20201115

Build a Norns shield and got it working on a Raspi3 using an old SD card. Bought the PCB from Pursherman (12,26€, mail inc.) and the components from Digikey (70,74 € / +39,08€ import duties). All together 122,08€ for an entry to the Monome world. With import fees the cost for an official kit might have risen to ~280€ (+55€ for a Raspi). The build went smoothly. Previous SMT builds paved the way and I got all the components soldered within five hours. Made a case from scrap plywood by adapting these drawings. There is still some sanding to do and I have to source caps for the d-shaft potentiometers and the buttons. I’m occasional some trouble running Orca and a few other scripts. I believe that a faster SD card will fix the issues but I might eventually opt to get a Raspi3+ (the Raspi3 I’m using is from the Mazizone build which I’d like to keep running anyway). By enlarge everything seems to work well (including updates, running 201113).

For the simple synths (using a keystep for midi) and effects alone a good investment. I’m hoping to learn scripting and if everything feels good might work myself towards a crow. Norns feels feature packed and of course this being something I assembled, it will take time to develop a feel on what is a feature and what is a bug/build issue. Feels stable and powerful so far.

20201020

Listened to James Bridle New Ways Of Seeing (2019) which “reimagines John Berger’s Ways of Seeing”. Felt like an throwback to the past glory days of media-art. Some interesting new stuff too, like terra0 the cybernetic forest (by Paul Seidler, Paul Kolling & Max Hampshire). Their modular, open-source framework is available on Github. The project is affiliated with Moneylab, which is fun as I just helped to stream an event related to it at Oodi. Bridle’s presentation is stuck on gaze. He repeats numerously (and in numerous ways) that seeing is knowing: That by gaining a view to the inner-working of a system, we could overcome its effect on us. I don’t share this optimism. Knowing is not power: Power is power, and the power to employ is the Power.

I’ve visited the Kurängen spring (60.288403,25.214754) area twice after the first visit. We found a wooden-frame which has been build to protect the spring opening (mentioned here). I cleaned the foundation of the spring by removing plant life from the bottom and leaves from the top. Found gray clay in the bottom soil. Could it be used for pottery? While cleaning, the clay tainted the spring-pond, which revealed the exact location where water is gushing out. An incredible site.

Preparing the Encountering Taste performance with Tea Andreoletti. Preparations are fun and have progressed steadily. Interviewed Sirpa Vuori a Kuopio resident who was witnessed the decay of city springs from 1988 onwards. Spotted her from an interview on Savon Sanomat (Kuopion kaupunki mylläsi lähteensä, 03.03.2014). During our interview I got a detailed witness account of the destruction of the Linnanpelto spring and a thorough mapping of past spring usage by city residents. A small detail:  Her neighbor had a sealed document granting her the right to use the Linnanpelto spring as a supply. The neighbor had received this document when resettling to Kuopio from the north (as a refugee). Suvi from Anti festival got her hands on a great document Lähteet Kuopiossa (2011) Teppo Tossavainen which offer a technical view to the springs. She visited many of the sites mentioned in the survey and it appears that the Poukama Spring is the only one left.

Digging Filament 1 (2007) Sachiko M and planning to modify my Arturia Keystep following Toms Jensens Janko Project 00 guide (also on Thingiverse). Sourced parts for a diy Norns build (the PCB is from Pusherman) but I don’t have time to commit to the build.

Got a temporary teaching gig at Aalto and bought Cobra Biker Hook Jac-Dingo boots from a Finnish manufacture Boot Factory run by Pekka Lahti.

20200707

My gig at the Malmi cemetery has ended. I got an opportunity to leave the job thanks to a Art Promotion Center covid grant. The grant enables me to complete a writing job on Performance Pedagogy, start developing the Horse & Performance course for TEAK and prepare mineral water performances for the fall (which is going to be hella busy). I got the grant for making an interesting critique of the response creative culture in Finland had on the pandemic.

I miss the work a bit, it felt honest and the crew was fun. It was exhausting to work outdoors in +30C° weather / rain and doing artsy stuff as a sidejob took its toll on family life. The pay was pretty low too, so the grant feels like winning the lottery. I’ve slept and wept for two days. Artists in Finland often complain that government artists grants are too low. Sure, they are but considering the hours and physical exhaustion of the gardening job I’d take the grant life for life.

I completed two electronics kits over the last weekends. I assembled a Dannysound Cali (California) oscillator, which is a replica of the Buchla Model 258. Wavefolding is inspiring: Instead of removing content to develop a sound, an aspect of it gets exaggerated. The unit allows wavefolding to be used to cut the volume, which works for neat lowpass filter type effects. Last weekend I assembled a Befaco Rampage, which is an “approach to an old invention: the Serge/Buchla ramp generator”. It processes sound, triggers and gates to spurt out an array of control voltages. It feels like an intelligence of sorts. I can use it as an envelope follower (Planning to process sparkling water. Edit: My preamps are not strong enough!). My current Waterlab eurorack system runs on a USB power bank.

20200509

Designing Winterbloom’s Big Honking Button (2020) theavalkyrie. A solid rundown on how to design eurorack modules. The text is informative and teaches how to read schematics, how microcontrollers work and what goes into designing a module. The honking button seems fun but a little gimmicky. Build a simplified USB +/-12v&5v power-supply based on this discussion. Opted for the Meanwell DKM10E-12 and the palm size board I assembled offers ~ +/-420mA! I’m now sourcing parts to make my own USB A-B cable (all of the cables I had caused power drop issues). Planning piezo-amp units and dreaming of a complex ramp generator or LFO/SLEW/ENV 1.1 by Kymatica.

Some links on the site don’t work but the protocol seems usefull for haptic devices: “Buttplug is an open-source standards and software project for controlling intimate hardware, including sex toys, fucking machines, electrostim hardware, and more.”

Sourced parts for radio transmitters & receivers and learning of the strange world of radio. Wide-band WebSDR is an interesting online radio project, the purpose of which I don’t understand (for testing transmissions?). Spectres of Shortwave a 2016 film by Amanda Dawn Christie seems interesting. Also listening and reading more Tetsuo Kogawa stuff. Found two great performances of his which use radio as a medium (radioart). In Looking for the Silent Interference (2018) the artist stacks transmitters which are broadcasting on the same frequency to produce audible ripples in radio waves (I think this is what he means by “folds” in radio space, referencing Adorno). In A Simple Way of Radioart (2019) he uses a pair of transmitters and receivers to produce a feedback loop which tone is depended on how he plays the transmitter antennas. In some of his texts he talks about hands as instruments and both examples are very good examples of this: The shape of his palm sets the sound. I cannot reach him using the email on his site, I’ll have to reach out to his colleges. Here is a quote from A Radioart Manifesto (2008)

When does radio become into radioart beyond being a medium? For newspaper, for instance, paper is a medium. […] How and when paper becomes an art? It is when the material of “paper” changes itself into a different material. Whatever you write and draw on a sheet of paper, it remains a medium. Therefore such attempts create not paperart but art on the paper. And when you crumple up it, it becomes a garbage. Adorno argued that “all post-Auschwitz culture, including its urgent critiques, is garbage”.

This “garbage” (Muell) is, however, not a worthless thing but a new material of art in Adorno’s critical perspective. In my interpretation, post-modern arts (arts after the modernism) starts with Adorno’s “garbage . His argument advocated “trash art”. But considering his critiques against the electronic mass medium such as radio and television we can argue that the most post-modern material as “garbage” would be airwaves.

Thinking about how airwaves as garbage become an art, the aforesaid example of paper might help us. When a sheet of paper is crumpled, it becomes garbage and at the same time it has many folds. They damage the material as a writing/drawing paper but change this material into another. Giles Deleuze provides an interesting understanding on fold although it is in relation to Leibniz’ monadology. A labyrinth is said, etymologically, to be multiple because it contains many folds. the multiple is not only what has many parts but also what is folded in many ways. [sic]

20200429

Oh.. What a weird and wonderful night. I was exited about assembling the walky-talky modules and went on imagining of scenarios I could use them in. An idea gloomed.. What if the module would work in FM domain? I’ve been making radio experiments with my raspi (see Hammeradio) and the itch to send wireless signals is an old one. The question led me on a frantic internet search stream and eventually I run into a website I visited years ago: Polimorphous Space by Tetsuo Kogawa. I learned about the site from Diego Cruz Martinez an activist/engineer who worked for/with Radio Oaxaca. I interviewed him when I was working for M2Hz and the interview in available Finnish: Ääni intiaanikylille (2009).

Kogawas site is fascinating. There are texts and interviews dealing with the work of Félix Guattari (whom Kogawa met in 1981), manifestos and poetry, bundled with technical notes and schematics. The radio art guides he offers are thorough and the radio transmitter builds seem very robust. Here is a quote from his Micro Radio Manifesto (2006).

Today, our microscopic space is under technologically control and surveillance. Our potentially diverse, multiple nad polymorphous space is almost homogenizee into a mass. Therefore we need permanent effort to deconstruct this situation. In order to do this, to use a very low-power transmitter is worth trying. Small transmitter can be easily made by your own hands. [SIC]

This is a direct call for action and aligned with the texts he offers, this sets a clear trajectory for critical radiophonic work! The looks of his builds are wonderful. He uses an adaptation of “Manhattan style” method in his circuit construction (some notes on the style on Parasit Studio blog). The name Manhattan style reflects the street grid and urban planning of Manhattan, New York and I guess it links to the era of the Manhattan project too.

I’m now dreaming of building an eurorack unit of “the standard model” transmitter in Manhattan style. Some components are rare (2SC2001 transistor) but he also offers plans with alternative components (BC337 transistor). I imagine that in a rack the transmission would cause a lot of noise and interference but the build is conceptually firm. I think that as a module it reflects and is a call for the “responsibility of speech”. I’ve come to believe we have a responsibility to make sound, to voice opinions so that we do not collide to each other. This idea is well drafted in a boating story I heard from Topi Äikäs. In short: “If everybody is silently looking for the truth, nobody is safe!”. I could etch this story on the PCB.

After an exiting couple of hours in the world of Kogawa, I realized that the module should also include a receiver: Whats would be the point in making noise if no-one can listen to it. After some search I found this Simple FM Radio build (credited to Charles Kitchin) which is simple and runs on the same voltage as the transmitter (the unit in the photo is also build in Manhattan style). This means both builds could be powered from the same supply! I’ll have to experiment if this will cause too much interference but the idea is clear. The module could have one input for transmitting and one for receiving. With two modules, two (or more) racks can be made to work in unison.

An additional bonus in the transmitter build is that I could use DIY mineral water capacitors (which I experimented with on the Simple EQ build) for setting the transmission frequency (it needs a variable capacitor between the values of 10 to 20pf). This is perfect because when working on the walky-talkies I felt horrible remorse for not continuing to develop/build modules I’m planning to use in upcoming mineral water performances. Suddenly a side quest to radio transmission domain proofs meaningful and everything makes sense for a while.