muscle powered sound synthesis


In this workshop, held in the Slovenian mountains, we converted hand-crank-powered flashlights to off-grid sound machines. What could be the hurdy-gurdy of a post-apocalyptic world, was built from used electric torches and scrapped electronics. The outcomes of this endeavor were situated anywhere between musical instruments and ritualistic artifacts of cacophony.

When playing those instruments, the movement of the hand directly translates to the voltage the synthesizer receives, enabling the musician to explore soundscapes at the fringe of a working circuit.

The project imagines a world without batteries, where hand-held devices only receive power generated in situ. The landscape of Soča Valley, where PIF camp 2021 was held, allowed the participants to create interactive sculptures drawing from imagined circumstances far off from urban life.

The concluding ritual started with the following words:

Over 100 years have passed since what we call “The Great Flush”. Humanity got flushed and decreased itself to none. Well, not entirely. A small group of people endured and maintained their cycles through resilience, mutual aid, the resources of the past, and a few workshops. They sustain themselves through circulating stories and mantras in their music: the crank core. They thrive on past material from past users, utilizing the stories bound to the objects through scratches and malfunctions. They transform old objects into monstrances, ostensories, vessels of noise. The names of the original users still remain on the tools: Familie Malits, Klaus L., TW, Sharon E., Beate, RimaXL, Muzaffer T., Privat, Werner Wichtig, Elite Tuning, Ef, Privater Anbieter.

Thanks to all the participants for delving into the topic of muscle-powered sound synthesis with me.

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Photography by Katja Golgjat

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