Benjamin Freeth, Annika Haas, Prof. John Bowers (Culture Lab, Newcastle University, UK).

“Science and technology develop the unknown, not knowledge”. – Paul Virilio

Psychoheliophysics is a neologic spasm on the precipice of conceptualisation… it is semi-hollow, a semi-empty container that is ready. It awaits received meaning. Solar escape routes precipitate the future through collective modes of sensation and perception. Join us in a collective exploration of Virilio’s unknown through the creation of “Sun Tongs” – Technologies designed with the potential to couple / decouple the sun during musical creation!

Sun Tong ecologies include:

Photovoltaic Sonification & Data Logging // Satellite Data Audition // Radiotelescopes // Solar Tempest Channelling Trees // CMOS Liquid Light Synthesisers // Rechargeable Battery Capture of Light Energy and subsequent reuse in performance.

We propose a series of workshops and field trips to take place during the Piksel festival investigating notions of earth/solar connection, diy scientific instruments as tools for musical expression and expanding human creativity through the use of open source electronics (Arduino), software (Arduino IDE and Pure Data), freely available and recycled materials. The workshops will be free for participants. All materials will be free to use in the workshop / performance. Optionally, participants want to take any “Sun Tongs” they have built home they can pay for materials at cost price)

Workshop Outline

WORKSHOP 1 // Data Logging
Build open source data loggers using atmel chipsets programmed using the Arduino IDE. Examine open source libraries. Explore data log files. Explore techniques for the conversion of data logs to sound using Pure Data.

WORKSHOP 2 // Field Trip

  • Explore solar data in two forms:
  • Real time – explore the uses of photovoltaic cells and photovoltaic materials.

  • Deploying data loggers built during the previous session in the field and using the logs to examine data over a longer period of time.

    WORKSHOP 3 // Online Data Sets
    Explore data available online and construct musical instruments to transmogrify and sonify this data. Typical transmogrifications include transforming textual data into light and then in turn converting light into sound.

    WORKSHOP 4 // Performance Demonstration
    Rehearsal, preparation. Share the findings and constructed instruments as a performance demonstration as part of Piksel.


    To book a place please contact Ben Freeth: