Masterstudiengang Spiel und Objekt

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weekend reading

Hello Humans,
nice to have you back here! As always, relax, get into the right mood and enjoy this free weekend reading on a cozy sunday morning during your first cup of coffee, while you’re on the way to a nice exhibition or on the wiggling way home early in the morning from an afterparty.

On last weeks reading I left you a bit alone with the comment that Steward Brand is now an advocat on nuclear energy – “huiuiui, a good hippie that likes bad nuclear power?” you might have thought. Also on the big strike for climate in Berlin on September 20th I saw someone with a sign endorsing nuclear power. Thinking of the catastrophic impact nuclear fission can have on our ecosystem I wonder how environmentalists can support this technology.  Coincidentally I also saw this post on subreddit theydidthemath:

The question there was if the information given with this lollipop is true, and yes, it seems to be. One tiny uranium lollilop per Human Life is the way this “ad” is trying to sell it and it’s really crazy to imaging: If me as a newborn was given this energy source, I would still cook and work with this energy and would also do for the rest of my life. A personal life-lasting energy source that size to carry around just like you do with your smartphone sounds really convincing, indeed.

Sweet, and I start to sweat: Worldwide, 59 329 031 died in 2018, which would be the amount of uranium-lollilol-waste we would have after one year assuming every human has a loppilop her/his entire lifespan. Quickly do the math: one of those pollilop’s weight is, according to the reddit mathmagician, 56.22g. 56.22g times 59.329.031 deaths equals *mental arithmetic* roughly 3.335 tons ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Some numbers to compare it to: All over the world 12.000 tons nuclear waste are produced each year and 300.000 tons are already produced [source]. So the pollipop-solution would produce even less waste? Or do all these numbers forget the energy we need for our whole infrastructure? If you just compare these numbers, nuclear energy seems quite good.

One thing are the numbers and before going down in a mathematical-equation-suicide I quickly switch to stories. Radioactivity was such an unbelievable great thing some decades ago, you could buy radioactive drinking water, toothpaste with radium, get radium injections and this future was so bright and shining! One a-hunderd-years-old story is the one about the radium girls:


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And did you ever get information where uranium does actually come from? Today Canada is one of the biggest producers but the standards of the mining industries are quite different among the world:

“Bergarbeiter*innen in Niger und Namibia dürfen offiziell einer Strahlenbelastung von 20 Millisievert im Jahr ausgesetzt werden. Das ist so viel, als würde ihre Lunge zweitausendmal geröntgt.” – Uran Atlas p. 11

If you are interested in this topic I highly recommend this Uran Atlas which you can download for free (or get a printed version).

One powerful last video that still jars me:


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Ok, enough of that now. It’s weekend and weekend means happy feelings! Are you a gamer? I am *just a bit* and when I bought a PlayStation some years ago I realized how hard it is to play a AAA game like The Last Of Us. YouTuber Razbuten did a nice experiment with his wife who played for the first time which is hilarious to watch! It’s interesting to realize how gamers make games for gamers. 


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And #mauerfall30! Today, 30 years ago, the Berlin Wall fall after 28 years and lots of things are happening this weekend. I wish all these projection mappings, events and parties would be seen by the people in power around the world and show them how a revolution can be peaceful and bring humans together. I have to think of the people that are currently fighting for a better life, hold on for a minute and start into the weekend. See you and always remember that dreams can become reality!

“Wir woll’n doch einfach nur zusammen sein”


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Artist Talk: Geraldine Juarez

Please join us this coming Monday for an Artist talk by Geraldine Juarez. She will talk about different forays and stages of her practice over the past 10 years (and other recent forays into the stage, color and ice).

When: Monday, 11.11., 19:00

Where: Ladenlokal Zinnowitzer str. 7, 10115 Berlin

Geraldine Juárez is a Mexican artist working with time-based media, sculpture and performance about stories and histories of energy, materials and technics.  She will talk about different forays and stages of her practice over the past 10 years (and other recent forays into the stage, colour and ice). Some of her recent exhibitions and performances include The Ice Club (2019) and Colour Set (2018) in Skogen, Monoskop’s Exhibition Library (2018); 100 Years of Copyright, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (2018); For the Record, ifa galerie (2018);  University of Disaster, Bosnia Herzegovina Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale; and Situations/Placeholder, Fotomuseum (2017). 
Her book Flux until Sunrise was published by Rojal in 2018 and her texts have been published by K.Verlag, Constant, Continent, Scapegoat: Journal for Architecture, Landscape and Political Economy, and Sink.
PROSPEKT, her recent VR-essay and performance about the data-prospecting of public art collections, was premiered in Botaniska, The Gothenburg Botanical Garden in 2018.  You can read a recent interview about it in We Make Money Not Art. (

Geraldine graduated from the MFA in Fine Art of Valand Academy and studied ceramics in HDK-Academy of Design and Crafts in Gothenburg. She lives in Berlin.

weekend reading

Hello Humans, welcome to a new weekend reading! My name’s Julian and I work here at this school, mostly found somewhere between coding, our beautiful workshop (which I want to introduce in a further weekend reading) and somewhere in the sun. Dreaming about the latter: it got quite cold and grey in Berlin this week. So let’s get into the right mood (← music to listen to in background) while I’m still thinking of this article in le monde diplomatique, Why Trump wants to buy Greenland. Main reason, easy to guess, the natural resources hidden under the ice. Nobody had real interest in this before, because there was no chance to access them. Spot on climate change, which Trump’s government denies to exist. With the melting of the ice the chances are really good that the production of natural ressources can soon start in the Arctic:

To solve this kind of political challenges in the arctic region in a diplomatic and peaceful way, the Arctic Council was founded in 1996. Nice idea, but it doesn’t seem to be the way Trump’s foreign minister Mike Pompeos liked to handle it during their last meeting in Rovaniemi, Finnland:

The great and depressing article goes on a bit and if you want to read (in german) just text me. In the end you get a clear idea that Trump’s government not only denies climate change but more is looking forward to it. 

Ok, enough of that now, it’s weekend and weekend should also mean happy feelings (← again, listen in background)! So I was quite happy that Friedrich mentioned Douglas Engelbart last week, who I always connect with Steward Brand. Those guys were real hippies back in the 1960s/70s, folks! They totally saw the power and social benefits of technology and wanted to share this knowledge and wisdom with everybody! So Steward Brand became the author of the Whole Earth Catalog, a book that describes the functionality of all important technology (and more) in this time and, as Steve Jobs mentioned, was “the bible of his generation”.


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Another great thing Brand made is the WELL, Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link, the world’s first online forum or, to add one last thing: the Long Now Foundation, where they’re building for example a clock that will last for 10.000 years. I can’t even imagine what our world will look like in 200 years and they’re thinking of the year 12019! Whatever those hippies took, I never know if it was too much or exactly the right amount of it. However, just always keep in mind how this counterculture is deeply connected with cyberculture! And today? Hm, Brand is also an advocate of nuclear energy.

To recap last week at MA Spiel&&Objekt: Arturo Castro, one of the core developers of openFrameworks, is currently teaching this great open source toolkit to our students. Programming gets even more serious now and words like “compiling” and “machine code” were mentioned more than once in the last couple of days. So in addition to last week’s Assembler-Video I want to show you the lovely book Machine Code For Beginners  by Lisa Watts and Mike Whartion.

That’s it for now. Christian and I have this video installation running in Berlin since Friday till Nov 10th (come and see, of course!) and I’m at Science Hack Day.

weekend reading

Following last week’s course on code and its materiality, here is a list of video, image and text resources on how computers actually work:

We start with “The Evolution of CPU Processing”:


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Next, for some history, I recommend this series on historical computing (in Germany) – WDR Computernacht. A lot of the examples shown here are eerily similar to the projects we do in class:


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Somewhat more historic, there’s a recording of Douglas Engelbart’s most famous presentation, aptly titled “The mother of all Demos” from 1968, in which most of today’s computing paradigms are being presented for the first time:


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For some more theoretical points we have touched upon, here is a link to Claude Shannon’s and Warren Weaver’s Model of Communication:

Shannon-Weaver model.png
By OTA – Global communications: opportunities for trade and aid, Public Domain, Link

A quick reminder of the pioneering role of women in computing:

The first algorithm intended to be executed by a computer was designed by Ada Lovelace who was a pioneer in the field. Grace Hopper was the first person to design a compiler for a programming language. Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, and up to World War II, programming was predominantly done by women; significant examples include the Harvard Computers, codebreaking at Bletchley Park and engineering at NASA.

And on a more theoretical note, on the materiality of media, here are two texts on (by Sybille Krämer) and of Friedrich Kittler and his concept of media (links to PDF):

(from The Cultural Techniques of Time Axis Manipulation: On Friedrich Kittler’s Conception of Media (2006) ) “Analog media – and optical-technological media in particular (Kittler 2002) – mark the beginning of a development that ends with digitization and the computer. In the age of handwriting and of the printing press, all forms of writing are bound up in a symbolic universe – which in its most basic variant is that of everyday speech transcribed by notation. Technological media, by contrast, attempt to select, store, and produce the physical realities themselves.”

(from “There is no software”) ” Programming languages have eroded the monopoly of ordinary language and grown into a new hierarchy of their own. This postmodern Tower of Babel reaches from simple operation codes whose linguistic extension is still a hardware configuration, passing through an assembler whose extension is this very opcode, up to high-level programming languages whose extension is that very assembler. In consequence, far-reaching chains of self-similarities in the sense defined by fractal theory organize the software as well as the hardware of every writing. What remains a problem is only recognizing these layers which, like modem media technologies in general, have been explicitly connived to evade perception. We simply do not know what our writing does.

Since we talked about the assembly language in class, here’s a video on the esoteric nature of programming in the late 70s:


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And, of course, you can build computers within videogames, within computers (via boingboing):

“This monumental build contains 672 pumps, 2000 logs, 8500 mechanisms and thousands of other assort bits and knobs like doors and rock blocks.
I believe this is the first programmable digital computer that anyone has built in DF. I believe it is turing complete, for anyone who cares.”

That’s it from me for this month!

weekend reading

When working in the arts, one is often confronted with an urgency to address current political and social events. Doubly so, when working internationally, be it through collaborations with international artists or by working in a foreign country. Doubts about your own Efficacy are manifold, even more so as a student, and even more so if the issues that are politically and emotionally close to home happen thousands of miles away, or in a context that is alien to your own surroundings.

How to respond, artistically, to international political events, remains a deeply individual decision. However, knowing of, and discussing those same events are part of any reasonable cultural discourse. Art and cultural authorship always has a political component to it.

Political action often originates from young people in their early 20s or sometimes even younger. Those of you who see themselves part of this new generation of activists face a tougher challenge than I ever had to face in my twenties: there is more information, and faster information transmission than ever before. This adds to the burden of emotional investment in actions that happen live, right now, while at the same time, it generates a perceived lack of power to meaningfully engage in any of them.

In no particular order, here are some of the civil unrest events (excluding outright war) with profound impact for our students, staff, faculty and often their family and friends from around the world, just from last week’s social media (twitter, facebook, instagram) timeline:

Protests in Lebanon:

Protests in Santiago de Chile:

Continuing protests in Hong Kong:

There are many more. I am aware that leaving out any single one is negating the emotional impact of violence against a group of people we should feel solidarity towards.

This newfound, mediated agency, often shows itself in the most unexpected places, and both in unexpectedly wonderful and horrible ways (Zeynep Tufekci in Wired):

“Somewhat paradoxically the capabilities that fueled their organizing prowess sometimes also set the stage for what later tripped them up, especially when they were unable to engage in the tactical and decision-making maneuvers all movements must master to survive. It turns out that the answer to “What happens when movements can evade traditional censorship and publicize and coordinate more easily?” is not simple.”

As a Professor, I am not in a position to advocate for or against individual political action of others (except when a certain, very German, threshold is crossed). But I see it as my professional duty to provide space for political discourse as an entangled necessity to artistic work. As a media scholar, I am aware that this discourse often seems to lack the immediacy of direct action. Reading texts and learning about technological systems is seemingly the antithesis to direct engagement. Yet it provides an understanding of contemporary possibilities for agency in evermore mediated communal spaces. And I argue that without this thoroughness, and without a layered and detached understanding of this very entanglement, action will fall short.

I have many issues with the following text, mainly its argument rooting, as always, in Walter Benjamin, and its rigid systemic structuralist views, but it is a good starting point for a discussion of art and artistic agency (Boris Groys in e-flux):

“But art activism cannot escape a much more radical, revolutionary tradition of the aestheticization of politics—the acceptance of one’s own failure, understood as a premonition and prefiguration of the coming failure of the status quo in its totality, leaving no room for its possible improvement or correction. The fact that contemporary art activism is caught in this contradiction is a good thing. First of all, only self-contradictory practices are true in a deeper sense of the word. And secondly, in our contemporary world, only art indicates the possibility of revolution as a radical change beyond the horizon of our present desires and expectations.”

Another text, as good a contrast to the above as any, and outlining the limits of political art would be this one: (Cristina Bogdan in Revista ARTA)

“In fact, Transmediale succeeded in making the digital turn seem like the least radical event in history; it became an excuse for scared Europeans to mourn their loss of privilege and mimic an engagement with social issues all over the globe, specifically the migration disaster. Between these two poles – technology and society – the only connection I could pick up was, you guessed it, capitalism.”

This is all for today and obviously not enough. This will never vanish and is part of everything, always, right now.

weekend reading

The new academic year has started last week. As is custom, here is our weekly digest of noteworthy things we would like to share this weekend:

Part of the fallout of the horrible attack in Halle is a re-emerging discussion of radicalization in online communities and through streaming media.

Yasmina Banaszczuk wrote a well argued piece (in german) in

” Der Täter von Halle versuchte offensichtlich, in seinen Notizen zur Tat ein ähnliches Element zu schaffen, dachte sich verschiedene Achievements aus, die hier nicht wiederholt werden müssen. Die Gamifizierung von Hass und Terror ist ein dankbarer Mechanismus, um Menschen an rechte Gedanken und schließlich an Taten heranzuführen. Es ist jedoch vor allem eins: Teil einer rechten Propagandamaschine. “

Hartware Medienkunstverein recently ran an excellent exhibition on the qualities and effort that goes into fascist and alt-right online communities. Here’s an interview with the curator Inke Arns on

” Wir brauchen neben politischen Antworten auch gesellschaftliche. Es gibt ja schon Initiativen wie #Ichbinhier, “Hass hilft” oder Reconquista Internet von Jan Böhmermann. Davon brauchen wir noch mehr. Am Ende geht es schließlich darum, wem wir das Netz überlassen. Wenn wir sagen, dass es längst zu unserem Alltag gehört, sollten wir es auch verteidigen. “

No idea how to best switch topics. But the AI Now Institute has published its year in review and it is an excellent overview of all the governance and communal happenings around AI this past year:

” There has also been wider use of affect recognition, a subset of facial recognition, which claims to ‘read’ our inner emotions by interpreting the micro-expressions on our face. As psychologist Lisa Feldman Barret showed in an extensive survey paper, this type of AI phrenology has no reliable scientific foundation. But it’s already being used in classrooms and job interviews — often without people’s knowledge. “

In case you want to know more about computational neural networks, how they work technically, why they are not really neural nor really networks, and why training data matters so much, here is a series of videos that explain really well what they are and how they work mathematically:


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And to close this first weekend reading of the new year, here’s Nathaniel Comfort in talking about How science has shifted our sense of identity:

” Across the arc of the past 150 years, we can see both science and scientism shaping human identity in many ways. Developmental psychology zeroed in on the intellect, leading to the transformation of IQ (intelligence quotient) from an educational tool into a weapon of social control. Immunology redefined the ‘self’ in terms of ‘non-self’. Information theory provided fresh metaphors that recast identity as residing in a text or a wiring diagram. “

Kate Bush <3

Coucou, last weekend of July it is so yes, last time I‘ll be in charge of the weekend reading for now. This weekend Christopher Street Day – Berlin Pride, took place, as most of you probably noticed. So I take this as a reason to devote this BlogPost to this particular part of LGBTTIQ*history. This year, the CSD changed its slogan into STONEWALL 50 – EVERY RIOT STARTS WITH YOUR VOICE, as it is the 50th anniversary of the Riots at Stonewall Inn, a Gay-Bar on Manhattan, New York City’s Christopher Street. The Riots happend around the date of June 28, 1969. Those days, the LGBTTIQ* Community fought back after being violently attacked and raided by the police various times. The narration about what exactly happened at the Stonewall Riots (who fought the police, where there struggles within the Queer Community as well) differ. Here is a short documentary, giving an insight into what happened at the Stonewall Riots out of the perspective of some Queers that had been involved.
What strikes me the most, is that there are already voices of queer POCs who felt neglected by the community. Over the past years, the CSD had been critiqued from various sides, as the whole event was rather a commercialized pinkwashing party, then actually a political statement. (The Term pinkwashing is used to describe a variety of marketing and political strategies aimed at promoting products, countries, people or entities through an appeal to gay-friendliness, in order to be perceived as progressive, modern and tolerant. ) A further observation and also a critique is, that the CSD seems to be an event for a community, mostly originating out of a white middle-class background. This problem of bias and racism, even within the community, was continuously addressed by great queer thinkers and activists, such as Audre Lorde. Lorde described herself as a “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia. In relation to non-intersectional feminism in the United States, Lorde famously said:

“those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference – those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older – know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.

Here you can find the full text The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House

Most of us know, that bias, stereotypes, racism, sexism, homo- and transphobia are reproduced by our technologies, as they are NOT NEUTRAL. As they get programmed by humans with certain world views, as they take the already existing, biased content of digital knowledge as learning material. I still want to share this keynote about RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN THE AGE OF AI

The lecture by Mutale Nkonde was given in the frame of an event series called AI TRAPS: Automating Discrimination organized by “Disruption Network Lab” – An ongoing platform of events and research on art, hacktivism and disruption in Berlin.
I feel that luckily, there are many interesting research projects going on, that analyze biased AIs and try to find solutions on how to deal with this increasing problem. Like the Gender Shades Project: . It evaluates the accuracy of AI powered gender classification products, focussing on Face++, Microsoft and IBM.

Furthermore, we need to understand that the biases are not just a problem of software and machine learning gone wrong, it is as well build in the material that is used to create our digital devices. Some of you already know about it, but for those who never heard the term “Shirley Card” – Here a short summary on how Kodak literally blocked POCs out of their photographs.

Color film was designed for a precise consumer market whose likeness was on a printed image called “The Shirley.”
Shirley cards, named after a former Kodak studio model, were images used as the standard for color calibration in photo labs all over the world. When a lab ordered a Kodak printer, the company sent Shirley cards with them as a guide. Technicians would adjust the color settings to match the model’s skin tone.
Models for Shirley cards were always white women.

A similar thing happened nowadays with the pre-set filter on Instagram (not the face mesh ones though – last month Instagram changed their policy, so know pretty much everybody can design face filters, which are used by some queer and feminist artists as an empowering tool.)

Alright, I will end this BlogPost with the promise I made you about adding a Kate Bush Song to every Post, which fits perfectly as Kate Bush has been an Icon for the Queer Community within the past 40 years. Why is that so? Here is an opinion:

And here another one:

“I’ve heard people say time and time again that they would kick aside their lounge room furniture and spin to Wuthering Heightswhenever it came on. For other people, they see it as a ‘reclaiming’ of their personal power from past relationship traumas. In an increasingly grey and punitive world, you could even say it’s an act of defiance. I know it’s an overused word these days, but there’s an authenticity to Kate Bush that’s inspirational. And I think that’s her legacy, really.”

And here it comes – WUTHERING HEIGHTS from 1979

Thanks for reading. SOOOOOOOOON !


Weekend Reading.

Hi Everyone, it’s me again. So this week I went to Impulstanz Vienna ( – it’s a international dance festival, which was founded in 1984 and by now one of the largest festivals of contemporary dance and performance worldwide.

It is a five week program, with different Workshops, Performances and research projects every week plus intensive Workshops on the weekends.

So Focus of this Blogpost will be a little resume of my festival experience as this was pretty much the only thing I have done this week.

I took a range of different workshops. One of them was Gaga People. Some of you might know Gaga as a dance practice, as it has gotten quite popular within the last years (+you can attend Gaga classes in Berlin, too). Originally, Gaga comes from Israel. Here a short summary taking out of the wiki article on Gaga:

Gaga is a movement language nd pedagogy developed by Batsheva Dance Company director and teacher Ohad Naharin. Used in Israeli contemporary dance[1] Gaga has two educational tracks which are taught in Israel as well as several other countries: Gaga/Dancers is intended for trained dancers and comprises the daily training of the Batsheva Dance Company; Gaga/People is designed for the general public and requires no dance training.[2] Many dancers have stated that after taking Gaga classes, their passion for dance has been re-ignited; they have found new ways to connect to their inner beast without being self-conscious about how the movement looks while at the same time discovering how to listen to their bodies/self.[1]

Gaga students improvise their movements based on somatic experience and imagery described by the teacher, which provides a framework that promotes unconventional movement.[3] The imagery is intended to guide the performer’s movement expressivity by focusing attention on specific body regions.

And here a small interview with Ohad Naharin´on Gaga + visual material where you can see people practicing.

Now some of you might think – wow, that’s pretty hippie and esoteric. And yes, I agree, and usually, I am pretty allergic if dance gets to feely and eso BUT I really think, that the way, of how Gaga (depending on the teacher of course) can change how you perceive your body while you move, is very unique. Besides, most Gaga classes I have attend were a real big conglomerate of diverse bodie. Differnt Ages, different shapes and sizes and I am pretty fond of that, too.

Ok, just for the sake of completeness, I name the other workshops and their teachers I attended: One by Kenji Takagi, which was about finding physical solutions within the movement abilities of your body for exercises and tasks he proposes. Then making them a pattern of movement by repeating , so you can remember them. In the end of every class he would structure and time those movements and turn them into a choreography. Because non dancers as well as dancers participated, the movement qualities differed a lot in a positive way – which was actually quite beautiful.

The other one is by Josh Mckain – we basically did a heavy warm up and then danced an alternative choreography to Kate Bushs „Running up that Hill (Deal with God)“ – this was so much fun. Pure Love!


(for those who read the last post – YES! Now I will post a different Kate Bush Song in every blog entry I am going to write)

Last Workshop is with Florentina Holzinger and Marija Malencia – it’s a still ongoing intensive class, where they are working with elements of Kick-Boxing as a tool for empowerment. For this year’s intensive edition of the workshop the designer Joanna Zabielska, is constructing a boxing ring with the help of the participants, in which the final fights going to take place. It’s so nice to experience how the group connects with each other through that heavy physical practice of boxing.

Concerning the performance program, I unfortunately didn’t get to see any of the Red Pieces by the danish Dancer and Choreographer Mette Ingvartsen, but I know some of her work and would highly recommend to go watch it, if you have the change. The Red Pieces is a series of four performance pieces, reflecting on the history of sexuality, as it has been shown in performance and performance art since the 1960s to today.

In her pieces, Ingvartsen deals with nudity and gender relations in very different artistic compositions, with the cultural construction and manipulation of bodies up to the ways how we have sex together

Here is a recording of the performance 7 pleasures:


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And another great performance I actually have been seeing was ANDRADE choreographed by Michiel Vandevelde (Belgium) and danced by Belgium based artist Bryana Fritz.


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Ok. you can check out the website of Impulstanz anyways, as they’re a lot of great and inspiring people giving workshops or doing performances.

And for those of you who enjoy reading theoretic text rather than personal experience: here is an older text by Multimedia Artist Hito Steyerl about the death of the internet and why it moves offline.

Thanks for reading! Have a great rest weekend and a beautiful summer week.

weekend reading

Hey y’all, sorry for the late weekend reading. The reason was a short six-day residency I did together with Leoni Vöglin and Fabian Raith in Muenster, at the Center for Literature / Burg Hülshoff, where we pretty much spend our whole week (with no internet or mobile reception. yeah, we are still alive, but it was hard) – so in this Blogspot I will summarize our research. It will be dedicated to Burg Hülshoff, Anette Droste Hülshoff, Biedermeier, (Future)Museums, Feminism, and Species Entanglement.

Our workspace was located within the old chambers of Anette von Droste Hülshoff, an actually pretty famous female author, poet and conductor within the epoche of Biedermeier.

