20200328

Build a 1u slew limiter following schematics from Synovatron Limited. Added a switch to toggle between 1uF and 100nF capacitors for adjusting the max slew time from 1s to over 5s (added it to modulargrid). Also build a 1u inverter following tips found on mw-forum. As suggested it is needed to make the Variable Slope VCF resonate, it produces umbfy-bass tones. Acquired a Foxfield Averter 1u kit to learn SMT and a Animodule TrAniModule PCB to complete a speaker module build I made a faceplate for in the autumn. I can also use it to boost the volume of some of my quiet modules. I think it is time to start designing a 7u 104hp case!

I’m drafting a five year project grant application for Taike and send out a spicy proposal for the controversial Kone Home Residency call. The tone of the open call is criticized heavily in Freelancer on poikkeustilan asiantuntija [Freelancer is a specialist of disaster] (2020) Maaria Ylikangas. Ylikangas explains that the Coronavirus should not be framed as an opportunity to develop as an artist, it is a tragedy and shows how unjust the precariats relationship to capitals is.

20200308

Labour of the Artist, Feminist Practices and Troubles with the Infrastructure (2019) Bojana Kunst. Citing Isabell Lorey, Kunst argues that people are governed by precarity and that a constant state of self-organizing is drawing resources from our potential to organize collectively. In other words: Precarity hinders possibilities to imagine political continuity. She argues that precarity is structured or enforced by the infrastructure of our cities and states that the activities of urban feminist artists and collectives in the 70ties were a response to a collapse of welfare infrastructure (in her view infrastructure becomes visible only when it is in crisis). Kunst builds a case that many leftist artistic movements which desire to repair infrastructure end-up reproducing its problems. It’s not beneficial to cling on to good feelings which responding to symptoms of infrastructural collapse provide. More effort should be put in problematizing conditions cause its hindrance. Unfortunately struggle for a future has been replaced by a struggle of maintaining life in contemporary cities.

Visited Makamik squat but came too late for the support gigs. Felt like a warm community and I hope to visit it again. The last set had a lot of modular synth gear on stage. Feels weird to see modular synths at a squat: There is a mismatch between the affordability of the gear and the accessibility of the site. But modular synths in a squat make complete sense on a conceptually! Also I think gaining skills in diy electronics could easily be scaled to skills in working with the house electricity systems.

The state of economics can be measured from the temperature of elderly world leaders. #☭

20200214

The Mazizone local network archive I’ve been setting up for my Raspi3+ is stable and working well. I have occasional problems connecting to it and I need to “forget” the network to reset certificates. But this only happens when I’m login in and out intensively for tweaks & edits. The device reboots daily to prevent these kinds of clogs. I haven’t gotten Gammu (to produce daily status updates via sms) working but with the reboot cycle enabled I’m confident that the device will run well enough.

I build the sound archive using wordpress and it looks fresh. Using wordpress in Mazi causes issues with the network url but this is manageable (it redirects visitors to portal.mazizone.eu which is ok for me). I’m now planning to build a funky case for the device and to make an inviting sign which will guide visitors to the network and archive. While making the website I got the idea of using ornamental patterns as illustrations. I also used ornaments in the eurorack case I build for the trip. When I was designing the case I tough the Byzantine style decorations as a reference to early natural sciences (which my work on mineral waters touches). This spawned the idea to add ornamental figures to the thumbnails of the sound files in the archive.

Each sound file (53) has a unique photo assigned to it. The photos set a mood for the content and give a hint of the sound. Photos were shot during our train trip by Iona Roisin, Elina Vainio and Miina Hujala. On top of each photo is a layer of different ornamental shapes. They twirl around the thumbnail corners and interact with things and people in the images. I’ve used Kid3 to add the images to the .wav files. If I’ve understood correctly .wav’s don’t have thumbnails but Kid3 manages to embed the data anyway. The default wordpress media playlist widget can source the images from the files and display them next to the track info.

Now there are ornaments everywhere!

I like over the top ornaments which have an abundance of detail. In Russia I can spot them everywhere. They are used in architecture (Corinthian pedestals and window frames), street lamps, fonts, advertisements, jewelry and clothes. Sometimes the patterns look familiar. Shapes I’ve seen in Russia appear to fuse Byzantine style decorations with folk ornaments I worked with during my carpentry studies. I can recognize a patterns being identical to a traditional woodcarving I’ve seen in Finland. Pirtanauhat and kauluslaudat are good examples.

I guess ornaments appeal to me because they link traditional Finnish crafts with Byzantine history and even contemporary Islamic and Arabic cultures. We visited a folk culture museum in Kazan and many of the Islamic artifacts in the collection looked similar stuff I’ve seen in Finnish folk culture museums (particularly the wooden objects). Some of the clothes looked like something my mother would want to wear. Styles I link to Bedouin folk gowns that are decorated with coins, felt really similar to Russian military uniforms which are decorated with medallions.

The ornaments I’m using for the archive and the thumbnails remind me of weeds. I think they link the archive to “ruins” which Miina is interested in. I think ornaments should be read as celebration of decay. They simulate nonhuman futures by imagening how plant life will take over architecture. They feel like archaic glitch art! Sometimes ornaments in clothes look like roots or blood vessels. I think Scandinavian design aesthetic read ornaments as a vanity but if we approach them as a celebration of decay there is nothing vane in embracing them. I hate Scandinavian design because it makes me feel ashamed of my appetite for details.

Using ornaments to decorate a sound archive, which is difficult to access – Feels right and embedding weed-like ornaments inside metadata makes sense. Here is a low-resolution sample of what the archive looks like when browsed using a mobile phone.

20200128

I’m working on a Trans-Siberian Rails and Stations 2019 sound pack for Freesound.org. Currently adding descriptions and meta-data (locations & tags) to the files. I have some three hours of raw material to work trough (excluding a 40 min interview with our train steward, which I wont release unedited). Majority of the clips are 5 min long and they focus on complete work cycles (eg. break check at a station, bathing in a toilet) and ambiences from different locations (eg. restaurant wagon, cabin by night). Majority of the sounds were captured during our 180 hour return trip Vladivostok-Helsinki.

There are a some Trans-Siberian train related clips and a lot of train sounds on Freesound. Martin Sadoux has released a nice collection Russia Trans-Siberian Train in 2018. He has a good recording from the open third class wagons (which I don’t have). The collection I’m prepping will compliment previous releases well. I’m particularly proud of my recording of a break check at a station and I also collected a lot of interesting announcements. I also have some special sounds like the rattling of a samovar (using contact mics).

Miina made an interesting remark about my collection. Finnish explores of the early 20tieth century collected geological samples in hopes of tapping to natural resources and items made by other cultures or groups to develop ethnic narratives. Bringing stuff back home and displaying it for the public was an important gesture in the process of producing cultural capital for the developing Finnish state. Displaying stuff others had made here, illustrated our distance. The act of displaying stuff and material, validated the work of the explorers. Many ethnographic museums got started this way and the contemporary souvenir business echoes this.

My delight over a break-check sound, is a delight over a conquest of a rare resource. Field recordings can be identified as a geologic-like-wealth! Controlled distribution of this material makes it possible for me to harvests cultural capital. Could this process be put to good use? I don’t see hope in returning to esrek-like lisencing models. How could I share the material in a non-exploitative manner? Emphasizing movement to location: Playing the sounds in a Finnish train as the train is moving?

I’ve sometimes explained performances as condensed behavior which is informed by a site: A particular performance is only possible in a particular situation. This idea works better in Finnish: “esiintyminen” means acting, exhibiting or performing and is very close to the word “esiintymä” which means a geological deposit of ore. My condensed behavior on the Trans-Siberian railway trip made it possible to harvest documentations of events, where the train and people of the train performed in interesting ways. I was mining these event using my recorder.

Spotted interesting eurorack projects on the Freesound blog. CTAG Strämpler is a module which connects to the Freesound API and allow users to download sounds directly from the service. BeagleBoom works in the same. Really interesting and specific devices.  I’m tempted to make an eurorack module which would only play sounds of particular event. A module dedicated to playing news reels and interview covering a specific public protests or animal? YLE should make something similar for their archive.

Saw Earth (2019) Nikolaus Geyrhalter at DocPoint festival. It was a really dull film which failed in its attempt to hide the fetishization of mining equipment and wastelands. There is nothing wrong in exploring toxicities. The directors attempt to disguise their interest into a moralistic sermon was perverse.

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We dismantled the Bifi Studio exhibition last week. There were just shy of 30 visitors on the last day. I spend a lot of time listening to the rotating wood-disks being scraped with different materials. The experience informed me of rotation as a medium. Vinyl records only make sound when the disk rotates, which means that the rotation (or movement) is a part or a medium of the sound. Writing this observation as a sentence feels weird but when thinking about it at the gallery made complete sense.

I took the idea to my studio and aligned a laser to a gramophone record, so that the record grooves cast a reflection. I used my Lite2Sound PX unit to convert the reflection into sound! Here is a short proof of concept video: Laser Gramophone. My plan is to build a miniature rail track around a tree and attach the laser & Lite2Sound PX to a motorized cart which drives around the hull of the tree. This device will make a tree surface topography audible. I plan to use a wireless audio transmitter so that I can use the sound in my eurorack signal chain.

A review of the exhibition in Swedish: Konstkollen – Växternas hemliga liv, skeppsbrott och annat väsen (2020) Pontus Kyander. The text commemorates the didactic tone of the exhibition and celebrates the approach as “simple and brilliant”.

Duon bakom BIFI närmar sig musik- och ljudskapandet med fiffighet och en generöst inbjudande hållning till besökaren. De hjälper till och berättar utan att man ens behöver fråga. Det är enkelt och alldeles lysande.