Environmental Sensors and Sensor Networks in Media Art
Organized in collaboration with Pixelache Festival.

Dates: 7-12 march 2011
Location: Kallio + Suomenlinna

The Pixelache workshop with M.A.R.I.N. brought together artists and developers working with environmental sensors, which are either connected as a network or log their data. Marije Baalman introduced SenseStage, a sensor network developed in particular for live arts, and suitable for meshing sensors. Tapio Mäkelä introduced the M.A.R.I.N. project and discussed usage of environmental sensors, and alternative power sources. Tuomo Tammenpää presented different projects where information is turned meaningful through tangible and visual design and Mikko Sivunen supported the participants with their different Arduino configurations.

The workshop consisted of, besides presentation and dialogue, intense work with xbee radio configuration, trial and error, developing concepts as well as prototypes. Gradually, some sensors were networked, and further ideas for projects got developed. How does context of media art impact these designs vs. sensor data management in scientific environmental monitoring? There is no categorical answer, as some motivations could be shared. Yet it is obvious that scientific work with sensors is consistent and aims at stability, while in the media arts, unstable systems are more productive for sound generation, for example. Experimentation and playfulness describes well some of the ideas that came through this workshop, for instance, how to measure salinity in ice using electricity and iron nails in Baltic sea ice.

Workshop participants: Jukka Hautamaki (FI), Reha Discioglu (FI/TR), Karthik Acharya (FI/IN) Andy Best (FI), Krisjanis Rijnieks (LT), Benjamin Dromey (FI/IR), Roope Ritvos (FI), Till Bovermann (FI/GER), Ivan Henriques (BR), Jari Suominen (FI), Antti Karttunen (FI), Marianne Decoster-Taivalkoski (FI).

Workshop leaders: Marije Baalman (NL), Tapio Mäkelä (FI), Tuomo Tammenpää (FI), Mikko Sivulainen (FI).

Marije Baalman is a Dutch artist and developer who works with interaction and sound, using code and electronics. She has been part of Sense/Stage research project with Chris Salter at Concordia and McGill University in Montréal from 2007-2010 and is currently developing a Sense/Stage sensor network kit for distribution.

Tuomo Tammenpää is a designer and media artist based in Kemiö. He works with consumer and custom electronics as well as design. Tuomo is part of M.A.R.I.N. team for the summer 2011.

Mikko Sivulainen is a software and hardware developer, who co-runs a Finnish on-line shop for Arduinos and related gear called paeae.

Tapio Mäkelä is an artist and researcher working on locative media, art, ecology and information design. He is co-founder of the M.A.R.I.N. project, former director of Artist Association MUU, and programme chair of ISEA2004. His work has been shown recently at International festivals such as The AND Festival (UK), Arte Mov (BR) and ISEA2009 (UK).