Hackteria workshop med Øyvind Mellbye

DIY Microscope
2. – 4. September, 2011, 10am – 4pm
Atelier Nord project room

During the workshop we made microscopes from usb web cameras and went hunting for nematodes in the soil in the surroundings of Kunstnernes Hus.

The basis for our microscopes in this instance was the ps3 eye camera, which has good optics and a quite large image sensor. During the first day the cameras were hacked by reversing the optics and soldering LEDs to the circuit to illuminate the samples.

It is possible to determine the area recorded of the microscope by looking at pixels on the computer screen and calculating the ratio between the resolution of the screen and screen dimensions.

Then we made Baermann-funnels that simply consist of a funnel with a plastic tube and a filter separating soil and nematodes with nematodes being able to crawl through the filter and gather in the plastic tube sealed by a clothes-peg.

On the second day of the workshop we discussed various functions and practical aspects regarding the construction of the stand that was to keep the sample in correct position in relation to the lens and sensor.

A drawing of a general idea of a microscope stand with the ability to adjust the distance between the sensor and lens for various degrees of magnification and also to focus on the sample was the starting point for the microscopes that we made.

Through the second and third day of the workshop the microscopes were finished. For unknown reasons the Baermann-funnels didn`t turn out to be a great success teeming with nematodes, but instead a rather barren sample with sporadic specs of soil. So there is absolutely room for improvement on the funnels! Perhaps coffee filters are not the optimal choice for extracting nematodes? But this did not in any way discourage us from further microscopy. Avocado, hair, salt, eggshell, sheep fat, cream cheese, leaves and other materials were subject to the gaze of the microscope.
You can find instructions for making microscopes and other D.I.Y lab gear projects at www.hackteria.org

Øyvind Mellbye studied the Bergen National Academy of Art and has a varied artistic practice with various materials and topics, however with an affinitiy towards electronics and sound. Earlier ideas have been expressed through an electromechanical hologram made from an old mangel, electro acoustic music based on his movements in time and space, and a interactive surround system made from cassette players. Øyvind
Mellbye has previously recieved Jacob Weidemann’s scholarship for young artists and has exhibited at PIKSEL: festival for electronic art, Gallery Design Festa in Tokyo, a nomadic sound exhibition directed by Ersta Konsthall, Kinokino/Sandnes arts association and participated in Hackterialab 2011 – L´Arc, Romainmotier and Walcheturm, Zürich, Switzerland.