Masterstudiengang Spiel und Objekt

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weekend reading

Dear friends,

our school discord channel

Both faculty and students are currently in the process of continuously assessing the situation. In the coming days and weeks, we will develop a stronger online presence, to make our work and research, but also spaces for discussion and collaboration available to you. Right now, we are working internally to provide stable infrastructure for communication and social exchange.

We have had experience using the software Discord for organizing Spiel und Objekt, and will be using it more to provide classes, lectures and support. We have also moved the school proper to discord, recreating similar channels of communication to what we had when we still saw each other. It’s not the same, but it works well to provide a space for atemporal and documented discussion, when email and phone calls and skype can all only provide some part of that. It is also comforting to see hundreds of people checking in and out throughout the day.

With all these hastily established digital tools come new challenges. Limiting your screen time, organizing your availability, and, separating channels of communication between work and social life. Making appointments, even though people can get notifications on their phone, and providing help to those that have not had the necessity to develop their online literacy are super-important. It is new grounds for all of us, at least on this scale. The amount of notifications, experimental ways of creating culture and always online mindset can lead to heightened stress, especially when your day-to-day is changing so rapidly.

We firmly believe, that theatre is a shared social space. What we don’t know yet, is how these social spaces work without bodily co-presence. We will experiment and share, just as many of you do, and we will try to create groups for people to share their experiences, and create safe spaces for experimentation, where mistakes can be made and not everything has to be for everyone. For that, we want to take our time, and slowly establish these new channels, so as to make them robust and understandable and meaningful and not overextend ourselves. There are many weeks ahead of us, where urgent social and medical issues will rightful be at the center of our attention. But we will try to continually inform you about the services, knowledges and tools we can provide.

Weekend Reading

We have just returned from an international workshop on participatory and interactive theatre that was held at FFT Düsseldorf this past week. As you might imagine, the recent measures regarding the Corona-Virus pandemic have left their mark on everyone involved. Still, during the past couple of days, many conversations took place, many ideas were exchanged and we started accumulating and sharing a lot of knowledge on digital tools, dramaturgies and best practices, that we are in the process of sharing more widely.

Preliminary Documentation happened in Form of a Zine created by Participants, which you can read and download here:

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More Information has been published to the Wiki.

We are both saddened to witness the complete shutdown of cultural life in Germany and see this as a reasonable course of action, giving current developments. Our hearts go out to those in need of aid, be it physically, mentally or financially.

We do believe that theatre is, first and foremost, a social gathering, and that digital spaces can only go so far in recreating this space. We also understand, that not having any sort of cultural input (or output) for an undetermined amount of time, is an untenable situation. In the coming weeks, we will be evaluating how we can provide information regarding digital toolsets that might help people with their artistic output.

As for our university – as with all other universities, we have postponed all physical lectures until at least April 20th. Our application period will still start tomorrow with the publication of our online form. And we will keep you updated on any developments.

Stay home, stay safe.

&& Prof. Hannah Perner Wilson

We are super-happy to announce, that Hannah Perner-Wilson has joined the Spiel und Objekt team as a Professor for digital media.

Hannah’s work combines conductive materials and craft techniques to develop new styles of building electronics that emphasize materiality and process. She creates working prototypes to demonstrate the kinds of electronic artifacts we might build for ourselves in a world of electronic diversity. A significant part of her work goes into documenting and disseminating her techniques so that they can be applied by others. She is a frequent collaborator with artist Mika Satomi.

In order to get to know Hannah a bit better, we asked 4 questions relating to her practice and the performing arts:

S&&O: What is your current research interest?

HPW: My current work is leading me to explore making’s potential as more than a means of prototyping and production.

We blame our styles and systems of making for much of what we see to be wrong in the world today (environmental pollution, resource depletion, exploitation of human labor, capitalism and consumerism). Yet my own experience of making has led me to believe that it holds many other potentials. Making as an opportunity to re-imagine other ways of creation and being in the world. Making as a process of understanding the world and our current situation. Making as a means for re-making our relations with the world.

Read more

SO! Magazine release

The very first issue of the student-created SO magazine is now online for you to read:

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Happy reading, Feel free to download and share!

weekend reading

It’s semester break, so the readings will be rather short these coming weeks. And, sometimes, a bit late in the day.

A durch court has haltet facial recognition usage, after its algorithm turns out to be biased in its selection (via wired):

The case demonstrates how privacy regulations and human rights laws can rein in government use of automation. It’s among several recent examples of European regulations limiting government programs that turn algorithms and artificial intelligence on citizens. In the US, however, such guardrails generally are lacking.

Teens are grouping up on instagram to avoid personalized data tracking (via cnet);

But unlike many of Instagram’s users, Mosley and her high school friends in Maryland had figured out a way to fool tracking by the Facebook-owned social network. On the first visit, her Explore tab showed images of Kobe Bryant. Then on a refresh, cooking guides, and after another refresh, animals.

And the news that kept everyone occupied all week. And will keep us occupied for the foreseeable future. Bye for now.

weekend reading

In today’s weekend reading: Games as simulated experiences, offering agency in the face of uncontrollable circumstances. We need to talk about this more.

And hopefully on a deeper level than this article on Quartz (although props to Jane Li for bringing attention to this):

On China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform, many joked darkly about the similarities between the games and the real situation. “The best way to get rid of fear is to face the fear itself,” wrote 17173, a Chinese game news site, commenting on Plague Inc.’s sudden rise in popularity. Some users said that in order to have a more immersive experience, they chose China as the origin country that exports the virus to other regions in the game.

Regarding sustainability and materiality of digital media, Low Tech Magazine reports on their solar powered website:

A website that goes off-line in evening could be an interesting option for a local online publication with low anticipated traffic after midnight. However, since Low-tech Magazine’s readership is almost equally divided between Europe and the USA this is not an attractive option. If the website goes down every night, our American readers could only access it during the morning.

And finally, the thing I am reading right now:Rodrigo Ochigame on The long history of algorithmic fairness.

Take care, and hug a British person.