča) next to the basketball court and enjoyed a 30-minute hypnotic AV performance.
Blaž, the dome man, also had an adventure of sorts, on Thursday he finally got the chance (weather factor + human forgetfulness factor), to set up the speakers in a spherical sound system and invite passers-by (on the way to the basketball court-terrace route) to listen in. Unfortunately, this was the longest-lasting session in the Ambisonic Dome, as raindrops visited PIFcamp again in the following days.
The tireless PIFcampers organised themselves and set up an AV jam under the tent just a few minutes after Bernhard’s performance. Aljoša accompanied the musicians on synths and in various live coding environments with visuals. On a rather massive system consisting of, among other things, an oscilloscope, an old video camera, and a video mixer (which Luka pulled out of a box labeled “obsolete video …”), he created a great visual focus for the energetic music from under the fingers of the coordinated performers. The atmosphere in the tent was so good that your favorite media team (photographer Simão and note-taker Katja) decided to move their office to the center of the action. The party was brought to an early end (at 1:00) by the law and order authorities.
The party has therefore moved under the covered terrace. The participants did not need to be told twice, the new venue was ready within one beer. Best not to waste too many words on the epic proportions, two will be sufficient: breakfast rave. Read on in the next few days to find out how the participants then took the obligatory hike and started preparing for the Open Saturday. After all this, we can’t conclude with a statement from the camp leader, Rea, who was asked how she was feeling on Friday afternoon: “I’m OK. Yesterday was such a calm day.” <3