November 4-6, 2016
Chemistry Creative, 315 Ten Eyck Street, Brooklyn NY

Brett Ian Balogh

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Brett Ian Balogh is a Chicago-based artist working at the intersection of objects, sounds and spaces. He is currently an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology, teaching courses in new media, architecture, digital fabrication, radio and sound. Brett is a free103point9 transmission artist and has exhibited and performed at P.S.1 (NY), Diapason (NY), Devotion Gallery (NY); The MCA (Chicago) and The Hyde Park Arts Center (Chicago) among others.

Before receiving his masters in studio from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007, Brett studied engineering and biology and received a BA in biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. Much of Brett’s knowledge of electronics, programming, embedded computing and robotics stems from his do-it-yourself practice and hacking ethos. Brett’s educational and artistic mission is to bring the DIY movement not only to the classroom but also to the community at large. Brett has given numerous DIY radio transmitter building workshops at venues such as Dorkbot Chicago, The Southside Hub of Production, Propeller Grant space at Mana Contemporary and the Megapolis festival in Baltimore (2010) and San Francisco (2015). Through his teaching and community activities, Brett hopes to empower individuals with the curiosity and confidence to transform themselves and their environments through technology.


Wilderness Wireless

One might think radio is more of a feature of the developed world rather than the woods, but radio, as a phenomenon, is a natural resource not unlike the air, land and water of the great outdoors. The developed world has indeed commandeered radio for use in communications networks from simple transmitter - receiver relationships via code or voice to our modern wifi network infrastructure. This workshop leads participants through the process of constructing and programming their own wireless network node suitably-powered for off the grid operation. With this system, a participant can create an off-the-grid, wireless, wifi hotspot that will serve participant-determined content via an http interface. No registrar or service providers, your network stands alone from the www. The inspiration for this workshop comes from Brett's 2015 work, Wolf, where a solar-charged, battery-powered wireless web server becomes the den of a wilderness spirit-animal.

This workshop is a new counterpart to the do-it-yourself FM transmitter workshops I have been giving in my Do-It-Yourself Broadcast class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago since 2007, as well as at events such as the Sound Megapolis Festivals and other community venues. The class has traditionally been Fm-radio centric, dovetailing with the international radio, or transmission arts community. Tetsuo Kogawa's notion of polymorphous space is a central theme and the transmitter he designed an essential piece of hardware. My argument for these ideas and techniques was that with little investment in time, energy and resources, infrastructure-free networks could be created. The internet has always had the overhead of way too much infrastructure, from satellites all the way down to copper and fiber. With the proliferation of open source router firmwares to SoC's and low power microcontrollers with wifi stacks, creating your own wifi network is almost as easy to implement as the FM transmitter. The focus of the workshop is not to create a subnet/subnode, but to be an internet beacon, a point of interest, a source of information, a den of a spirit.

Materials & Requirements

All participants must provide their own laptops. OSX and WIN7+ supported, linux, too!

The artist will provide 10 sets of soldering hand tools for use during the workshop, but feel free to bring your own tools.

Materials from Adafruit

You may opt to purchase a kit containing all of the below materials (except the mason jar) when you purchase your conference pass on the eventbrite page. Alternatively, you may buy the materials on your own via the links below.

In order to have a fully solar powered solution, you must buy OPT1 AND OPT2. Total for OPT1 and OPT2 with shipping + tax: $100.00

Kit OPT1

    Included in this kit:
  • Feather HUZZAH with ESP8266 WiFi
  • Lithium Ion Battery - 3.7v 2000mAh
  • Half-size breadboard
  • USB cable - A/MicroB - 3ft

Kit OPT2

    Included in this kit:
  • 3.5 / 1.3mm To 5.5 / 2.1mm DC Jack Adapter Cable
  • USB / DC / Solar Lithium Ion/Polymer charger - v2
  • Medium 6V 2W Solar panel - 2.0 Watt

You will also need to bring a mason jar as a container for the device you will be building in this workshop.