CRITICAL ENGINEERING
SUMMER INTENSIVES, BERLIN 2021

This year we are pleased to offer a diverse selection of workshops. Workshop registration costs 50€ per full day, 25€ per half day, payable by cash the day of the workshop. Some workshops have additional kits and hardware for an additional fee that is payable by cash in class.

Due to Coronavirus pandemic safety precautions and regularions, seats are even more limited. Cash must be paid on arrival or the seat will be freed up for someone else, from a waiting list for those in Berlin. After registering, if you find you cannot attend, please let us know at least 1 week in advance so we can make the seat available to someone else.

Introduction to Software Defined Radio

6-8 August, FROM 10:00 TO 18:00
Weise7 Studio, Berlin
WITH BENGT SJÖLEN AND DANJA VASILIEV

In this 3-day intensive participants will learn how to use a 12 Euro RTLSDR USB dongle* and free, open-source software to read, record and appropriate a vast world of signal around them. From weather satellites to the International Space Station, aircraft, military, pirate and amateur bands - software-defined radio allows for any Linux, OS X or Windows laptop to become a powerful ear into a world otherwise unheard by the devices we use.

Outdoor excursions with a variety of antennae will be made to ensure participants have real-world experience capturing, analysing and recording radio phenomena. A special module on uncloaking, spoofing and deploying cellular infrastructure will be taught, as will another on GNU Radio, a powerful toolkit for designing and packaging radio applications entirely in software.

Skills, terms and concepts learned are directly applicable to further learning in areas such as packet radio, radio-astronomy, wireless counter-surveillance, signal-jamming and pirate radio.

No prior knowledge of radio, programming or command line interaction is required.

Course Fee: 150€
Materials: 12€ (optional)

*Required to participate in class. Feel free to bring your own.

SelfHosted

14-15 August, FROM 10:00 TO 18:00
Weise7 Studio, Berlin
WITH SARAH GRANT AND DANJA VASILIEV

Selfhost! This 2-day intensive walks participants through the process of setting up their own Internet server, complete with webmail, cloud, workflow, photo gallery, video streaming and other web services - managed by Docker or run natively.

Those interested in serving from home can bring in a PC laptop or Raspberry Pi (v3+) to re-purpose as a low-traffic server on the Internet. Others wanting a high-traffic, media-rich solution will be encouraged to choose and register a geographically-local server package (VPS) in class such that they can be guided through a complete install (typical monthly fees are 5 to 15 EUR).

Good server-side security practices are covered, from disk-encryption to password-management and firewalling. The basics of the UNIX command line are also taught such that participants can securely log into their server and administer it regardless of their physical location. It takes just one in a community to give the gift of high-quality, low-carbon Internet infrastructure - to free yourself and others from centralised and privacy-eroding services (like Google apps, proprietary file-sharing, etc).

No prior experience is necessary, although attention to detail and note-taking skills are important.

Course Fee: 100€

Experimental Signal Processing With Slime Mould

20-22 August, FROM 10:00 TO 14:00
Weise7 Studio, Berlin
WITH SARAH GRANT AND BENGT SJÖLEN

Slime mould Physarum polycephalum is an easy to cultivate, single-celled organism, which forms efficient, complex networks of protoplasmic tubes between spatially distributed food sources. Despite having no central nervous system, P. polycephalum is capable of solving computational tasks both on its own and when integrated into hybrid bio-electrical circuits. Some experimental working prototypes which have been developed with slime moulds include self-routing and self-repairing wires, electronic oscillators, chemical sensors, color sensors, low pass filters, logical gates, and transistors, among many others.

In this workshop we will be introduced to working with Physarum polycephalum, including life cycle, cultivation, and techniques for integrating with conventional electrical components for building hybrid circuits. We will also have a brief overview of notable earlier experiments with slime moulds. By the end of the workshop, we will have built simple synthesizers made up of noise-making oscillators connected to each other by slime mould "wires" grown during class.

No prior experience is necessary.

Course Fee: 75€
Materials: 25€