I’m preparing for a month lon trip to Russia. The Alkovi “In Various Stages of Ruins” -group includes (2018-19): Elina Vainio, Matti Kunttu, Iona Rosin and Katja Kalinainen. The project is organized by Arttu Merimaa & Miina Hujala. Other artists from Finland will also join in on different segments of the trip and their works will be presented in screenings / exhibitions on the way. The train from Helsinki leaves 2.9. I’ll give a presentation on mineral waters at Fabrika (Moscow) on 4.9 and later in Vladivostok. During the trip we’ll visit Ekaterinburg for the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art and Novosibirsk. I won’t have access to the internet on the train but I plan to write posts, which I’ll publish en masse once I get to a wifi.
The performances I’ll present illustrate how mineral waters are formed as rain passes through the soil and how different waters affect our bodies. The characteristics of different waters will be explored using electronic gadgets, anecdotes and by preparing a batch of mineral water for consumption. I’ve build a eurorack module for the occasion. It is a Simple EQ / Baxandall EQ module, which I’ve made as a trough hole unit and modified by adding switches and female pin headers, so that I can swap capacitors used in the original circuit.
I’ve build capacitors which use mineral water as the conductive material and plastic balloons as the non-conducting substance (dielectric). The capacitors have different architectures and shapes: A component which is made from a balloon (filled with 10ml water) inside a balloon (filled with 10ml water), shows as a ~3000pf capacitor. A component which is constructed from a balloon (filled with 10ml water and 10g copper) and a jar (with 20ml water), shows as a 12nf capacitor if its charged with a 9v battery for 10 sek. A component which has two spiraling compartments, shows as a 40pf cap. etc. Measurements vary and I guess the capacitance changes over time as the electrolytes in the salty water run out.
The EQ’s treble setting shows a notable difference when a capacitor is swapped. Unfortunately the change in the nature of audio passed trough the circuit is non-spectacular (my water capacitors behave as normal capacitors). But it is intriguing to use water as an electronic component! I’ve also build a nifty eurorack case for the trip (I’ll share the design later). The 84hp skiff has laser-engraved Byzantine ornaments and maps form our groups previous trips to Russia. The inside of the case lid shows module schematics (for debugging) and a manual for the Expert Sleepers Disting MK4 unit. The case also has pictures from different water based parasites a illustrations. I’ll laser cut the panels for the module tomorrow. The panels also have inserts for the 4,45mm jars I use for the water caps.
A thorough and nice no input mixing tutorial by Sarah Belle Reid (2019).
Build a perf-board unit of the a Simple EQ / Baxandall EQ module (the Tilt channel is still in the making). The build was an ordeal. I did how ever learn that the reverse polarity protection of the circuit works well (it even saved an IC I popped in the wrong way) and that my noisy DC 5-24v to Dual Power 12v -12v 5v -5v 3.3v supply is robust. I attempted to plan the build using various board design tools (Fritzing worked best for me) but ended up just soldering components down following the schematic.
I added two switches to my build, which can be used to bypass the capacitors controlling the bass response (27nf) and/or the treble (1nf). Changing the 27pf didn’t have much effect. I added female pin headers which can be used to insert different capacitors in their place. My first water capacitor (using faux s.pellegrino) shows a value of ~35pf and it has an effect on the sound. Next I’ll build more water capacitors, which hopefully will have higher values for more distinct effects. I’ll also have to design a front panel, which can used to mount the bulky capacitors (The one I have has ~20ml of water in it).
During my tests I’ve discovered that the electrical resistance of sparkling mineral water drops slowly (as the water loses its bubbles). I believe that this property could be used as vca of sorts. I plant to make a simple signal divider, which uses sparkling mineral water as a conductor. This signal multiplier would be useful for one-shot slowly amplifying ramps (for example adding volume). Water and electronics is a beautiful combination.
Third experiment with Epilog laser cutter went well. Not perfect still and my designs had issues too. I managed to make a 84hp long case from 7mm plywood, panels and jigs I can use for assembling modules. Working frantically. Started collecting schematics for future builds and found a really nice resource Experimentalists Anonymous DIY Archives.
Secured a set of rails to my rack to accommodate 1u tiles. Breadboard a Simple EQ / Baxandall EQ unit. Everything works but I’d like to boost the volume. The diy water-capacitor is in the making, the epoxies and insulators are taking a long time to dry. Used acrylic-paint as an insulator, got the idea from Johann Diedricks Sound Monsters workshop. Kids painted over the boards with thick paint after soldering them and the units worked fine after (the paint needs to dry).
Working as a substitute janitor for our housing-hold company.
Made a shoulder pad for my hoodie using the front of my Frenchie’s Gym cap. Looks cool. The cap was always to small for my head and it works better as a fashion joke anyway. Took a one and a half month break from gym activities due to a shoulder injury. I have a gym date on the 17th and I have just enough time to restore my gains.
Wrote a summer text for Mustekala.info Puu kaatuu metsässä – Tunnelmia Kiilan äänipäiviltä Kemiönsaarelta [Tree Falling in the Woods – Vibes from the Kiila International Sound-Days at Kemiönsaari]. An easygoing review which includes a short history of the event and an overview of all of the works presented this year. Includes some fancy casually post-humanistic sentences: “[their piece] explored constructions, which enable the production of sound in bodies, animals and other wind instruments” (concerning a performance by Ragnhild May and Kristoffer Raasted). Also summarized Yan Jun‘s from last year performance which I wrote shortly about. Got to interview Tolvi, Juho Laitinen (got a micro-lecture on art!) and Teemu Lehmusruusu for the text too.
Jesse introduced me to the concept of post-ore (jälki-malmi). He came up with the concept after spotting scum with aluminum and copper traces in the lot of an old foundry. Its a very useful concept for Ore.e Refineries. Post-Timber works too (see this crafty palindrome as a performance). We build a sauna (using post-timbre) with him in two days. Needs insulation but gives a good löyly.
Breadboarded a Microphonie (Music Thing Modular) and made a unit on perfboard too. Turns out my DC 5-24v to Dual Power 12v -12v 5v -5v 3.3v is incredibly noisy. Works ok, not as loud as I hoped and a bit noisy (most likely because of my building skills). Using a battery works cleaner. Tested it with my μZEUS too and begun to build a (water)capacitor (will be dry tomorrow).