NK Berlin is a planetary hub for wild experiments made with music, technology, and electronics. When you can’t be in Berlin soaking it up in person, you can explore the oddities assembled on their MySpace page. A recent workshop by Andrey Smirnov and Guy Van Belle on Theremins led to these unusual videos, playing a potted plant:

…and a bunch of bananas (footage from the Theremin Center, Moscow).

Via the Pd list, though, it seems that the next NK workshop will go somewhere else altogether: music with microorganisms. Really – you’ll need a USB microscope. It’s electronic music in a Petri dish.

I could try to explain, but I’ll leave it to the description by organizers Marc R. Dusseiller & Kaspar Koenig:


Pd in a Petri dish. Photo (CC) Marc R. Dusseiller & Kaspar Koenig.

Overview–Experimental make-workshop with multilayered outcome for people interested in sound, DIY-biology, microscopy and interaction of living microorganisms. Knowledge in physical computing, video and sound processing, electronics and puredata is welcome, but not compulsory.

Description–In this workshop the experiments will take place in close-up view of microorganisms (e.g. water bears aka tardigrades, amoebae and collected organisms from urban environments), which appears to be a world by itself. Maybe due to the scaling and the amplification of a microscope, but maybe also due to all parameters of imagination that the microcosmos provokes. Growth and behaviour of these microscopic animals remind us of our own micro-macro-development. With the image and the movement of the organisms, the participants are encouraged to collect inspiration and bridge video and sound to what they experience with these small ?"animalcules?", as termed by their first observer Leeuwenhoek in 1677.

The participants will learn how to work with the usb-microscopes and hack webcams to be used as microscopes, observe the behaviour and motion of the waterbears and other microorganisms, find sounds from the lab equipment, hack into electronic devices to integrate into bioelectronic culture devices and build habitats for the animals. Also they will discover sounds from the different instrumentation and utilities of the laboratory. Recycle and compose arrangements for Lab-visual and
Lab-sound scapes and benefit from a cross fertilization between the whole (scientific) equipment (you can bring your own too!) and an artistic metaphorical language. The outcome can be a video with a microscopic soundtrack, a living object with singing waterbears, a performance with laboratory sounds, or an openLab Hackteria installation.

Material needed–The participant should bring their own laptop/computer, a webcam with an adjustable lens and some general lab stuff they have access to. Material available various labware, glassware, petri-dishes, usb-microscopes, microorganisms, soldering stations, electronic parts,
arduinos etc..

H a c k t e r i a & l a b h a c k i n g with Marc R. Dusseiller & Kaspar koenig

Saturday 30 May – Wednesday 3 June 2009, 12.00-18.00 daily

Location: NK / ElsenStr. 52 (2.Hof) Berlin, Germany

Telephone: +49 (0)176 20626386

Course Participation fee: 100 euros

Registration is required for this workshop and can only be done via

email to: enka_nkATgmxDOTde

Please register early to ensure a place. Places are limited to 16.

I know most of you can’t make it to Berlin, but perhaps this will spawn (breed?) other ideas.

Found via the Pd mailing list.