Burg Hülshoff is the castle where the famous German author Annette von Droste-Hülshoff was born. Currently, the Center for Literature is being developed here. Literature and: film, performance, dance, music, media and web art, architecture, society.

As you can see, the space we have been working for the last week is the “authentic” living environment of the nobility Hülshoff. I put Quotation marks as many pieces of furniture were bought in the ’70s and were used to reconstruct the living environment of Annette Droste Hülshoff out of a vision of how an authentic Biedermeierroom might look like. This is a great showcase on how especially institutions like museums claim to tell the historical truth, but of course, never reveal the circumstances that were influential on how things are exhibited. Most museums still have to deal with a postcolonialist practice, in which a mainly white, male, western perspective is imposed on any kind of object that is getting exhibited. The Book “Museum Object Lessons for a Digital Age” by Haidy Geismar is dealing with that topic. Furthermore, she reflects on how the process of Digitalisation is influencing the way objects are treated and the possibility to overcome the narration of a simple truth, of a single story with the help of digital media.
Here you find a free version of the book:

So we decided to enhance the museum with another informational layer using Augmented Reality. You could track a certain object within the museum (like a picture of Anette Droste Hülshoff) and then a Video, a Text, an Audiofile would appear. Within that AR layer, we tried to establish a present-day discourse. As during the last week, we’ve been discussing in which matter nowadays societies could be called Neo-Biedermeier. The original epoche of Biedermeier, which was an era in Central Europe that lasted from 1815 till 1848, was marked by wars and political and social upheavals.

It began with the time of the Congress of Vienna at the end of the Napoleonic Wars and ended with the onset of the European Revolutions of 1848. The effect was for society, in general, to concentrate on the domestic and (at least in public) the non-political. 

Writers, painters, and musicians began to stay in safer territory, and the emphasis on home life for the growing middle-class meant a blossoming of furniture design and interior decorating.

Neo-Biedermeier, therefore, would be the conservative Backlash in present times: the pull-back into the private household, the regaining strength of the core family, role allocation by biological sex/gender, patriotism, retreat into nature, wellness or yoga. Even the simplification of life and the urge to have a clean and tidy household. For that reason, we had one AR installation, dealing with the Netflix Phenomenon Marie Kondo. The KonMarie method is a way on how to declutter your (which is subject for a museum like Burg Hülshoff, as they are renovating and rethinking the concept of the museum). At the same time, Marie Kondo is a needly dressed, almost perfect looking woman. The suitable example of the sequacious housewife it seems. If you check her website for certified KonMariTM consultants, nearly all of them are women.

Despite its progressive and diverse casting that has become synonymous with Netflix’s brand— Tidying Up’s clients are a range of ages, ethnic backgrounds, and sexualities—Kondo always arbitrarily assigns women the kitchen and men the garage during the “komono” portion of the tidying.

We are deadling with conflict, that was already heavily criticized by the feminist movement in the 60s and 70s. The ongoing battle of unpaid house- and care work as a source for capitalist prosperity, nourished through the exploitation of female workforce. To address this conflict, we implemented a text by Sylvia Federici – a postmarxist scientist, philosopher, and feminist activist, into the Marie Kondo Installation. You can find the complete text here:

It must be mentioned, that Anette Droste Hülsdorf was quite the opposite of what seemed to be expected of a woman at that time. She did not want to marry, she was well educated, wrote books, collected fossils and plants and conducted music. She was far ahead of her time.

There would be much more to talk about, but as you already lack the weekend to read all this, I’ll close it down now. Last but not least, a short clip out of the 80s from my all-time favorite theorist Donna Haraway. Within that short clip, the talks about the representation of nature through humankind (which is a strong topic within the times of Biedermeier as well) She questions, who produces nature? Who names it? Who is representing it? UNPACK THE LAYERS OF MEANINGS!!!


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And of course, one part of the installation covered that topic as well. It looked like this:

Ok, that’s it. I hope you had fun reading! See you next weekend.

weekend reading

Hello and Welcome everybody to the weekly weekend reading. This time hosted by Janne Nora Kummer aka JNK. I have a research position within the Masters Program Spiel && Object, engaging with the question how digitalization changes the perception and construction of the (human) body (Most likely, there will be at least some posts relating to that research).

Ok, but first, I want to tell you about the beautiful workshop one of the Master Students – Anton Krause to be exact – gave for his fellow students and me last week on how to use RASPBERRY PI.

Raspberry Pi is a  Single Board Computer (SBC) that run on different operating systems, such as Raspian, NOOBS or Linus. You can use it for all kinds of crazy stuff, but as well as for really solid operations (where you usually would use a major computer for. We experimented with connecting live cams and enabled live streaming, as well as interacting with  Sonic Pi  – a software to live Code Music (which is actually a lot of fun)! by using midi signals and  OSC messages.

Hands up for Anton!

We wanted to get more comfortable with Raspberry Pi, as we need it to execute a project in August, where a few of us will travel to PANAMA to DINACON (Digital Naturalism Conference) the plan is to build a little observation robot – So stay tuned for next months weekend reading to see if we manage!

I very much would like to focus this post on James Bridle, an artist, writer, and publisher based in London. His work deals with the ways in which the digital, networked world reaches into the physical, offline one.

Currently, I am reading his new book, „The New Dark Age“.  He summons the impacts of information technology, how it arose and then rather obscured than illuminated the operations of power in this world.

The sense of powerlessness that this reliance on invisible infrastructures engenders is, Bridle proposes, at the heart of recent social unrest and political upheaval in the West.

He states, that the issue is not the availability of this information – we are, as even the NSA has complained, drowning in data – but its organization into legible and compelling narratives. So New Dark Age functions as a call for literacy rather than Luddism, on the principle that the apparatuses of oppression should be reclaimed rather than destroyed.

The sense of powerlessness that this reliance on invisible infrastructures engenders is, Bridle proposes, at the heart of recent social unrest and political upheaval in the West.

The title of the book is referring to a phrase from HP Lovecraft’s short story, “The Call of Cthulhu”. Lovecraft’s new dark age is, paradoxically, a function of enlightenment – it’s the searchlight science shines into the heart of human darkness that brings on a crazed barbarism. 

Bridle’s solution is to propose “real systemic literacy”, alongside a willingness to be imprecise – cloudy, even – when it comes to our thinking about, for example, the cloud – embracing a ‘clouded’ state of ‘practical unknowing’.

Rather than disentanglement, New Dark Age argues convincingly for a more informed integration with the technologies we have created, made possible by new solidarities between citizens armed with the facts. 

If you are curious about his work, check out his website – you find a quite detailed presentation of his work and links to his single projects. I recommend checking out the cloudindx project (it is part of the book as well)

"We often think about the internet as something remote, distant, and ephemeral, and use terms like "the cloud" to describe it. But in fact, the internet is very real, and very solid: a world-wide infrastructure of computers, cables, routers - and people. And that infrastructure means its connected to real places, with real territory, real citizens, and real politics."

Let’s drop a little musical suggestion – While reading, you could listen to cloudbusting – a song from Kate Bush about the relationship between psychologist and philosopher Wilhelm Reich and his son and how they spend time  “cloudbusting”, a rain-making process which involved using a machine  called cloudbuster, designed and built by Reich.

One more interesting project by Bridle is Citizen Ex – you can implement it as an AddOn into your Browser

Every time you connect to the internet, you pass through time, space, and law. Information is sent out from your computer all over the world and sent back from there. This information is stored and tracked in multiple locations, and used to make decisions about you, and determine your rights. These decisions are made by people, companies, countries, and machines, in many countries and legal jurisdictions.
Citizen Ex shows you where you are on the web, and what this might mean for you: your algorithmic citizenship.

I will end with an unfunny FunFact about the Term „HANSbremse“ ?  – Have you ever heard of it?

In the history of the German Democratic Republic (since 1949), there have been 692 secretaries of state – a very influential and well-paid position within the German governmental System. During that time period, 19 nominees out of 692 where woman, but above all, 24 nominees out of 692 had the forename Hans. So there were more Hanses then women in charge. 

This article is about how this club of white middle-aged man supports each other blocking and maintaining their powerpositions and therefore keeping any non-cis-white-male taking those positions.