20170522

Making the “Hammeradio” launch FM broadcast by scheduling tasks with cron. @reboot /home/pi/Desktop/startupfm.sh works well. It launches sudo arecord -fS16_LE -r 22050 -Dplughw:1,0 -c 1 - | sudo /home/pi/PiFmRds/src/pi_fm_rds -audio - -rt Hammeradio & I’ll also schedule a daily power off cycle for the device. I’ll set it to work during gallery open hours 14:00 to 18:00 (with a Lunch break in the middle). Found an old amplifier circuit I build (while learning to solder to make the WSG) and I’ll test it with the piezo mic I have handy (It would save the iRig pre-amp I bought).

20161204

Ray Wilson the developer of the Weird Sound Generator etc. passed away a few months ago. His last youtube entry is touching and soothing (I can hear he made something with his life). I’ve collected new parts for my WSG unit and I’ll return to the build during the holidays. Apparently there are plans to adapt Wilson’s schematics to the eurorack format! Also the Mfos site has continued to offer pcb boards and kits.

20161006

Found some text concerning on spiritualism and electricity. “The Spiritual Telegraph and the relation between body and electricity in Spiritualism” is an overview on how science of electricity was used foundations of a new spiritualistic movement. “Spiritualism and Electromagnetism” offers a detailed look on how scientific concepts and terminology was used by some spiritualistic practitioners.

Visited KOM-theaters “Sound Night” (Ääni-ilta) at Vuotalo. The event lasted for over 90 minutes and was structured around contributions by local art/culture actives and organizations. Some parts of the show felt superficial.

The Sound Night was build around interviews they’ve conducted through the year. It felt as if all of the informants they’ve talked to had portrayed Vuosaari in very emotional manner (both negative and positive). The theater crew had chosen the positive approach to investigate the sites history. The Sound Night was fixed on the idea of Vuosaari as a happy village which had been masked as an urban district. They tried to portray the sites mythological past and contemporary soul. The problem is that suburbs renounce the concept of a soul – Suburbs are about movement. The unifying character of suburbs like Vuosaari is that they are transitional and fluid areas. They are constantly being rebuild and populated by new groups – They are modern.

Towards the end we sung a Vuosaari song the crew had composed. The song feld similar to the horrible municipal songs nationalistic artists composed for their districts, around the time Finland gained its independence (Vuosaaren maakuntalaulu). The Helsinki-model cultural funding program is guiding the team’s focus specifically to the Vuosaari district. This is a very limiting frame for cultural production. I’m interested to learn how other Helsinki-model funded institutions have solved the issues.

20160511

Two weeks of life wasted on the WSG. Still not working right. Swapped all the parts and resoldered the wiring using an alternative diagram. It’s not working and I have no idea why. I ordered new resistors for the second unit and I’ll stop trying to fix this one to save energy to work on the next unit. Made a song about the life I wasted.

Noticed I have made fun entries to my soundcloud account. 20160423 2021 is one of my favorites.

Visited the “My Signs” performance by Pekka Toivonen at the Rock Church. It was a celebration of his career as a graphical designer. He had composed a concert for a small orchestra and made a video collage which showed his personal life during the time he had made his celebrated designs. The show was centered on his artists-persona, his encounters with women and snapshots of fast paced life.

Graphical designers have taken center stage of contemporary creative culture. Their profession is about building connection between different sorts of tastes. They don’t necessarily strive to make statements, their work is a celebration of complex signs presented in tasteful packages. The audience is left to make sense of what is being presented (they often build their interpretation on zeitgeist vibes or immerse in with the experience like romantic art back in the days). I imagine graphical designers don’t get constructive criticism about their work (there is no statement to criticise), so it must be a lonely profession.

Toivonen is the Gallen-Gallela of 21th century Finland but that’s not why I like him. I like him for his class struggle. His success is the success of the welfare state – He has breached the boundaries of his class.

20160510

It’s incredible that some electronic components are so rare. We can’t reach a post-scarcity economic utopia (where we only trade services) as long as specific resistors are so hard to find. I saw a dozen of Yamaha Electone organs for sale 10€ each at a local recycling center. Each device has components inside them which cost more. I should start a component upcycling business. Some info on the Electone organ chips is available online.

Tried my best to get the WSG working again. Sanded the paint away from the case (under the potentiometers) to create a stable ground connection, added a ground wire from the “-” power lead to the case and replaced the audio jack. Results: Only sound A Osc.2 is working. Bought new components for a second unit. I’m determined to build a working noise box.

20160509

We met with the “In the Flow” reading circle last evening. Quotes to remember: “…Russian avant-garde art was not directed against the status quo, against the dominating political and economic power structures. The Russian avant-garde of the Soviet period was not critical but affirmative…” Groys on postrevolutionary art in Russia and “Only dull and impotent artists screen their work with sincerity. In art there is a need for truth, not sincerity.” by Kazimir Malevich.

I’ve wasted another day working on the Weird Sound Generator. Replaced every capacitor, added ribbon pins to the wires and resoldered them on board. Double checked the resistor values and pulled out some resistors for testing. Eventually replaced the CD40106 chip.. This returned the voice B Osc.2 but voice A Osc.2 is still missing. I had two chips to begin with and I might have damaged both. During the resoldering session I noticed that a capacitor had been missing a connection from the beginning (because the double sided circuit board I’ve etched is missing connections between sides) and I might have short circuited both chips at some point. I’ll acquire a new chip at some point but I’ll start working on the case now. Working on the board is addictive.

Contacted the Theatre Academy of Helsinki concerning our “Horse and Performance” course which is planned for next fall. They seem excited about our course and apparently students are eager to join register.

Idea: Attach a piezo mic (with a preamp) to hammer and broadcast the audio through the Raspberry Pi radio transmitter (on FM 99.0).

20160507

Swapped nearly every component on the Weird Sound Generator board but I’m still missing Osc. 2 on sounds A&B. The problem has to be with the potentiometers or wiring. After a week of intensive soldering I’m ready to settle with what I have. I’ll fix the casing next week. I’m dissatisfied even though I learned a lot about electronics and found inspirational projects like 3TrinsRGB1. I still have a board left and I’ll buy new parts for a second unit. Given that I have most of the tools (and spare potentiometers) already new parts will likely cost only 10-20€.

I could start saving for something easy to use and fun like an Novation Circuit or a Korg Electribe 2 but they feel boring. Even as this WSG working in 50% capacity it still sounds more alive then digital synths I’ve played with. Particularly the low sounds manifest raw power. During this debugging phase I’ve heard every sound imaginable from the device. Touching the wires can wield surprising and painful results. Knowing that the sounds are present in the circuit builds respect to the device.

20160505

The Weird Sound Generator is running. Got a hang of the etching process, sorted the components and soldered them on the board. Working with the potentiometers took the longest as the wire I’m using breaks easily. Next time I’ll invest in Molex connectors. At first the sound B was broken which I traced to faulty top circuit connections. After some re-soldering it worked swell for a while but now I lost osc.1 from A sound. I pretty sure this is due to the wires.

It sounds interesting.

Then I got the sound B osc. 1 working again but lost sound A osc. 2. There are some issues with the filter too. Every voice in the build has worked at some point so I guess the issues come down to solder joints. I’ll re-test them later and package the generator tomorrow.

Met with Blanca Victoria Lópezia who is visiting Helsinki in search of Nordic nuances for the upcoming Havanna Biennale. The meeting was organized by Frame Finland. She’s working for the Wilfredo Lam Contemporary Art Centre. We talked about performance art being the art of our generation. It combines theory and practice and artists have to have a relation to it (like past generations needed to form a relation to painting).

Also chatted about the relation of crafts and art and I used Ore.e Refineries as a reference. In an effort to explain our multidisciplinary group I argued that “When artists work together they generally agree on what is art and find a constructive tone for collaboration but when artists work with professionals of other fields they have explain what they are doing and have to allow deconstructive approaches to their practice”.