20200719

Assisted Riikka Kuoppala with her Vegan & Legal service yesterday. I offered mineral waters and chatted people up as her assistant. We worked in the Dallapé park and at Harjutori. I had fun and got an insight to Kuoppala’s project. I think, as an artwork Vegan & Legal is great for illustrating the technical and esthetic framework law is embedded to. The default look of law is gray and masculine.

Witnessing Riikka talk about law in a public park, wearing plain clothes and offering legal guidance, while serving kombucha felt oddly disturbing. This is because I’m not used to see law discussed in a comfortable setting and I’m not used to sympathize with people who work with it. All my dealings with law have been oppressive and violently bureaucratic. I hate everything about it, from the architecture of courts, all the way down to the the ugly sandwiches they serve in cafeterias.

On a practical level it was heart-warming to see Riikka offer legal guidance for free. Some had reserved a session and send her detailed questions to look up in advance. I think Vegan & Legal succeeds in making law more accessible and I hope this will encourage people working with law to work more publicly in the future.

20200713

Kukonmäen lähde (Rooster Hill Spring) an ancient site with a natural spring, cup-stones (Kuppikivi) in the proximity and the spring water is deemed undrinkable (which makes it all the more exiting). The spring has a concrete support (possibly build in the 30ties as it does not have a steel support) and willow in it’s proximity. The spring was renovated in 2009 by the self-organized Maarian Allas Association. In the renovation they removed a staircase which lead to the water and build a fence around the spring (to keep animals out of the water). Members of the association have organized Saint Lawrence day (10.8) harvest-celebration events at the site. Turku Museum Center has designated the spring as ancient and dated the site over 5000 year old. Planning a mineral water excursion with New Performance Turku.

A short history on sparking waters in Helsinki: Vadelmalimonaadia ja seltterivettä [Raspberry lemonade and Seltzer water] (2014) Kati Selänniemi. Pharmacists Edward Forsberg established the first sparkling water factory at Erottajankatu 4 in 1854. His venture expanded in 1865 as he was joined by seven pharmacists, who established the Apteekkarien Kivennäisvesitehdas Oy [Pharmasists Mineral Water Factory]. Around that time they started working with a some sort of carbonation technology which allowed them to produce artificial mineral waters. Here is a cute advert for their products and services. They also produced sparking wines, lemon sodas and offered sparkling water bathing treatments. According to this source (a collector of porcelain bottle caps) Apteekkarien Kivennäisvesitehdas was operation until 1959.

According to a 2020 article in Helsingin Sanomat (Pauli Jokinen), mineral waters were sold in kiosks as the water of the city wells was a health hazard. Most of the kiosks mentioned in the text are located around the city center boulevard and aimed for city bourgeoisie (I think this is why drinking bottled water is still considered fancy). If I understand it correctly, mineral waters were imported from abroad because they were safer to drink then local waters. When pharmacists learned how to manufacture them artificially they begun producing them from distilled water locally. Some of the waters in an old menu (provided by the Helsinki City Museum archives ) refer (or are from?) geological springs around Europe (Aachener, Emser, Pyrmonter, Selters, Vichy).

Apparently there was a sparking water boom. They were associated with bath-houses, bathing culture and sold as remedies for different heath concerns. Myths of fountains with healing properties were commercialized early on. Fredrik Berndtson’s 1845 book Helsingfors för Resande, i synnerhet Bad- och Brunnsgäster (available in a library in Sweden) offers guidelines and recipes on how to treat oneself with water.

Mineral waters in Tampere share a similar history.

20200514

Alkovi published an interview were we discuss the work I’ve been doing related to the In Various Stages of Ruins -project. The questions were send beforehand and the interview is conducted by Miina Hujala and video edited by Arttu Merimaa. Mineral waters are mentioned and views to the wild springs we found shared. The format is interesting, Miina is scrolling the screen vertically, the timeline is progressing horizontally and to read the longer parts one needs to pause the movement.

Konsthall C made an announcement for next weeks Mineral Water Sommelier Hotline performance. Build three piezo-amplifiers and seriously sourcing a sound card for the live stream.

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.

20200413

Build a TrAniModule amplifier/speaker using a PCB from the designer. I mounted it to a wooden panel, fitted it with a 1.5W speaker and added it to my Water Lab rack on modular grid. Sounds great, has a nice distortion and the module design is very versatile. My build is featured on the Animodule Facebook page and nicely titled a “gorgeous customer build DIY”.

Next I plan to build three piezo amplifiers in 1u size PCBs which I can mount to a 3u panel if needed. They will be used to amplify the sounds of sparkling water in upcoming mineral performances. Also sourced components for a 1u wavefolder and a MMI USBpower build.