By the time I was made aware of Electromagnetic Field earlier in the year it had already sold out. My cunning plan to secure a ticket by proposing a talk worked though, and this weekend I got to go and do it. It was absolutely unlike any festival I’ve ever attended. In equal parts inspiring, astonishing and just really good fun. For the uninformed, Electromagnetic Field is a non-profit UK camping festival for those with an inquisitive mind or an interest in making things: hackers, artists, geeks, crafters, scientists, and engineers. Basically, my people!
EMF has many talks and workshops which I attended a bunch of, and were all pretty great. As well as that, the site is full of various installations, a cyber punk village, called the NullZone with flame throwers and smoke machines, and cardboard arcade. If that wasn’t enough, every attendee gets their own ‘badge’, a PCB with a microprocessor, screen, wi-fi and mobile connectivity. The festival even had their own mobile network setup for the weekend! As I said, unlike anything I’ve been to before. The badge is open-source and can be hacked. I may have a go at hacking its audio capabilities soon. Apparently they had a huge amount of problems prior to the event, the main big-top tent only got delivered the day before it started, so they did an incredible job making everything run pretty smoothly. I’m already looking forward to the next one in 2020.
My talk went well I think, several people found me afterwards to chat. I also got the opportunity to do a performance using only sound generators and effects I’d built myself. I’ve not done a set like this before and was really pleased with how it turned out, so thanks to everyone at EMF that made that possible, and thanks to all the organisers and volunteers for the festival itself, it was something very, very special.
Here’s the video stream of the talk: