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  1. 2020 | Winter Demo Day/

Electronics for Artists

Electronics for Artists

The course introduces the use of electronics and physical computing as a creative medium in the field of new media art. It covers some basic electronic concepts and theory, various analog circuits, prototyping your own circuits, microcontroller programming, and the basics of PCB design. A critical insight into maker culture and the environmental impact of the electronics industry is introduced through readings, discussions, and examples.

Anna Bernal: The Shiest Pearl on Earth

The shiest pearl on Earth is so shy that it shuts itself if you approach it. It was discovered by Ania Bernal at the shore of Eläintarhanlahti in November, 2020.

Francesca Bogani Amadori: Dgtl-Shows / Objt-Hides

Digital media grants fast consumption and overexposure of intimate and private affairs. But what happens when digital becomes tangible and that that is normally temporary lingers?

This box captured the digital moment in the physical world by giving it a solid and permanent presence; the image behaves differently from how it did, avoiding total overexposure but still seeking, vaguely, attention from passers-by.

Simon Fankhauser: A Synth to Grow Up With

During the concept phase of this project, I was thinking about my nephew and godson who are both around the age of two. I planned to build a toy/tool that could accompany them while they grow up and at the same time allow them to learn something new. So here is the idea that I came up with:

A box with capacitive sensors that has basic components of a simple FM-synthesizer. It allows a child to grow up learning the basics of sound synthesis as opposed to the more common approach of learning a classical instrument and music theory. At a younger age, they would simply be able to play around and develop an ear for frequencies and timbres. When they grow older, they can plug the synth to a computer and use it as a source of sound for further processing. The synth box consists of the following elements:

  • 12 x Capacitive sensors that represent 12 semitones of an octave
  • 1 x Low-pass filter
  • 1 x Potentiometer for the frequency of the modulator oscillator
  • 1 x Potentiometer for the modulation amount of the modulator oscillator
  • 1 x Potentiometer for the delay time
  • 1 x Potentiometer for volume control
  • 1 x Bend sensor for the wet and room size signal of a reverb
  • 1 x Bend sensor for the delay feedback
  • 2 x Capacitive sensors for the increase or decrease of attack time- (amplitude envelope)
  • 2 x Capacitive sensors for the increase or decrease of release time- (amplitude envelope)
  • 1 x Audio line output 6.3 plug
  • 1 x Loudspeaker for direct audio playback
  • All elements of the synth are programmed in Pure Dada, running on a Bela board.

Qianyu Fang: Listen, It’s Helsinki

When you leave a city, what remains in your mind?

Last year, I spent five months in Helsinki and then came back to my home country. Oneday I accidentally saw a video in Helsinki metro; those “beep” warning sound, cracking sound between train and track, Finnish and Swedish broadcasting bring my memory back to Helsinki. It reminds me I used to go to school by metro; I fell asleep there and missed the station; and, when the first time I took the metro, I was holding a ticket and wondering why there was no one to check it, etc.

This project was based on the feeling I had when memory was raised by sound in a certain location. Thus, I want to create different sound memories in different locations or situations of Helsinki, hopefully, to open other people’s minds who ever have any memory in Helsinki. In this project, I chose seven cases: Central Railway Station, Oodi library, Linnanmäki amusement park, Suomenlinna, metro, Helsinki Cathedral and Torille. Each one has a corresponding illustration and is attached to one capacity sensor. Sounds are pre-recorded and will play once the current over the threshold, in this case, when a user’s hand close enough to a capacity sensor.

Aurora Frestadius: Huggable LED Tardigrade

The Huggable LEDigrade is a soft sculpture with capacitive sensors and LEDs that change from fading in and out to a nice magenta hue when touched. Due to the current pandemic I’ve felt a bit lonely throughout the Autumn. This feeling evoked the idea to make something that would react to human touch and thus give its owner company.

One of my main goals on this project was to get my first experiences designing and making something that combines textile and electronics. When I’m working with textiles I want to use recycled materials so I made the LEDigrade with old bed sheets that I found at my Grandmother’s house a year ago.

Hannu Ikola: Making a portable 7.1 audio player based on Tsunami Super WAV Trigger

I was looking for a portable, standalone solution for multichannel audio player replacing a laptop in my sound installations. I found Tsunami Super WAV Trigger by Robertsonics, which is a board capable of triggering audio files and playing 5.1 or 7.1 pieces. I designed an enclosure for the board and additional features I needed including 8 individual XLR outputs, 2 inputs, MIDI in/out, serial port connectors and trigger switch. The work included selecting electronic components and professional audio connectors, soldering them together, designing the interface and laser cutting the enclosure. The final product will be used in a SAMA sound art project (SIBA / TEAK) in February 2021.

