Lasers, beeping and lightning

If you are wandering around Bovec and its surroundings on Wednesday 2 August, make sure to visit Fort Kluže in the evening. PIFparticipants will pull out their synthesizers, oscilloscopes, projectors and laptops for an evening of lasers, beeping and lightning between 9pm and 11pm.


(づ ◕‿◕ )づ Rob Canning & Robbie Hopper (+ Julia Múgica)

(づ ◕‿◕ )づ Linalab & Tilen Sepič (+ Oscilloscope Music)

(づ ◕‿◕ )づ Oscilloscope Music AV

(づ ◕‿◕ )づ ëgg & Tina Tonagel (+ Sophia Bulgakova)

(づ ◕‿◕ )づ Niklas Reppel & Iván Paz (+ Roger Pibernat)

(づ ◕‿◕ )づ Laurent Malys AV

Free entry.

In case of thunderstorms the event will be cancelled.

PIFprojects on our radar

What will you read about on this year’s PIFlog? After the introductory presentations, we can predict that you will once again enhance your knowledge about live coding, witness the return of fermentation and foraging enthusiasts and immerse yourself in the surroundings of the village of Soča with all your senses. Once again, synths, lasers and all sorts of robots will abound. The worksite is ready, let’s get to work!

Photo: Matjaž Rušt

Along with many of the live coders you’ve already met on this blog, this year’s participants also feature a few newcomers. Laurent Malys is attending PIFcamp for the first time this year, and this week he will continue working on his performance Body to Code, which combines dance and live coding. Ironic and impractical, his transhumanist performance showcases the creativity of algorithmic electronic music while questioning the interconnections between humans and machines.

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Laurent during his PIFproject presentation. Photo: Katja Goljat

Niklas Reppel, one of the PIFcamp returnees and members of the Toplap Barcelona collective, often combines live coding with field recordings in his practice. This year, he will populate the surroundings of PIFcamp with various objects on which he is placing binaural microphones (in the shape of human ears) to explore how the world around us sounds from a non-human perspective. The project is dedicated to the memory of composer and sound artist Alvin Lucier.

Niklas and his listener – a teapot with ears. Photo: Matjaž Rušt

Blaž Pavlica, an old PIFcamp familiar, is back with his DIY sound dome project, which he has upgraded in every way this year – in addition to a brand new lightweight structure that makes assembly easier, the immersive sound dome now includes a 16-speaker system, with a canopy floating above it to protect it from the rain. The dome soundscape will be co-created by a number of PIFlars, and we’ll make sure to report on their projects in the coming days.

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Dome projects planning with Blaž, its navigator. Photo: Katja Goljat

In addition to the writers of your favourite PIFlog, reporters for Makery and other documentarists are present at PIFcamp grounds. Live coder and illustrator Roger Pibernat, who was one of the more active participants last year, will be creating a visual diary for the aforementioned portal at this year’s PIFcamp. We can’t wait to see the results!

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A sneak peak into Roger’s sketchbook. Photo: Katja Goljat

We end this introductory roundup of some of the projects with one of our favourite recurring PIFprojects – for the fifth year in a row, Klemen Košir has been researching ways to feed more than 60 hungry PIFlars. So far, it looks like he’s going to succeed yet again. Tomorrow we will report on the first workshops and the progress of the remaining projects, so stay tuned!

Chef Klemen figuring out potatoes. Photo: Katja Goljat

Let the PIFtopia begin!

PIFlars flocked to the Soča Valley from all directions to occupy the traditional PIFcamp venue for the ninth time in a row. After the official welcome speeches and a “no-no” (aka you don’t want to try this) list walk-through, more than 60 participants presented themselves and their PIFproject ideas. For the most reliable information on the progress of this year’s projects (and other PIFtopia activities and festivities) follow our PIFlog. We also kindly invite you to visit (and re-visit) the newly established blog on everything PIF and food related, PIFood, and the greatest Instagram meme account in the whole of upper Soča Valley, @pifmemes. Let the PIFtopia begin!

Traditional PIFcamp kick-off with PIFproject presentations. Photo: Matjaž Rušt

PIFconcert and Algorave at Kluže Fort

Wednesday, August 2 2023
Fort Kluže, Bovec
from 9 pm to 11 pm

Lasers, beeping and lightning

PIFcamp international hacker camp participants are putting on an evening of electronic music and visuals in the courtyard of the Fort Kluže.

Performers: Rob Canning, ëgg, Robbie Hopper, Linalab, Julia Múgica, Oscilloscope Music, Iván Paz, Roger Pibernat, Niklas Reppel, Tilen Sepič, Tina Tonagel

Free entry.

In case of thunderstorms the event will be cancelled.

Technical support: GT22, MKC Maribor and konS Platform
Thanks: Soča Valley Tourist Board

Photo: Simão Bessa

Bacterial Field Guide by Maya Minder

Kombucha, as a new material (also praised for its probiotic benefits for our digestive system), holds potential as a suitable approach to familiarize oneself with the complex world of microorganisms. Bacterial cellulose as made inside Kombucha is a new model system for cooperation and conflict in a complex multi-species microbial environment. As Lynn Margulis pointed out that bacterial life as part of the five kingdoms is the predominant lifeforms on planet Earth and the most ancestral life form developed in wet humid environments.  The encounter and study from an artistic approach bears great potential of learning from bacterial live and existence through the view of non-human perspectives while diving into a field trip of encounter using microscopes, human sensory and deep contemplation. The Workshop will endorse the symbiotic approaches of how human perceive microbes through history involving a holistic approach of understanding the kingdom of bacteria by workshops and field trips. Within this workshop we will dwell into various aspects of Kombucha and the existence of biofilms in natural environment, its composition and perceiving in a human scale sensory apparatus. Hands on Workshops on how to grow bacteria, how to sing with bacteria, how to draw and colourful create recipes of enhancing or interfering human microbiome, but also biologic knowledge and micro-cosmomological perceptions of plant-human, plant microbial, stone-microbial, organic inorganic symbiotic living territories of bacteria. Coping, hunting and analyzing them by going back into the beginnings and history of microbiology science threw Louis Pasteur, Sergei Winogradsky and Heinrich Anton de Bary as well as but also mapping out field trips for investigating into geological appearance of microbial matts pre-existing on planet Earth (Stromatolites) as primer terrestrial landscape. 

Bacterial cellulose made of Kombucha requires research and practice in handling the material. Creating protocols for growing bacterial cellulose requires time, space and stillness to research its density, thickness and strength of the material, as well as drying processes, duration and durability of the layers, the post-treatment still to explores can be adapted to traditional leather making processes. For the appropriate duration of several months as the preparation and post-processing time, I conducted the research on bacterial cellulose produced by fermentation of kombucha and its production and processing process and led to interesting results, the results of which led to further research and practical application as well as workshop giving but for Piff camp mainly the sharing knowledge and creating encounters, experience and new possible collaborations

Working with the new biomaterial requires adaption and familiarize with the uncanny bacterial existence. To learn microbial behaviour means to adapt to a pre-historic deep time understanding of original archaic lifeforms. In this workshop I propose to learn from an hands-on approach inside the outdoor lab using olfactory, sensory, biohacking and sensorial methods to approach microbial existence as well as field trip explorations to visit ancient and modern existence of microbial matts in our environment. We will additionally research in our approximate environment and explore the concept of biofilms as a biomass pre-existing and predominant during the triassic period by visiting the Karst mountains. Through tapping into invisible life and their ability of growing microbial matts by microbial activity we will get familiar by approaches of Lynn Margulis or Betsy Dexter Dyer, feminist Biologists who are leading in the approach of symbiogenesis, welcoming a more close look into the predominant existing species of microbes. To oppose and decolonize knowledge of them as laboratory guinea pigs by western science epistemology of microbiology biochemistry.

Oscilloscope Music

Oscilloscope Music is audiovisual music, where the visuals are drawn using sound. In order to get the closest possible correlation between image and sound, the exact same signal that is connected to the left and right speakers is also connected to an analog oscilloscope’s X and Y inputs, producing complex lissajous images.

Over the span of six years Jerobeam Fenderson and Hansi3D have created ever more elaborate techniques to explore this largely uncharted field of audiovisual music, resulting in a full length album, as well as the unique 3D-audio software OsciStudio. For PIFcamp they will do a little performance, host an introductory workshop to lasers and/or oscilloscopes and maybe try to do a tiny laser light installation.

The Emergent Synchrony

Can a group of people, animals, or even robots in a given environment achieve coordinated behavior without external coordination or control?

Julia Múgica will work on a project that deals with the intriguing concept of collective behavior. Her focus will be on the emergence of synchronization, which showcases how this phenomenon goes beyond individual actions and emphasizes the importance of self-organization through local interactions. To illustrate this phenomenon, Julia plans to employ various approaches, including particle systems to create live-coded visuals and generate textures using noise algorithms.

Additionally, she will collaborate with Alicia Champlin on an investigation related to potential synchronization in the heartbeats of individuals entering Blaž Pavlica’s dome. Lastly, in collaboration with Lina Bautista and Iván Paz, they aim to build a set of small swarm robots known as “the kilobots”. These robots were developed in 2012 and will be programmed to perform collective algorithms, further highlighting the idea of emergent synchrony.

For more information about Julia Múgica Gallart’s project, visit her video presentation on the topic:

Stones and physical computing

For this year’s PIFcamp Jelisa Weber will be working on a project with a focus on engraving stone materials like boulders and river pebbles with a half-automatic milling process. The search for suitable stones and surfaces for engraving will serve as preparation and also as a small survey, documented in pictures. These images, or any images resulting from this process, are then re-engraved on the stones.

Using a handled milling device controlled by an Arduino, the images are going to be translated pixel row by pixel row into darker and brighter areas. Leaving a mark in the history of the ever-changing minerals.

Drawing from her prior experience in a similar project, where she combined an Arduino with a tattoo machine, in order to „print“ images with it. Jelisa sees this as an opportunity to transition from Processing (free graphical library and integrated development environment) to Python, elevating the image-processing script’s potential to new heights.

Field Oscillator

Oriol Pares is a New Media Artist specialized in the use of technology as an explorative tool for communication. During this year, he started building his first DIY synthesizer project with a sensor able to track galvanic changes on a living matter. He intends to bring that instrument and continue his exploration, connected to the vibrant and special landscape surrounding the camp.

And, If there are any fellow oscillator enthusiasts at PIFcamp wanting to join, try, out or even collaborate, the next part of the Field Oscillator instrument may not be that far away. ;)

Anomalous Anomalies

This year’s PIFresident is Michael Candy, an Australian artist who works with physical technologies and robotics. His installations and experiments often manifest as interactive sculptures, videos, or interventions. During his PIFresidency at PIFcamp Michael hopes to continue his ‘anomaly’ experiment series in which robotics and light are used to create unlikely spectacles.

He started this series of work in December last year when a prototype drone was built to stabilize a laser excited phosphor beam of light as it ascended, resulting in a slowly extending beam of light. Another experiment was a floating robot underneath the surface of a frozen lake, shining light back through as it maneuvered around until the batteries froze over. He has no idea what anomalies might manifest during PIFcamp, as they are mostly designed around their environment; but he surely will bring a lot of parts to play around with!

Additionally, Michael will be working on his project with other PIFcampers, who are eager to work with electromechanical tech, and possibly continue this collaboration further into the residency in Ljubljana. He will share his extensive experience with designing robots and animatronics for cinematic applications with anyone wanting to build physical robotics, or needing help with a mechanism design. Sounds like something you are into? Just hit him up!

PIFresidency is a cooproduction between Projekt Atol Institute, Lightning Guerrilla/Forum Ljubljana and Kersnikova Institute. With financial support from Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana, Department for Culture and SYSTEMICS LAB/UCSB. PIFresidencies are part of the Rewilding Cultures project and co-funded by the European Union.