20220130

Agroecology and the Survival of Cuban Socialism (2021) Aidan Ratchford offers a glimpse to how Cubas modern (monoculture) sugar farming industry was developed into a pluralistic farming praxis. Interesting to note that the development they underwent rid the country of the binary division between urban and rural.

The resilience of maintaining its socialist principles has been crucial to this experience of degrowth; only an economy which prohibits landlordism, structural inequality, and the accumulation of private wealth and means of production, can strive for genuine degrowth. In this sense degrowth as a real life experiment has necessarily a socialist character, given that the fundamental principles of capitalism are incompatible with the above. This is not to say that capitalism will not have its own “degrowth” given the threat of climate change but this “degrowth” will be the forced underconsumption of use values by the Global Poor, not Cuba’s sundering of social wealth (i.e. use values) from capitalist valuation.

Ethics & Epistemology (1998) a nice extract from a discussion exploring  the different understandings of freedom which Hegel, Engel and Marx deployed. Particularly how Engels statement “freedom is the recognition of necessity” can be understood. The analysis investigates how the thinkers approached nature and I like the definition that of our freedom can be measured by investigating how well we achieve in the projects we undertake: Ecological sustainability is freedom! The text explains that some mistakes of the Soviet Union where a result of a misfortunate process where the Second International chose to revive Hegel’s notion of freedom as an internal state which does not demand an engagement with the world. This enabled the state to limit individual freedom so that it could compete in overall productivity with capitalist societies, so that history would complete itself – Instead of deepening an investigation to what productivity, progress and history actually are.

For both Marx and Hegel human beings realise their essence through recognising themselves in the world beyond. For Hegel this takes place in the realm of the Mind, of thought, and is essentially an act of contemplation. For Marx however, it is through activity, through interaction with the external world outside themselves that human beings realise their own nature. This involves not only work, production, that is the moulding of nature to human design, but also social interaction where people recognise in each other their own selves.

The practice of the International was to submit to ‘historical necessity’ – ‘scientific’ laws that determined the movement of society – which would of their own accord pave the way for socialism. This was the opposite of Marx’s approach, who argued that the fact that social relations could be analysed scientifically, as governed by laws that acted independently of humanity, was itself precisely the state of affairs that needed to be overcome through socialist revolution.

Working towards an Arradio FM receiver module. Sourced schematics & the pcb layout and investigated the circuitry thoroughly. The Arradio hosts a sub-module from an FM radio kit which is no longer available but there seems to be an alternative to the sub-module Steckmodul mit TDA7088 which has the same components and the 70nH & 78nH inductors, which the tda7088 schematics call for are designed into the pcb. The varicap/capacitor diode 1SV101 which handles the voltage based tuning is a rare component but not completely lost yet. There is also an AM circuit which, if I understand it correctly can piggybacks on tda7088 tuning mechanism (or CD9088CB which is the same chip).

The previous schematic also shows a 33k resistors attached to the pin1 which is defined as a “mute” toggle on the chip datasheet (other sources I’ve spotted show a 10k resistor in the same arrangement). If I understand it correctly the “mute” can be understood as a channel latching mechanism, which enables the radio to lock to strong FM signals when the chips “scan” feature is used. A post by Lui Gough defines the mute as “a frequency locked loop with internal muting of weak signals”. Disabling this “tuning lock/mute” might enable a FM receiver unit build around the chip to linger in-between channels for unbeautiful static noises. I will investigate this further as I don’t actually know how the current circuitry behaves. This post offers a thorough breakdown of the chip. I know that the mute switch on the Arradio only cuts the device power input. If my experiments are successfully I will propose (Arradio developer) that that I’d update the design so that it would support the newer fm sub-module and that the submodule control & audio amplification circuit tl074 would be made using smd components.

I’d also like to change the pot and jack-in footprints to match more common components, include reverse voltage circuitry and possible switches for the “mute” and “scan” features (while reducing a hp or two).  Eventually I’d like to try building the submodule could be build straight to the pcb. Learning KiCad!

Sourced two 1SV101s and I’m hoping to test them with the mini-FM transmitter. No idea if it would work thou.

20210107

Suomalaisen kodin likaiset paikat : hygienia ja modernin asunnon muotoutuminen [The dirty spaces of Finnish homes: Hygiene and the formulation of the modern living habitat] (1998) Kirsi Saarikangas. A thorough analysis of how the current design aesthetics of Finnish homes have been formulated. Saarikangas argues that discussions on “domestic hygiene” (the spatial sergrigation of genders, placement of visitors and the emergence of the kitchen as an all white laboratory with tiled, easy to clean surfaces etc.) paved way for the broder acceptance of “racial hygiene” in Finland. In her view this is evident in architectural Functionalism, which she identifies as a (borderline) post-traumatic stress reaction to rot and decay, which people had witnesses during the wars. More on the PTSD-architecture-approach in Chatting with Architect and Neuroscientist Ann Sussman about Buildings, Streets, and Cities (2020) Kunstler.

Saarikangas builds a case that architecture and interior design serve as “tools for organizing domestic life”. The ways that spaces get divided, regulate how habitats meet, what they are allowed to see and what kinds of assemblies they can form. Citing Foucault on biopower she argues that modern architecture is about organizing and controlling bodies and to enforce “healthy” life-styles. An interesting detail is that natural light became linked with hygiene: Light baths were recommended as a remedy (“Where the sun does not shine, the doctor will come”) and it made dirt visible. Citing Julia Kristevas notes of dirt, she broadens this approach to city-planning, which is largely concerned with enforcing distances between citizens and things which are deemed unhygienic (such as animals).

Miten Saanasta tuli pyhä? Erilaisten rinnakkaisten Saana diskurssien tarkastelua [How did Saana become a sacred mountain? An analysis of parallel discourses connected with Saana.] (2019) Taarna Valtonen. A revealing analysis of discussions which emerged after a Finnish, nationalistically geared artwork was presented at the Saana mountain, which is located in the Sápmi. Valtonen argues that an emerging “transnational indigenous folk discourse” is spearheading idealistic views which link ecologically mindful practices and the appreciation of the sacredness of nature to indigenous worldviews. She argues that on occasion these generalized standpoints lead opinion forming processes more then the actions and arguments of people who inhabit particular sites and engage in particular practices.

I’ve been setting up my studio in the civil defense shelter. Currently attempting to build a telephone line between the shelter and our flat. Use old phones as an intercom article on ePanorama (Tomi Engdahl, undated 1996?) offers good hints and schematics. Sound works great using a 9v power supply and a 220Ω resistor (~25mA flows) but I haven’t gotten the ringers on the phones to work. I attached a piezo buzzer to the 3 & 5 terminals of the first unit (I’m working with Ericsson Dialog phones from the 70ties) which the schematics (found inside the phone case) designate as “Additional Ringer” inserts and an other piezo to 2 & 5 terminals of the second unit. This works well for one end but the piezo sound on the other end is very low. Really frustrating work.

Making room for future work with mini-FM transmitter stuff (Tetsuo Kogawa). Online vendors from China offer really cheep mini-FM transmitters and I’ve ordered a few to test the concept. Interestingly there are many units which offer I2C support (or serial command) which hints opportunities for developing Norns or other monome-world programmable FM receiver/transmitter modules. I should document the process so far and add inspirational entries to Modulargrid. Building a transmitter and a receiver on the same board seems very challenging. I think the variable capacitors which set the transmission/receiving FM channel affect each other.

20200916

Reread Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter (2013) Karen Barad for inspiration on my Kone foundation artistic research grant application. Getting a better grip of her approach to representationalism. The target of her critique is not the accuracy of representations which are used for conveying knowledge but that representationalist assume and advocate that entities can detach themselves from the phenomena they are making sense of. Barad reaches out to Butler who provides a practical example (using Foucault) of the effects these dynamics have on folk: “juridical systems of power produce the subjects they subsequently come to represent”.

The idea that beings exist as individuals with inherent attributes, anterior to their representation, is a metaphysical presupposition that underlies the belief in political, linguistic, and epistemological forms of representationalism. […] representationalism is the belief in the ontological distinction between representations and that which they purport to represent; in particular, that which is represented is held to be independent of all practices of representing.

Barad argues that representationalism is fueled by a Cartesian belief in the division between “internal” and “external”. She continues that folk often neglected to mention that in this division representations are “external” sources as well. I see her call for “discursive practices” (focus on performativity) as an attempt to reach past representations (because we should acknowledge that words have an impact) and to focus on the relation with the subjects we are addressing.

For all Foucault’s emphasis on the political anatomy of disciplinary power, he too fails to offer an account of the body’s historicity in which its very materiality plays an active role in the workings of power. This implicit reinscription of matter’s passivity is a mark of extant elements of representationalism that haunt his largely postrepresentationalist account.

I thinking her explanation of the “primary epistemological unit” or phenomena could be well explained with an example of the clock. A clock does not measure the progress of time, it performs the construction of the clock. More importantly the clock is a technological assembly which manifest a particular worldview. In this frame it’s interesting to think about popularity of health-monitor-smart-watches which measure the performance of the body. I believe they enforce a mechanical reading of the bodies inner workings.

I find it more easy to understand “intra-action” in Finnish then in English. In Finnish people can be said to be on the same “taajuus” (~frequency) and as I understand “intra-actions” are processes were we can witness the emergence of differences in phenomena which habit the same “taajuus”. The entire radio domain consists of simultaneously transmissions on all possible frequencies. All transmissions interfere with each other, all the time. Broadcasts cannot occur outside of the radio domain but broadcast are all different, they could be explained as folds of the same. Tuning to a fold (aka. listening to a broadcast) could be explained an “agential cut”. Yet an other cool link Tetsuo Kogawa/mini-FM transmitter stuff.

[…] the agential cut enacts a local resolution within the phenomenon of the inherent ontological indeterminacy.

Intra-actions could be useful for explaining the interconnectivity of horse-human practices. There are similarities in practices I have witnessed at different horses tables over the years but the reasoning justifying the practices are always explained differently. Each horse stable could be seen as a pocket or fold of the cultural history horses and humans share. “Agential cuts” could be used explain the anecdotal notes horse hobbyists and professionals share during horse grooming and maintenance chores. The notes stop the flow of horse-human cultural history to pin particular horses into particular relations which are performed at the particular stable.

A practical question which arises from thinking about performative posthumanism is a questioning of the common practice of mounting a horse from its left flank. Horse-skill teachers may explain that this practice is linked to chivalry traditions. Knights wore their swords on their left flank and allegedly the weight and dimensions of swords makes mounting from the left more practical. Why do we still mount the horse from the left flank? The horses are accustomed to this tradition and possibly teach people of this preference (an “agential cut” by the horse?). What will happen if we mount the animal from the right? Are we mounting a horse when we do so or an other beast?

In the first phase of my research I’m attempting to map the contradictory figure of the contemporary horse. With this I mean a snapshot of the array of performances which people execute when explaining the animals behavior and nature. My aim is to outline the model of agency which these performance inscribe to the animal and to ask for the horses feedback on it.

In summary, the universe is agential intra-activity in its becoming.

I think Barads writing manifest a hopeful view of the future, where stuff constantly emerges (there is only progress). I’m looking for the void. I feel that trauma caused by encounters with abrahamic-believe-systems which emphasize text, letters and symbols as keys by which we can reach truths, cause me to read thinkers like Barad as an authority. I can feel my artistic thinking complying to her writing. Theory seduces me into becoming an illustrator instead of an artist. Bless dyslexia, natures remedy to determinism. #ॐ

20200803

The world is a tea: The taste of water is the taste of the world. #ॐ

Digging Onyx Ashanti’s 2019 presentation for Eyeo festival. He wants to turn computerizing into a spatial and temporal activity. As an interface he focuses on hands, because “they do stuff before asking the brain”. He echoes a believe that humans can be programmed trough the hand-interface: The tools we use shape the way we think. I believe there is truth to this. I feel rejuvenated after working with crafts projects or construction. I think writing is a development of our desire to do thinking with our hands. Ashanti’s interest on hands has a solid connection to Tetsuo Kogawa/mini-FM transmitter stuff (mentioned earlier) as both artists are using gesture-based wireless systems.

LOW←TECH MAGAZINE is operated from a solar powered server. Access to the site is depended on weather! The design of site is perfect: Brutal and bandwidth efficient. The premise of the design is the same as with our Ore.e Ref. website (notes on the design here) but the LOW←TECH implementation of image dithering and coding optimization is way more advanced. Their design premise: “Default typeface / No logo” is elegant and they also offer “print-on-demand copies of the blog.”

The Internet is not an autonomous being. Its growing energy use is the consequence of actual decisions made by software developers, web designers, marketing departments, publishers and internet users. With a lightweight, off-the-grid solar-powered website, we want to show that other decisions can be made.

Installed an alternative firmware (Beta3) by Ralim to my ts80p soldering iron. Sending bug/testing notes to the [Long] TS80P Thread development channel. Soldering iron with an alternative firmware and a development community feels like the pinnacle of modernity.

Visited the Makamik squat for the Makamik-fest. The artist lineup was great and there were gigs and performances for three consecutive days. I heard a few gigs on Saturday and visited Salla Valle’s performance on Sunday. Valle worked outdoors and focused on smoke. She hid in the grass and send smoke signals by vaping, then she attempted to store smoke in jars (critique on live-art archivism?) and played a ringtone/mating call mixtape.

We had our final Achille Mbembe reading group session last week. The process was well organized and I enjoyed meeting new people. As a side quest, we met with the Helsinki based group, at the Malmi cemetery for a necro-touristic tour. I escorted folk to the pear-tree garden, a concrete-fence-stage and a relocated mass grave. The visit ended at the discarded gravestone disposal facility, where we saw old gravestones which had been grinded into rubble. Some fragments of letters and numbers could still be identified. The rubble pile felt like a monument and a very fitting summary for the Mbembe reading group sessions: Rubble mesh of identity signs which is used for construction and the underpayment of roads.

20200531

Muzak: On Functional Music and Power (1992) Simon C. Jones & Thomas G. Schumacher. A straight to the bones text on the ideology of functional music. The text offers a good overview on how Muzak is designed and how it effects people who are subjected to it. There are even some statistics on how it effects worker efficiency.

For Adorno, one of the functions of popular music was to distract workers from the monotony of increasingly rationalized and mechanized work. It treated the symptoms of alienation and subordination, alleviating boredom and fatigue but without removing their causes. Popular music was, in the end, little more than “social cement,” reinforcing existing social relations and power structures – entertainment as containment […] The stylistic regularity and harmonic simplicity of Muzak suggests a secure, private, domestic world that signifies the comfort and security of home in terms of a particular, bourgeois conception of domestic well-being. Its aim is precisely to make one “feel at home” whether in an office, factory or airplane.

I remember reading that Muzak is used in shopping-centers to make the violent experience of moving with an elevator from a level of where fur-hats are sold to the floor where butchered meat is sold more coherent. Muzak removes the post- from modern. A contemporary application of the text would be a critique of ambient-music and earphone-culture as processes were individual wellbeing is build by enforcing technologically segregated private spaces. With the emphasis on audio quality as a class signifier: Headphones which boost bass tones are deemed working class. Interestingly personalized ambient spaces are disseminated into public trough shared curated playlists.

A trajectory from Muzak, 90ties World Music, Vaporwave (which I recognize Skweee as) to Ambient would be interesting to explore. I think each genre responds to political detachement and cynicism. New march-music for the welfare state can be sought from: How to Kill a Zombie: Strategizing the End of Neoliberalism (2013) Mark Fisher.

Neoliberalism consolidated the discrediting of state socialism, establishing a vision of history in which it laid claim to the future and consigned the left to obsolescence. It captured the discontent with centralized bureacratic leftism, successfully absorbing and metabolizing the desires for freedom and autonomy that had emerged in the wake of the 60s. But – and this is a crucial point – this isn’t to say that those desires inevitably and necessarily led to the rise of neoliberalism. Rather, we can see the success of neoliberalism as a symptom of the leftist failure to adequately respond to these new desires.

Made a Manhattan style PCB for a FM transmitter. I used a LM7809 to stabilize the power input and even without an antenna the unit can cover our flat! The sound is really good and quirky. Bass tones etc. get broadcasted well and when I wave my hand over a receiver other FM broadcasts seep to the same channel. This emphasizes the pocket-like-folds the mini-FM makes to the radio space (which Kogawa’s texts underline). Interestingly when I broadcast simple waves in close proximity of a FM receiver and boost the volume of the transmission the sound feels like a wavefolder. Couldn’t get the Charles Kitchin FM receiver to work yet. It might be that the J113 is not a perfect replacement for the MPF102 or my coils are missaligned. Found a detailed tutorial on how to build the unit Radio Shack Special (2008) by braincambre500 and I’ll retry the build. Also sourced parts for The Simplest FM Receiver by Miomir Filipovic which uses two transistors and only one coil. Fitting the transmitter and received on the same PCB will be challenging as the Kogawa transmitter is so powerful. I might have to add a switch to the eurorack design to toggle the unit to work either as a transmitter or a receiver… I also think that the tuning capacitors should be lifted from the ground somehow. Cleared my workbench and I’ll try to build a working unit this summer.

ARRADIO by n³ is a CV controllable FM radio module, which works like I would like. I might be able to figure out the radio module (its build around a TDA7088). The CV input option is something I want to implement too.

gnsk has build a Radio Sender radio transmitter in Eurorack format assemblage. Nice and simple. The builder is using it for feedback loops.

RF Nomad by Evaton Technologies tunes to frequencies from approximately 9.6 to 10 MHz and decodes the audio as single sideband they also offer a AModulator SDIY companion module which can encode audio inputs into a amplitude modulated RF signal (implementing the send&receive dynamic I’m working towards).

ADDAC102 VC FM Radio (~300€) affords channel seek using CV and it can find channels automatically. I really like the stereo implementation! My FM received module could have stereo output too (and a summed output). I imagine this can great nice phaser-like sounds.

RADIO by ST modular is an analog FM RADIO with an automatic channel-search functionality. It is based on a BK1068 FM radio IC.

FM Radio vox is a clever add-on for the Polarix Extensible Modular Yabber which offers a good interface for radio (not sure how fast it’s for tuning channels thou).

BEATS FM is a FM radio built into an instrument by xaudiosystems. It has a filter and a delay effect for audio mangling and the receiver frequency is CV tunable.

While not a module (yet) a 74xx-defined radio (2021) a c i d b o u r b o n offers notes AMD schematics for the development of an oscillator controlled radio receiver.