Smokers de-light

Silly puns aside, in this weeks “finally I got around to getting that done!” category, we find some images I took last year but haven’t put up anywhere. It’s a bunch of pictures of people smoking e-cigarettes, which make for some demonic-looking faces. The first one I did was a self-portrait, and the rest came about when visiting mom for Christmas. I would have had more pictures if it hadn’t been for the break-in when I lost my laptop, but there you go.

I also took some time to learn the Koken CMS which I installed last summer, and it’s a brilliant piece of software. It takes a while to learn the quirks and come up with a logical yet resilient navigation system, but seeing as my site never had that much traffic to begin with I don’t think I’ll traumatise too many people by doing live experimenting.

Curating a site is even harden than writing an artist statement. Breaking with convention, I’ve not written about myself in third person as is the custom, and I’m curious to see how I come across when I mix personal art projects with commissioned works and folio stuff. It might end up just being a mediocre mush instead of a streamlined persona, but I’m hoping that by adding most of my production to the site I’ll come to some realisation about what in the world it is that I’m doing with my time. After all, if I’m supposed to be a professional dilettante, this ought to be apparent in my production, and the thread weaving my carpet of doing might go all over the place but at least ought not break.

You can find the site at, and it’s supposed to play well with iOS as well as Android tablets. Let me know of any kinks. There are only two albums up at the moment, and the one with this weeks pictures are in the Alight album.

Blood! Blood! It’s blood!

For the past couple of years I’ve intermittently tried to acquire a proper microscope, but those I’ve found have either been too expensive or too crappy. Apparently medical researchers have money for equipment, which is priced accordingly. Also, I guess there might be more to it than throwing glass and cast iron together

Since I’m nowadays working as a technician at Akademin Valand, I occasionally hunt the basement to see if there aren’t any technical treasures lurking somewhere. I’d heard that the uni used to have a hologram creation machine, and once I found it there was a microscope right next to it. How neat! It’s a Nikon Optiphot, and I’ve been spending after-work hours trying to get it assembled.

As far as I can tell, it’s more or less complete, but lacking any adapter for a digital camera. Since I have a bunch of dead laptops lying about I’m thinking of stripping the built-in camera out and 3d-print an adapter to stick on top of the scope. Ideally I’d use a DSLR or even one of the Hasselblad bodies on top, so the past week I’ve done an inventory of all the accessories I could find to see if I have anything useful.

For now the only thing for my troubles are two blurry cellphone photos. In the name of science I cut myself and looked at blood; the larger image below are my red blood cells! How cool is that? In addition to a proper camera mount, I need to learn how to calibrate and use the microscope — all manuals I’ve found are geared towards people who know what result they ought to get, so I’m floundering even when I try to follow along. Luckily, it turns out that a colleague at work has a physics doctorate and knows a lot about microscopes, so there’s a chance I’ll get to learn how to use it properly!

Concurrent with my minuscule tinkering, I’m taking an astronomy course at the university (free higher education, hell yeah!) which is likewise rooted in an ambition to find out how things work. Not until now did I realise that all heavy elements in the universe have been created in stars long gone, and having a broad understanding of earths history makes looking at things in the microscope so much more rewarding; You sort of get a bigger perspective, and it’s fascinating.

Also, the Foldscope seems like an worthwhile endevour, and in addition to using the “proper” microscope, this might be a good project to try out. It really goes to the core of what’s driving my ambition regarding microscopy — let’s see if it delivers.

Our intent is to engage a broad group of people to collectively generate the “world’s most awesome biology manual” which is written from the context of open questions instead of historical discoveries. The goal is to bring together a broad range of members from different communities, context, countries and skill level. To participate in the experiment, you will commit to documenting one single experiment (or series) which can be replicated by anybody in the world with access to a Foldscope or other microscopy platform.

→ Foldscope: Microscopy for everyone

Preface: The Suffering

As a teenager I would listen to Frispel, which was broadcasted on P3 Sunday evenings. It was a pre-taped one hour experimental show, mixing fact and fiction, and focused a lot on creating an interesting atmosphere. Once it was cancelled, I wouldn’t find anything like it until Radiolab many years later, or perhaps some of the odder This American Life episodes. I still have a soft spot for radio turntablism stuff – and the movie Lucky People Center International is one I revisit every couple of years because of the tight editing and rhythm — so this weeks project was a short attempt to create an atmospheric clicky ambient thing, on the subject of suffering.

The music is all fiddled in Reason and the samples are from a lecture with Yo Hoon, available here. The track is finished as it is now; but I hope to return to the topic. Many years ago I did an ambient sound work called Appropriate Christmas which combined 2400 christmas songs into one long meditation, and in keeping with doing things for holidays, I’ll try to look into the nature of suffering and do a longer piece on it in time for easter.

Being a lapsed catholic the subject matter might not surprise anyone, but at least I’m not doing “guilt.” Yet.

Delinquest: And then gone
[gap size=”5px”]

Another week, another thing

Ok, so this week might be a bit of a cop-out. What free time I’ve had has been spent re-painting the hallway at home. We’ve talked about doing something there for a while, and even though the shelving isn’t cut to size yet, we figured that painting the space would be a good start. Unless you’d argue that the white paint is meant to symbolise the white box of modern art galleries, it’s nowhere nere anything creative. But it’s done, and it took long enough, so I’m putting that up on my list of “getting one thing done a week” list. Hey ho, next week will be more fun, promise!

Oh, and an update on last weeks pin-project: I’ve heard back from three of the five manufacturers I contacted for making the pin, and once they’re back from Chinese New Years, I’m hoping to have enough information to order a sample mold. It might be cheaper to manufacture over there than here, but it’s still a bit of money, so I’m trying to vet the companies with what little China-slothing I command…

Saturday evening was spent at Gabriels cabin, where five of us sat in a sauna for three hours and intermittently bathed in a 4°C stream. After a couple of times it didn’t feel as dying anymore. Haven’t done winter bathing since Turku, and it was brilliant. The steam fogged up the camera and killed the flash though; Next time I’ll rig something to better capture the expression of turning into an ice lolly.

Doing the RepRap #10

Before you can print from your STL file you need to convert it to gcode. Think of it as Postscript for 3D-printers and 2D routers. The tool of choice for people working with RepRap has been Skeinforge, which has acquired tons of functionality at the expense of usability: It’s ugly as sin and has more features than are properly documented (or documented at all) so I’m happy to see that there are alternative versions cropping up, like SFACT.

Also, putting the printer together I ran into some issues with the otherwise excellent documentation put together by Gary Hodgeson, namely the parts using the LM8UU linear bearings instead of printed bushings. Because I don’t have any spare parts I’m terrified of messing up those I bought from Greg Frost (shipped all the way from Australia) so am anxiously browsing the RepRap wiki and forums in search of instructions. I’ve already managed to put the Y-motor bracket in every position possible, and finally had to email Greg to get a picture of how to do it properly. I’m documenting every step, but so far it’s more of a blooper reel…

I finally found an excellent description of how to fit all the parts together: How to build up a LM8UU Linear Bearing Prusa. It does exactly what it says on the tin, and with the exception that I’m going for a three bearing bottom plate, I ought to be able to finish the build in no time. Now, if I could only settle on which lubricant to use for the rods, I’d be set. “Light machine oil” or “PTFE spray” is the question.


Update from the comments. In the video below I’ve inserted the pins from the wrong side. The black plastic bits should go on the underside of the Polo, so that it’ll sit flush with the mounts. As it stands, the Polos work for me soldered this way as well, but it’s more finicky and there’s a risk that you’ll have too much solder left and won’t be able to push the pins far enough into the mounts.

[x_video_embed no_container=”true”][/x_video_embed]

Doing the RepRap #8 — Shooting the trouble

Having set up the studio space here in gallery Titanik I’m once again struggling with the electronics of the RepRap. I got the board back from Traumflug — in addition to fixing it he’d also made it shiny! — and he had successfully used it to move motors and such, so the board is OK. But when I plug in my Pololus and motors and PSU, nothing much happens. Frustration runs high with this one. I have two videos of the troubleshooting below:

[x_video_embed no_container=”true”][/x_video_embed]

[x_video_embed no_container=”true”][/x_video_embed]

