Published: May 2018

5-12 August 2018 at PIFcamp, Slovenia

Sense Yourself Making

A performative process in 4 acts.

Outcome “Making Sense Together” >>
Flickr set >>
Download PDF of zine >>
PIFpron >>
Maker’s Mask of Anonymity >>
Pincushion Bracelet Probe >>


As soon as you begin to read these words, the performance will begin to unfold in front of your eyes and your ears. Pay attention to all that is happening around you: people are selecting components, picking plants, unscrewing things, soldering resistors, cutting nails, threading needles, taking notes, stirring soup, measuring voltage, probing continuity, making mistakes, slicing bread, turning knobs, pushing keys, making music, opening cold beers and flushing toilets.

As you become aware of all that is happening around you, you are bearing witness to the performance that is PIFcamp. Within the camp this year, there will emerge a small group of individuals who will become hyper-aware of their own making. They will begin this process by hacking their own hands, augmenting these most precious tools with wearable sensors to capture their process of making.

Take a moment to examine your own hands. These fleshy machines that do exactly what you think. What would life be like without them?

This performance is about appreciating our human ability to make, in which our hands play a leading role. In order to shine a spotlight on them in action, participants will build sensors to sense their hands making, and feed this information back to themselves as sound. We will draw upon PIFcamp’s rich resource of synthesizer builders and inventors to help us “make” music with our making.

Listen closely throughout the whole week for the sounds of our hands making and manipulating our world.

Sense Yourself Making

Hacking Our Hands

What wonderful contraptions, these tools attached to the ends of our articulated arms. From coding to crochet, human making involves the use of our hands to interface with the world.
In order to find out more about these fleshy machines, shall we attempt to hack them? All hacks are interesting – both analog and digital. We can add sensors to sense ourselves making. We can add actuators to enact new actions. And lets hack our hands using local and natural materials – sewing leaf gloves, carving twig tweezers, constructing bark armor, molding mushroom pincushions…


adding probes to the tips of your fingers to turn your hand into a continuity meter.

Fingertip Contact Switch

Frequency Finger Gloves
This pair of gloves has LEDs on one hand and photodiodes on the other. The LEDs on each finger can be pulsed (PWM) at different frequencies and the circuit on the photodiode glove translates the received light frequency directly into sound.

DIY Data Gloves
recognising gestures of the hand to control software interfaces.

Fingernail Resistance

ATtiny Drawdio Bracelet
This bracelet is basically a wearable continuity meter that translates the electrical resistance between two fingers into sound.

Openwear Finger Bend Sensor

Touch Sensitive Glove

Crochet finger Sensor

Sensitive Fingertips

Pushbutton fingertips
Dangerous fingertips
Pushbutton fingertips


Fingernail Strippers
Add wire gauge notches to your fingernails so that you can strip insulation off wire.

Thread dispenser ring and cutting nail

Yarn dispensing ring for crochet

Snap nail


Manual meshing
Manual Meshing green

Finger knitting contraption
Finger knitter

Dangerous fur
Dangerous Fur prototypes
Powermesh glove
Fur fingertips

Pinky helmet
Pinky helmet

Anatomy of a Pin
Anatomy of a Pin

References and Reading

The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture