“Due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation PIFcamp will be a little different this time”. This was the public announcement for the invite-only of the 7-day PIFcamp (titled “Under construction”) in the Upper Soča valley, Triglav National Park, allowing 35 participants to tinker, hack and further develop their practice, with a special focus on documentation.
What would be the covid-safe 2020 version of PIFcamp? To answer this, the organizers, Projekt Atol, Ljudmila and Kersnikova have constructed a fairy tale and packed it in a pocket format. The umbrella topic was documentation that is often overlooked in the hacking and making process. Hence the enlarged video and photo team on site that catered the whole process and was made available for the participants.The results are published and documented for further public and/or private use.
Kick-off of the 2020 edition, according the camp’s head organizer Tina, resembled “family gatherings”. The old faces of PIFcamp mixed with the few new ones. The pristine Soča valley welcomed the local participants and from the neighbouring countries (Austria, Czech Republic) and the global followers online.
Participants were invited to: bring back to life an old project; host a lecture (offline and online); share your own research or work-in-progress; write a research paper; work on an art project (AV performance, virtual object, installation…); develop a workshop, software or protocol; or to open a discussion with other participants on a specific topic. Pop-up projects and anything-can-happen situations were not so much encouraged this time. Nevertheless, the typical je ne sais quoi PIFcamp flavor kept the jovial atmosphere and the spirits high.
All the way from Panama, the familiar PIFcamp-goer, a scholar and an enthusiast Dinacon maker Dr. Andrew Quitmeyer held a video call in the yard. The topic was 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. Andrew’s ant licking quotes escalated on PIFcamp memes and entered the PIFcamp jargon for the rest of the week (read our special report).
The informative and very hands-on lecture by Bernhard Reisinger and Vaclav Peloušek served as an intro to oscilloscope, sound and visualizations. Oscilloscope, “an instrument that allows you to play” enables you to see the visual representation of sound. As such, Bernhard regards it as much more playful than a laser system that is based on mirror reflection.
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. His assistant Darja was an additional source of knowledge on cream and hydrolat making process that was presented at a workshop for PIFcampers and also for locals and tourists in the neighboring camp. Very Tasty Intelligence is a series of lightning talks which will help you start exploring the hidden potential of wild food and the nutritional and healing powers it has.
PIF Camp, Very Tasty Intelligence :
The remotely held workshop by Maggie Kane aka Streetcat.media took place under a tent. The workshop presented the principles of designing narrative video games. 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.
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 (read our interview), 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.
Julian Chollet is collaborating with the DIY soil photogrammetry project at PIF. 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. 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 (read our previous report on Humus Sapiens).
Lovrenc Košenina 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.
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.
Klemens Kohlweis also participated in the project of Saša Spačal, who is developing the Light Reader workshop, video tutorial and a lab book. For the lab book Klemens prepared two schematics of the electrical circuit. The Light Reader is a simple physical interface for triggering sound using light. Its technological principle was developed and used in Saša’s biotechnological sound art installation Mycophone_unison in 2013.
Klemens Kohlweis continued his media archaeological research into EPROM chips (erasable programmable read-only memory), which were used from the 80s to the mid-90s, and are found also in digital drum machines used in Pop music of the time. Klemens will also be a part of Ljudmila’s art and research residency in Autumn 2020.
Luka Frelih completed his solar powered rotator for houseplants that freed him from the constant fear of underhydration of his plants while being away (or being busy at PIFcamp). Another plant is saved. It seems, year 2020 is not so bad after all.
PIFcamp is organized by Projekt Atol and Ljudmila, in cooperation with Kersnikova Institute. PIFcamp is part of the Feral Labs Network, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.