Monthly Archives: December 2022

Arduino connection issue with Linux Mint 21.0

Every 3 or 4 years I try to wean myself off Apple computers and embrace the open source, non proprietary software option offered by diverse Linux distros. I have in the living room a  Lenovo X201 running Linux Mint for playing Spotify and web browsing. The old laptop has been doing the job well for about 4 years. But when I try to use Linux on my main machine, after messing about with settings and installs for a couple of weeks I return to my slick macbooks and their crystal clear user experience.



December 2022: I felt the itch again and bought a decent Lenovo X1 laptop fifth generation for £230. I wiped Windows 11 and installed Linux Mint 21.0 XFCE.  I often make robots and other programmable hardware things powered by Arduino microcontrollers. After installing the Arduino 2.0 software using the out of the box Software Manager I quickly found out that none of my Arduino boards were recognised by the system. The Arduino application displayed the message “No Board detected”. As a Linux newbie here is the detail of the fix, might be useful for someone :>))


I had joined the Dialout group as instructed ( You can check if you belong to the dialout group  by typing in Terminal the command: groups

Trailing Linux and Arduino forums I found a mention of a utility called BRLTTY that could be the cause of the problem. I had to do a bit more digging for fixing the fault.


First check if your board is listed in the tty devices:

Connect your Arduino to a USB port
in Terminal type: ls /dev
A long list of devices will appear. Look for ttyACMx or ttyUSBx [ x will be a number, for example ttyACM0 ].
If you don’t find anything like that it shows that your system has not loaded the board.


In Terminal type: dmesg
A very long list of Kernel-related information will appear. Look for information about your USB ports that looks like the following:


[ 8831.372900] ch341 1-6:1.0: ch341-uart converter detected
[ 8831.374994] usb 1-6: ch341-uart converter now attached to ttyUSB0
[ 8831.421366] input: PC Speaker as /devices/platform/pcspkr/input/input27
[ 8831.964820] input: BRLTTY 6.4 Linux Screen Driver Keyboard as /devices/virtual/input/input28
[ 8832.095593] usb 1-6: usbfs: interface 0 claimed by ch341 while ‘brltty’ sets config #1
[ 8832.100489] ch341-uart ttyUSB0: ch341-uart converter now disconnected from ttyUSB0
[ 8832.100615] ch341 1-6:1.0: device disconnected



This shows that the system detected the board and attached it to USB0, then loaded BRLTTY utility. BRLTTY claimed the serial interface and subsequently the board was disconnected.

BRLTTY is an accessibility utility for blind people. If you do not need it, you can remove it from your system, together with its not needed dependent packages, by typing in Terminal:

sudo apt-get remove –auto-remove brltty

Unplug and re-plug your board, type again in Terminal: ls /dev

If all goes to plan you should now see a ttyUSBx or ttyACMx, and your Arduino IDE will now show the port.



e-wasteroïd 2 – Piksel Festival Bergen

A second e-wasteroïd was made in the Piksel Festival XXth edition in Bergen, Norway. I worked with a handful of participants over 2 days, making a new version of the electronic waste kinetic sculpture. Due to small numbers of participants this one had much less electronic bits hanging from the rotating engine than in the first version, but more time was given to the individual additions and the programming of sonic and moving parts. And we found out that it looked good in the dark.



You can check the festival programme HERE. Highlights:


MTCD- A Visual Anthology of My Machine Life, a live monologue with minimal graphics by my friend Teresa Dillon, tracing back her life year by year in relation to machines she used or encountered. Very engaging and funny yet thoughtful and critical.



Process Pages by Nick Montfort. The MIT professor of digital media showed a minimal generative piece where 3 monitors display the result of extremely compact javascripts that explore Unicode. The code is up for grabs on A4 printouts placed in front of each monitor. Very frugal and elegant, strong aesthetics, reflection on languages and code. Nick Montfort also presented a talk about the online poetry magazine Taper, an Online Magazine for Tiny Computational Poems. Contributors are invited to submit coded poems no bigger than 2KB, check it out!


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Woods on Mount Fløyen above Bergen



Flying in 2022, my first flight since June 2019… Eco-guilt was felt at the idea of flying several thousand kilometers for an electronic arts festival, but didn’t prevail. Not sure how I will handle this in the future, looking into emissions compensation and/or limiting participation to venues accessible by trains (for Bergen it was 18 trains over 3 days each way).


The beauty and the ugliness of electronic waste fight it off in this workshop for curious people. Starting with a pile of electronic waste items such as printers, pc towers, DVD players the participants will build a spinning asteroid made of out of date components and found timber, mining the old machines for intricate and complex parts. The resulting temporary sculpture is both celebration of human engineering and sinister indicator of an extractivist civilisation gone in overdrive.


Expect improvisation, technological creativity, freestyle wiring, collaboration and low-tech solutions. In line with Granjon’s current methods, the machine will work off-grid, be made of 90% recycled or found components and use open source technology controllers (Arduino).

The e-wasteroïd belongs to Granjon’s extensive practice of Wrekshops, where participants take apart electronic waste and help build a kinetic sculpture. The events combine hands-on, fun making with grassroots conversations inspired by the material, its abundance and creative potential.

The participants do not need to have prior knowledge of electronics or programming, start age 7 (under 12 accompanied by an adult). The workshop can run for a few hours or a whole day or 2, with participants coming and going, or booking a slot. Max 7 participants at a time with 1 assistant.

The e-wasteroïd can be exhibited as an installation after the workshop, before its parts return to the recycling plant.

The first e-wasteroïd was tested during the Deershed Festival in the UK in July 2022.


Wrekshop action

We are ducked


Just finished making and editing We Are Ducked, new work for the the Matterrealities exhibition in Cardiff School of Art and Design opens on Thursday 3rd March.


We Are Ducked is a response to eco-anxiety, a feeling of distress caused by uncertainty about the future of the planet and its ecosystems that can cause depression and hopelessness. With its humorous appearance and tongue in cheek pun that scrolls when the viewer activates a hand dynamo, the small electronic and wood sculpture We Are Ducked celebrates the joy of making and joking in the face of environmental adversity.



The companion video also titled We Are Ducked is a more open-ended contemplation shot on a beach by an industrial estate in Barry Wales. The bleak landscape is a backdrop for words spoken by machines, an attempt to synthesize complex existential and ecological parameters for life in 2022 and beyond.


The exhibition is part of the EASTN-DC European research project in digital creativity.