In the first video I have a 300W PSU hooked in to the board, and in the second video I try to use a DVD as a load resistor, after recommendation from Traumflug. Spoiler alert: In neither of the videos does the board move the motors, nor give me a reading on the meter. The next step will be to to add a proper load resistor onto the PSU instead of the DVD player— this is slightly more involved than just jamming a bunch of ¼W resistors in there, so I’ll have to do some research on it. The following links might give a clue:

How to Convert a Computer ATX Power Supply to a Lab Power Supply
Desktop power supply from a PC

An alternative to this would be to get a totally new power supply. I know that people have been using Xbox 360 bricks for power, and I’m sure there’s a crapload of alternatives which would work. I’m just hesitant to give up on the only part of the RepRap which I’ve actually scrounged myselft — The PSU was going to be thrown out with a bunch of computer trash at Chalmers, and I thought I’d give it a second chance at usefulness. Not that this project lacks DIY spirit and such, but you catch my drift; Ideally you’d be building the whole printer out of garbage and driftwood.

Mateusz saved your life, remember?

The site for the lying project is now up and available on You ought to check it out because it’s exactly the kind of thing you’d like! I’ve changed the mission statement a bit from the first post, but the main idea is still the same, as well as the goal: To print a magazine containing no facts whatsoever. I’ll document the progress here on the blog, but is the main resource for the project, so look to that.

It’s easy to get ahead of oneself, and even though it feels as if the hard part of the project is behind me, the actual task of collecting, editing and printing the magazine might prove to be more work than I’ve imagined. Also, I have to convince you to tell me a story, and I would have a hard time convincing a starving man to eat, let alone do something like this. Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing what might come of it, and more importantly how other collaborative projects could be organised. I want to work with others but haven’t really found the setting or approach to doing it — but if you’d trust me with your time and effort I’ll do my best not to disappoint you. I have outlines for at least five more issues — on other topics, of course — and am open for ideas and suggestions. We can make really awesome ephemera here, people.

Of course, it all starts with this one issue, so this is what I’d like you to do: Tell me the story of how Mateusz saved your life. You can put any spin on it you’d like, as long as the central premise is the same. You don’t have to tell it in English, and you don’t have to have it perfectly memorised; You’re telling a story, and we’ll polish it before we’re done.

Call the project voicemail through Skype (user Mateusz_Saves) or on Swedish landline (+46 (0)31 799 90 97). If you prefer to send a finished recording or a text, use the address

Thanks to Sara H, Anna G and Petter B for assistance and criticism.

Delusion? Grand!

Most of my projects are solo acts. Attribute that to my inability to work with other people or poor personal hygiene if you will, but I do occasionally try to mix things up, as with Guilty Guilty Guilty a couple of years ago, and again with To whomever more recently. I’ve been mulling over another idea the past months, and right now I can’t do much more without involving other people, so please consider this a casting call for your participation!

I want people to briefly tell the story of how Mateusz saved their life. These stories, three to five minuts long, accompanied by pictures and documentary material, will be printed in a tabloid magazine dedicated to the subject. The publication will be bilingual, so the original language in which the story is told doesn’t really matter, as long as I can get some help translating it into English (or Swedish, and I’ll do the English).

If you know of someone who is good at coming up with stories, I’d appreciate it if you would convince them to participate. I think that the stories will be better if you tell them of this assignment in your own words, rather than have them read my description. They are allowed to be anonymous or use an fake name, and if they don’t want to have their face published, that can be worked around.

I’d like you to take their picture and record the audio of their story, using a cellphone or whatever is at hand. It is the story which is important, and technical quality is secondary.

The resulting magazine will be printed by a commercial tabloid printer, in a limited print run. The prints will be numbered and signed, and if it’s feasible I’ll handprint parts of it as well. Everyone who is included in the tabloid, or has helped making it, will get a copy.

While living in Karlstad I ran a weekly hour-long radio show named Siberia. In one of the episodes I had convinced a friend to pose as a member of a local criminal organization. It was all made as if I was clandestinely recording our conversation, and he was frightfully good. He was so convincing, and was so good at improvising answers to my questions, that I had to break the recording a couple of times cause he was too intense. The experience of having a convincing story told to me which I 100% knew wasn’t true, is still vivid in my mind, and this project is a further experiment along these lines. Using myself is the only way I can be certain that the stories are made up — barring advanced somnambulism on my part — and thinking of Mateusz in third person will make it easier to edit into something coherent.

I’m fascinated by people who — knowing or unknowing — are spinning convincing narratives. Those people make for good story tellers and liars, two moral sides of the same coin, and I’m profusely jealous of their ability. And having people so gifted speak on the same subject, I’m curious in how convincing the manufactured mass delusion would be.

The reason I want people who are not my immediate friends to do this is because with one or two exceptions, they are only slightly better liars than I am, and would make for effect instead of story if they were presented with this. Also, their story might relate to me instead of Mateusz, which would be no good at all. The stories don’t have to be positive, but they do have to be about Mateusz saving their life.

Knowingly being deceived is part of civilised society. As a social function, it is a polite convention which allows us to get by in everyday life. But once we start to acknowledge these known unknowns and act upon them, we can get stuck trying to find our way to something more “real.” By buying into a compelling narrative we can escape the digestive tract of scepticism the natural way: Having pulled ourselves out the ass we can start to believe what we say.

There’s a PDF you can download with some instructions and photos below, but you are not obliged to use it in any way. It’s intended as a help for prompting whoever is telling the story; Although, it’s my experience that those good at making up stories need very little prompting. Download the PDF by clicking here: Mateusz_saves.pdf

Thanks for your attention and I hope you’ll consider participating!

New new journalism and its discontents

My brother and I have been pitching a project to a couple to newspapers. it’s about interactivity and making the value of journalism transparent – a meta project where the end result is still valuable because it’s hard work and doesn’t rely on shouting first but rather articulating a subject well. In the age of borked analogies, good journalism is like a well knit sweater – You might know how it was made and even have the pattern for doing it yourself, but you’d much rather just wear it than bother with the production. (I’m not paid for writing good analogies.)

Above all, good journalism shouldn’t be about springing surprises on the readership. The belief that exclusivity and having a scoop is what makes newspapers relevant is one reason of why the news industry is frantically grasping for straws (We’re on Twitter now!) in hopes of looking hip, while at the same time not allowing the new technology to affect how they fundamentally view their role in society and the function that they fulfill for their readership. (And advertisers)

Clay Shirky has a brilliant quote in one of his posts on the subject:
One of the people I was hanging around with online back then was Gordy Thompson, who managed internet services at the New York Times. I remember Thompson saying something to the effect of “When a 14 year old kid can blow up your business in his spare time, not because he hates you but because he loves you, then you got a problem.” I think about that conversation a lot these days.

→ Clay Shirky, newspapers and thinking the unthinkable.

Maybe we’ve gotten it ass backwards; Maybe we ought to be going at this as independents and establish our own platform instead of joining an existing one, but there’s so much knowledge amassed in the old journalistic institutions that it would seem a waste to disregard it. Just because the owners and directors can’t make money off of their papers doesn’t make the journalists themselves any less useful or interesting, so it’s disheartening to see where reporting seems to be heading and what lack of confidence journalists have in their own craft.

To whomever. According to Tobias

A while back I got a respons to the “To Whomever” thing. Instead of writing a letter to the person in the picture, Tobias wrote a short biography. Much appreciated. If you would like to participate, please check out the original post and send a letter to the person you imagine is in the photo. Include a postal address and I’ll send a copy signed in character – A perfect decoration for any fridge. The image below is on its way to Tobias.

Vold Streckzy is in a direct descending way related to Nedeljko Cabrinovic, the biggest klutz in history. Vold himself does not know this. But to a person having this knowledge when looking upon Vold it makes perfect sense.

Vold always has a look of fear in his eyes. He’ve had this ever since he was a small boy living in the outskirts of Sarajevo where he one day due to a series of highly unlikely events fell of his tricycle. After tumbling down a rocky slope with thorny bushes for a good 5 minutes he ended up in a sheep den. As he had a considerable amount of vertical velocity he got stuck waist-high in sheep droppings. Given the sheep being startled and that Vold had the shame of his ancestor hanging upon him, the sheep attacked. Then after dodging hooves for what seemed like the better part of his childhood his mother came and dragged him out.

After the incident they moved to Turkey but the ill-omen resting upon Vold never seized tormenting him. He has been on the move ever since. Hence the constant fear in his eyes.