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.
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.
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).
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.
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”.