Eerika Jalasaho: Breathe With Me

The work is an interactive, kinetic sculpture made of synthetic fur inspired by relationship and symbiosis between humans and companion animals. We create a common rhythm with the ones we share our lives with.

Aesthetics of a movement and questions of organic and synthetic, natural and human-made has affected the form of the piece.

My relationship with my dog has been life-changing for me. The relationship was not an easy one in the beginning yet the most rewarding. Once when she was just having a nap I watched her for a long time and felt deeply happy and comforted by the movement of her tummy when she was breathing in and out. Since then and before that I have been exploring the relationship between animals and humans which I find very controversial, difficult and unsustainable. Although, still very animal. My attempt is also to bring up questions about naturality, organic and human-made. Where does the distinction is? Why is there such a strong aesthetic dichotomy between them? Why do we seek the natural when we cannot accept and take care of nature itself?

Henry Lämsä: The Student

“They are stressed, let them be”

The creature, named Student, is a highly sensitive and stressed being living in the Finnish wilderness. By far you can hear it repeating the phrase “Everything is ok” to itself while making calming sounds. But if you get too close the creature reveals its stress level in colors and keeps on shouting “No!” until you leave it be.

Dann Mensah: MIDI Visuals

For this project, I wanted to explore the video generating capabilities of microcontrollers. The end result was a device that creates visuals for music. The visuals are completely generated by the Teensy board, and the generation algorithms are controlled using MIDI signals. As a case example, I used the Ableton Live DAW to quickly create visuals to the tune of bel_air.obj by Eero Johannes.

Eero Pitkänen: Music for 3 Small Solenoids and 2 Servo Motors

As I have background as an electronic musician and I’ve played drums since I was a kid, I would really enjoy exploring possibilities in having simple digital patterns (MIDI / drum sequences) but output in analog form, like solenoids drumming different materials. I really enjoy sound of woodblocks, so maybe could try making small lasercut plywood percussive boxes that could be excited with solenoids that have wooden pearl “mallet” heads

Also would love to not have it uni-directional, instead of just MIDI-driving the solenoids, maybe have piezo-elements that could also record input from users, for “jamming” with the percussion bot. I already experimented a bit with servo motors, but it seems like solenoids would be the best solution for accurately timed rhythms.

Konsta Polkutie: Mario Bros for Two

In this project and in the electronic for the artists course I wanted to discover ways to transform something familiar to unfamiliar. In this project, my interpretation of unfamiliar is completed by changing the scale of the iconic NES controller. Scaling up the controller gave a new co-operative depth to the Super Mario Bros gameplay. Instead of exhibition the controller ended up into the livestream.

Juan Qin: The Pillow Project

Look at it, touch it, listen to it, close your eyes, and have a good sleep.

For a very long time, I have been experiencing an addiction to viewing and listening to ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) related content on the internet. Almost every evening, the last thing I will do to put myself to sleep is watching some eating audio and visual content. Seams like this have become the cure for my sleeping issues.

The Pillow Project is an interactive, wearable installation piece with sounds that are triggered by human body movement. The bigger the body moves the louder the sound is. In contrast to that, the smaller the body moves the lower the sound becomes. The sound will gradually fade out when people stay still and fall asleep.

The usage of the sound takes inspiration from the strange internet phenomenon on the internet: ASMR addiction. The sound samples are from 8Dio, recomposed by me with adding some self enjoyed sound elements, for example, the deep whispering, rubbing the plastic paper, slowly shaking a water bottle, squeezing the air out of a milk bottle, etc

Lari Tarvainen: The Window

In my project I wanted to bring back a part of my childhood. The Window is a piece made by my father in 1978, it worked last time over 30 years ago. With his blessing I was able to modify the original piece to a working state. Enhanced with technology available for us today, The Window takes the viewer in to a ominous summer storm.

Dinan Yan: Loop the Chop

In this project, I built a looping system inside a 3D-printed box and used it to record and playback the chopping sound on a cutting board in real-time.

The interaction with the cutting board when preparing the food is usually humdrum because of the repetitive chopping movement. The objective of this project is to make users enjoy the fun and beauty of beats while cutting food materials, whether they have drum background or not.

The hardware of the looping box includes a microphone, a foot pedal, a NeoPixel Ring and Teensy 4.0 with audio shield.

The first loop starts to record when the foot pedal is pressed and ends recording when users step on the pedal again. The loop length would always be the same after the first layer, which means the recording of other layers would end automatically without pressing the pedal. The NeoPixel tracks the timing of the loop. When users press the pedal in the middle of playback to add another layer, it would wait until the beginning of the loop to record. There is no maximum of layers.