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In the summer 2020 Catch invited artists, designers, musicians, technologists and other creative minds to join our Summer Camp – Soft Circuits, led by creative technologist, writer and artist Mirabelle Jones. No coding, electronics or previous microcontroller experience is needed.
When we think about hardware we think about wires, fibreglass, plastic enclosures and metal. But what if hardware was a little more soft? Catch summer camp lets you explore the exciting, rapidly developing world of soft circuits and creative computing, including a look at conductive embroidery and e-textiles. Mirabelle Jones will introduce you to some amazing artists working at the intersection of art and technology, sharing creations such as wearables, products, and installations built using the same tools, techniques and materials we’ll be exploring in the workshop to give you the inspiration to create your own projects during our camp. All you need to participate is your own fabric and creative ideas!
During the camp, you learned how to work with microcontrollers, sound, LEDs, sensors and actuators. Mirabelle introduced participants to the Circuit Playground: a microcontroller with endless application possibilities such as light animations, sensors for detecting motion, temperature and brightness, buttons and slide switches, a piezo speaker, and a microphone. You will learn how to write basic programs in C++ code to control inputs and outs and build up your own interactive projects.
The summer camp was for adults; artists, designers, technologists and creatives who wish to get inspiration on how to approach physical computing in an artistic way using wearable technology, conductive embroidery and e-textiles and wish for guidance on where to start when exploring the vast world of technology projects. Because the summer camp was hands-on and focused on learning through practice, the summer camp accommodated both beginners and intermediates in their technological and artistic practices.
Other than creating a space to explore the world of creative electronics, this summer camp was an opportunity to expand your artistic network and meet new people from the artistic community. The camp also hosted an afternoon session with artist and technologist Helen Leigh who talked about her practice and projects with electronic embroidery and wearables and gave a short workshop. This was followed by a round table discussion about artistic and design practices within technology. The joint discussion was facilitated by Majken Overgaard who is the program manager at Catch and Deborah Hustic Artistic Director at Radiona who is also hosting a summer camp in Croatia at the same time as part of the European network Feral Labs.
The camp culminated in an exhibition of the work produced during the camp, where participants were encouraged to share their design and development processes including insights and plans for future advancements.

//About Mirabelle Jones 

Mirabelle Jones is a creative technologist, writer and interactive artist focused on the development of future storytelling technologies. In their practice, they design and develop immersive art experiences, biofeedback wearables, mixed reality sculptures, and interactive “readable” objects. They possess an MFA in Book Art and Creative Writing from Mills College and have most recently been featured at the Museum Meermanno, the Center for Performance Arts Research, and the Finnish National Opera and Ballet’s Opera Beyond competition. Their works are featured in numerous collections including the One National Archives (the largest LGBT archive in the world) and the Center on Contemporary Art’s historic Women’s March on Washington collection. They are a regular guest at some of the top arts institutions in the United States including the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Maryland Institute College of the Arts. Previously, they served as the Senior Designer Developer for the award-winning arts entertainment company Meow Wolf. Originally from Oakland, California, they are now based in Copenhagen. 

//About Helen Leigh

Helen Leigh is a creative technologist who specialises in music technologies, craft-based electronics and education. She is the author of The Crafty Kid’s Guide to DIY Electronics and has written for Make, Hackspace Magazine and Hackaday. Outside of her writing, much of her work involves designing and making musical instruments, from interactive art installations to mainstream commercial products. Helen lectures at graduate and post-graduate level on physical computing, electronics, music technologies and wearables in London and Berlin.

//About Radiona

Radiona – Zagreb Makerspace – Association for Development of ‘do-it-yourself’ Culture founded in 2011 in order to enhance the visibility of makers’ open source culture and self sustainable production, as well as with an aim of connecting all possible fields of art, science and technology, more precisely STEAM fields (Science/Technology/Engineering/Art/Mathematics). The objective here is to create new realities of networked and collaborative intermedia and new media practices in line with DIY (do-it-yourself) and DIWO (do-it-with-others) cultures. The makerspace is developing interdisciplinary and innovative projects with an emphasis on community building, participation, cohesion, knowledge transfer and co-creation.

Tuesday 18. August, CATCH 10pm – 15pm
Introduction to artist Mirabelle Jones
Inspiration (other works, artists, technologies)
Workshop: Introduction to microcontrollers, trying out different ideas
Wednesday 19. August, CATCH 10pm – 15pm
Workshop: conductivity and circuits, wearables/e-textiles
Thursday 20. August, CATCH 10pm – 16:30pm
Workshop: going further with inputs and outputs: LED animations, accelerometers, servos, sound (mic as input / piezo as output)
Afternoon session with Helen Leigh, Deborah Hustic and Majken
Overgaard (artisk talk by Helen followed by round table discussion about artistic and design practices within technology)
Friday 21. August, CATCH 10pm – 15pm
Working with own projects
Saturday 22. August, CATCH 12pm – 16pm
Meetup and Exhibition (presentation of projects)
The summer camp was co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union for being part of the Feral Labs Network.
Helen Leigh online artist talk, at Catch Summer Camp 2020 ‘Soft Circuits’: