Masterstudiengang Spiel und Objekt

hier das Neue


work-in-process: running in circles

The third in a series of work-in-process conversations with S&&O masters student Lena Eikenbusch. Lena is working with clay, a material with properties similar to her own. She is running in circles, full of energy, versed in using words to express her inner state.

Our conversation was a back and forth sending each other PDFs via discord, working graphically with text, illustrations and layout. The conversation bellow is raw and unedited.

work-in-process: El Estallido is a hyperobject

The second in a series of work-in-process conversations with the S&&O masters student Tomás Montes Massa, who is just about to start rehearsals with a tight group of friends. They will be working together on a piece about the hyperobject “el estallido social” (the social outburst) in Chile. Their approach will be intimate and personal, and will draw upon their biographies.

This conversation took part on Discord over the course of one week. The conversation bellow is raw and unedited.

%%%%%% question_1 %%%%%%

HPW_ before i ask you to talk about your current master thesis process, i wanted to remember back to the time you were deciding what direction you would go with this work. deciding where to focus one’s time&energy lies at the beginning of every process, and is often experienced as a branching moment that leads one to travel down one path and not another. just over a year ago, you performed your piece “Amphibian prayer” at the S&&O All Together Now event. this work staged a ritual for us humans to deal with our grief over the loss of biodiversity, and our sense of guilt for being part of the problem. shortly after this work, protests broke out in your home country Chile. you became very involved in this political action via the internet, and felt a real sense of distance and inability to join the experiences and actions your friends and family were part of. when it came to deciding your masters topic, i remember you telling me that you felt torn between wanting to do something in response to the violent political escalations in Chile, while also wanting to continue draw our attention to the more-than-human suffering caused by our human impact (on climate change, biodiversity….). a tough decision between two big&important topics, both with current immediacy. could you recall what this moment was like for you, and have you thought back to it since setting off down the path you chose? and, now in retrospect, does the decision feel like a branching moment, or have you experienced cross-overs between the two topics?

TM_ Yeah I remember that conversation we had. I think it was in the beginning of November in our atelier, the Ladenlokal. That makes sense because the protests in Chile started the 18th of October. I was emotionally very overwhelmed and exhausted with the overflow of images and news, it had been three weeks of stress and little sleep, I was very much absorbed by the social media content concerning “el estallido social” (the social outburst). I oscillated between hysteric courage, pride, hope on the one side, because I never expected such a powerful, massive overarching political and social movement to explode, I didn´t expect the people to stand up against the neoliberal systemic injustice of decades. My friends and family and my city and all the country on the streets in a sort of carnival for dignity. And on the otherside I felt powerless as smartphone spectator of a revolution fire raging at home, I felt frustration, wrath, hatred, sadness and despair, all due to the state terrorism, it felt like a regression to Pinochets’ dictatorship, in which my parents grew up in. Curfew, the army with tanks on the streets of Santiago, murders, torture, over 360 people with mutilated eyes, shot in the face the police. I woke up every day to see the death toll of the night´s events. A Nightmare. So the decision for me was a matter of urgency. In a hypothetical world without the protests at home, I guess I would´ve gone further with my fascination for animals and biodiversity as inspiration for the masters thesis. But my heart and head were so busy with Chile, that I saw in the masters project the opportunity to channel and focus my emotions and energy in a creative process, which would hopefully help me to give a meaning to all I was trying to cope with.

I’ve thought about this moment and I was always quite conscious of this path division. I’ll definitely be back to biodiversity inspired art as soon as I can. There are a few cross overs though between the two topics. One of the major demands of the social movement in Chile is the recognition of Native Rights. The Mapuche people live and have lived for centuries in the territory of Wallmapu, a geographic area comprehended between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans with the southern Andes as its center, in today´s Chilean an Argentinian southern territory. The Chilean State is since the 1860´s (and way more than the Spanish colonizers!!) responsible & guilty for human hunting, cultural genocide, structural racism and oppression against the Mapuche people. El Estallido Social fights for the recognition of Mapuche Rights: a pluri-national constitution, the recognition of Mapuzungun as an official language, the demilitarization of Wallmapu -which is full of military brigades protecting the interests and property of timber companies, owned by Chilean oligarchs and foreign investors-, the devolution of land to Mapuche communities which has always belonged to their ancestors, political autonomy for the Mapuche nation and guaranteed representation in parlament. Mapuche means ” people of the earth” (“Mapu” = Earth, “che” = suffix for “people”) and as their very name says, they enjoy an earth-centered cosmovision, where the existence and life of humans plays but a small part in the cycles of Nature. Nature is sacred for the Mapuche, and so it is for me. I think this fucked-up late capitalist humanity could learn plenty from the wisdom of Native Cultures such as the Mapuche. The vast majority of us chileans have Mapuche blood, have Mapuche roots, use Mapuzungun words in our chilean spanish. Its time we recognized it and its time for the state to do some repairing actions.

That snippet is from my current Unity project for the masters thesis. Its a 3d model from national park “Conguillío”, my favorite national park in chile and the world, which is deep in Wallmapu territory. I´ve been camping and hiking there many times and can´t wait to return. Conguillío is so beautiful , with its forest of millenary Araucarias, its glacier lakes and the Llaima volcano. I made this landscape in Blender with the open street maps add-on. Modelling nature motives in Blender quenches my thirst for a more nature driven art.

%%%%%% question_2 %%%%%%

HPW_ thank you tomas for remembering back to that moment. i can only imagine how demanding it has been for you to experience such a powerful movement and feel so distanced. in your SO! publication article “#ChileDesperto – Digitaler Aktivismus und der soziale Aufruhr” you describe the opportunities and difficulties of new networked movements enabled by smartphones & the internet. you end the article commenting that in march 2020 things will continue….. since then corona virus has also spread to chile… could you very briefly describe how the el estallido social has developed in 2020?

TM_ Corona brought the protests to a very tense status quo and showed in a radical way how healthcare is a very unequally distributed, private privilege in Chilean society. The government has done a terrible job in protecting the population from the pandemic and its economic crisis. Communities have organized autonomously and locally to host “ollas comunes” (common pots) to feed the hungry. All smartphone owners spent many hours a day from mid March till August / September hanging around on social media, discussing el estallido, the contigency and well now the promise is now for October. Corona regulations are now somewhat relaxed, and protests are starting again with eagerness of celebrating the 18th of October as the first anniversary of el Estallido. And on the 25th of October is the plebiscite for the new constitution. Plenty action at the moment.

%%%%%% question_3 %%%%%%

HPW_ my first two questions were all about the political backdrop to your current work. now i want to ask what your creative/artisitc process has been like in response to it. how have you been working this year and what have you been working on? has your creative practice been able to provide a source of meaning-making to all you have recently experienced?

Well during the first semester in which we had the workshops with you (no screens) and Friedrich (vernetzte Räume) and I was very busy with learning, doing and trying to adapt to corona modus of studying and working at home, which I still don’t manage well. So until July I was building this model of Santiago in Unity with the online multiplayer game structure. At that moment it was important for me to show how diverse artforms have taken over the city and been the footprint of the social movement: music, graffiti and muralism, light installations, performances. This Ill keep for November. But after our “Public Void” work in process showing, I realized I don’t want to build a computer game, neither something that only takes place on a screen. Then I went to Linz with the Enacting Innovation project, during this time I left my project somewhat at rest. But I learned interesting stuff which I definitely want to apply to the project. For instance I programmed with the twitter4j library in processing, I want to use this tool to filter out important hashtags and causes that have driven the digital dimension of el estallido. I also got to use the CineMachine library for camera movements and film making in Unity. I´ll also use cine machine to make sequences of the places I want to represent from home. Animation is just I thing that really interests me and parallel to our Spiel & Objekt programme Ive dived into the world of 3d modelling, character rigging and animation. So the camera component is a super good skill to continue developing, I’m excited about that.(edited)[3:40 PM]And well then I thought… I don’t want to make an experience with only a digital interface. I really miss copresential liveness in all its forms from the prepandemic life and I fear that performing arts are animals in danger of extinction as we know them. I have a few good friends in Berlin that are musicians, performers, dancers, cinematographers, and they are all dealing with the stressy inner monologue “how on earth am I going to continue my work, develop my passion and make a living in this corona world in a country that isn’t my own”. Anyway so I decided I`m gonna work with my friends. It is grabbing again, like in “Amphibian Prayer” last year, quite a ritual and biographical turn. I’m excited to start the rehearsals.

snippet of a twitter4j draw window
processing code snippet
snippet of my online multiplayer santiago in unity

%%%%%% question4 %%%%%%

HPW_ it seems that both your creative process and the social outburst have experienced a period of fermentation. this sense of grabbing as you called it, sounds like it could be the meeting of your creative/conceptual/political ideas with your established and newly won creative skills, in a way that allows you to become active. possibly you are now entering a state of flow, which can come when our skills meet the task at hand. in your case, the transition from researching and learning to now rehearsing and producing something concrete that you can then share (with us:-). are you surprised to notice that you are tending towards creating an in-person performance and not a game or virtual experience? what happens in the “rehearsal” part of your process? how will you be “rehearsing” together with your friends? how/will you be involving them in the political ideas “behind” your work?

TM_ Hmmmm well no I´m not surprised I´m creating a copresential performance. During this year I´ve noticed how much I miss in-person performing arts (as a spectator and performer) so a dominantly digital experience (like the multiplayer online game for instance) didn´t feel like an approriate format for this project. I know it’s a super general comment, but I’ve spent enough time this year looking at a screen to want to design a screen-based experience. And well with a game… I´ve had my thoughts. I know that on the one hand the whole estallido and the current chilean city-scape could be super interesting for a dramatised, role-playing society simulation or so. But for this project I´m not interested in strategies nor in the analytical distance / protection of assigning roles. Nor am I interested in relativising the roles of certain actors of the social movement such as the government, the parlament, the business elite, the cops and military. On a more prtactical level, I also think that corona-motivated regulations of interpersonal contact could be pretty adverse to the spontaneous interaction between players in a society simulation game. The project will rather have a more theatrical and biographical approach. I’d still like a particitative scene with the audience though. But not from the safety of a fictional role. I’d like a direct action in the social media of choice of each participant. There is one gesture that has become viral on the streets and digital spaces. You cover an eye with your hand because: (as I think I mentioned) the police shot over 360 people in the eye. Covering your eye when you see the police to denounce statal violence, express solidarity to the victims, that for the plebiscite you vote “apruebo + convención constituyente”: to to vote in favor of the writing of a new constitution discussed and written by an assembly of democratically elected people that don’t belong to the parlament.
I want a moment in which everyone covers their eye!
and posts it somewhere

illustration by comic artist @guidokidsalinas posted on instagram

Ummm well for the rehearsals I asked everyone to write a biographical text on their relationship to home and to the estallido. That will be the starting point. And I want my friends to feel comfortable sharing their experiences in the way they best feel it. So well Noelia is a percussionist and drummer, Tomás is a guitarrist and composer, Ángel is a film artist and Pancho is a choreographer. Well and I’m an actor so I guess I wanna talk in front of an audience hehehe. We are all kindda eager for some action. I think music will be pretty important for the project, which has also been maybe the most (for me) breathe taking action that has occured / occurs in the protests: music. People singing and playing in public space. Singing Víctor Jara, Violeta Parra, Los Prisioneros, Inti Illimani, Illapu, Ana Tijoux, and so many more. The (re)living of the musical heritage of our culture has been the most inspiring and beautiful phenomenon of the movement.


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

collective performance of ” el derecho de vivir en paz” (the right to live in peace, rom Víctor Jara) on the 25th of October 2019 in Santiago.

music unites us

same song which we sung here in berlin in front of the embassy on the 23rd of october

ummm so to the third question: we want to address the political from rather a intimate and personal approach. Pancho, Tomás and myself, we all grew up in Chile so we all have a very intense relationship, areas of more interest and personal opinions concerning el estallido. I know Tomás is really interested in “the death of journalism” as he calls it, the politics of control in information and media, so thats a subject he’ll raise up. Pancho is super motivated by how the protests have awoken collective action, local organisation and the embodied reappropriation / claiming of public space. My attention has been rather focused on Native Rights, Mapuche cosmovision, history and the reconfiguring of Mapuche identity in contemporary discourses. As for Noelia and Ángel, they both are from Andalucía (Spain) and well Chile and Spain share plenty similarities in their shadey (XXth & XXIst century) political history: long fascist dictatorships, deep societal roots in catholic partriarchy, really bad transitions to neoliberal democracy with even worse justice systems, the role of the business class, corruption, social riots. Noelia is excited about the feminist power of el estallido: Argentina, Chile and Spain have quite similar feminist landscapes in that sense and are in constant exchange. In a way Chiles problems are pretty similar problems to those of, I dunno, Brasil and Libannon for instance. Many countries / societies are in a similar crisis and I guess that makes it easy to relate a local conflict to the global picture, or to another local conflict. I’m not sure what Ángel wants to bring up. El Estallido is such an overarching and multidimensional hyperobject! We`ll just tackle it from our biographies, because we can’t really hope to cover it extensively.


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

“Un violador en tu camino” (a rapist in your way) from “Collectivo Las Tesis” (femenist street performance collective from Valparaíso, Chile). This flash mob went around the globe as well.

%%%%%%%% question_5 %%%%%%

HPW_ just to come back to the “rehearsal” question….. i am left still curious to know more about how you are coming/working together to create together? are you taking on a role of director…. curator, conductor….? or are you avoiding this distinctive role? do you spend much time discussing “how” you work together, or this comes naturally?

TM_ yup ummmmm well the rehearsals haven´t started yet but yes i will be doing the dramaturgy, or so I´d like to think of it. The setting objectives for the rehearsals and putting together of the elements will be my responsibility.

%%%%%%%% comment_6 %%%%%%

HPW_ i propose we pause our conversation here and i check back in another week or two to ask you about how the rehearsals go!

work-in-process: learning to listen?

The first in a series of work-in-process conversations with the S&&O masters students Anna Vera Kelle and Leoni Voegelin, who are currently amid a collaborative process of developing work that will be shown as part of Theater der Dinge at Schaubude Berlin as well as at the next S&&O group presentation on 7.10.2020.

This conversation took part on Discord over the course of one week, where I wrote them one (or sometimes two) question at a time and they responded individually. The conversation bellow is raw and unedited.


HPW_ In both your written masters thesis you demonstrate your abilities to situate your own thinking within contemporary theoretical discourses. using language as a material for communicating your ideas. but you are also makers of technological things and creators of situations. before i ask you about the piece you are currently collaborating on, i wanted to ask how you manage (or how you experience) the transition (the back and forth) between making & thinking?

AVK_ That’s exactly the stage we are facing right now. how to transition our thoughts into an experience. For me this is what theatre is about to translate thoughts and ideas into a situation and experience. In a way it’s a way of proving the ideas. when ideas don’t turn out it brings us back to the question, is it the idea that doesn’t work or is it the translation that doesn’t work?

But I’m somehow avoiding your question.
Maybe these are the steps:
– theoretical idea/issue and the question why do we want to address this on stage?
– looking for examples of it in the world that surrounds us
– how can we translate the example into an artificial and condensed experience?
– making/building – testing/proving

LV_Was für eine passende Frage. I think this ist the troubelshooting we have to go through right now and it is not easy. The making level has to keep up with the thinking level, because it is how we want to express ourselfes in the end. Before we can create situations for others, for an audience, we have to find ways to create situations for us, that allow us to make (technological things). So maybe the question is, if we have to make it for ourselfes – not only first, sondern in total? I guess only if we manage this step, it is also a Mehrwert and an interesting experience for others, because it deals with things we have been engaged with, it deals with a process of thinking and making.


HPW_ “The making level has to keep up with the thinking level” oh, i like this statement. it is something i experience in my own work. and often choose materials&techniques that allow for my making to keep up with my thinking. like apples and toothpicks….. ATtiny microcontrollers and paper….. LEDs and honey….
so now i’m super curious to ask you to introduce the piece you are currently collaborating on. what are the ideas that brought you together, what materials might you use to translating them into “an artificial and condensed experience”? and what does your workspace look like!?

AVK_ We are into non-human agents and how we can invite them into theatre performances. The topic of festival Theater der Dinge at Schaubude Berlin this year is “Künstliche Körper” and they ask “Wie verändert die digitale Transformation unsere Vorstellungen und unsere Bilder von Körpern?”. We started to ask ourselves where our body starts and where it ends and how we can use digital instruments like microcontroller and sensors to explore that and how our body communicates with our surrounding without us even noticing. They invited us to present our exploration there.

LV_ The questions that we are engaged with are questions that deal with perception. How do we react to our surroundings is something we might think of if we walk along the noisy streets of Berlin. But how does our surrounding world react to us is more tricky to answer. It all depends on which scale you want to anwer this question. But what we share as a thought is, that there are reactions and they perpetuate. There are not only actions and reactions, there is much more, that is not as obvious and as traceable like the first. To answer your question about what the piece might become; we want to create a space bzw. a situation, where you trigger actions or reactions by beeing present and therefore enter a Handlungsraum. You can call it an observatory of your own body and it’s influence on your surrounding. But think it small. We are still exploring

///////////////// question 3 ////////////// 

HPW_ theories of non-human actors, more-than-human agency, new materialism…. have opened our minds to believing that different perspectives on life are equally valid and valuable. these theories have made us hungry for experiencing life as many material realities. what attracts you to theories of non-human agency? why do you think it is important to share and explore these theories with others? what potential do you see these theories hold for contributing to more desirable futures?

AVK_ For me it’s really about getting rid of some ideas of the enlightment that support ideas of (natural) hierachies, humans dominating the world as well as the absurd idea of objectivity. I mean it’s funny that we actually believe that we can look from outside and pretend not to be part of. The idea of objectivity is strongly connected to domination and would be great to create experiences that don’t reproduce this phenomena. I think the discourses you mentioned can help us with that. Also to see (global) social issues and the climate change as part of the same problem.Bruno Latour describes that really catchy in his book “Das terrestrische Manifest”.

LV_ I am going with Anna Vera. There are physical laws and social agreements which we consider important and which define our space and our interactions. But what puzzles and fascinates me is how other living beings, spaces and situations are structured. How they develop and change. How is interaction and action for others, more-than-humans? Of course I can only try to understand, but it is a beginning. The becoming-with of things becomes more and more important and we have also to understand that we do not live in a vacuum. Maybe we can learn from our environment how things can work. By acknowledging others, we can ask ourselves questions about our world. What are our laws and agreements? What are our problems and possibilities? This system may not necessarily be balanced, but what it is, in any case, is a collection of a multitude of beings and of successive moments.

Here you can see Leoni experimenting with a microphone sensor and a piezo that “responses” to the data the microphone sensor depicts. Also, she is wearing the breathing
-belt that is connected to a vibration motor that moves salt on an overhead projector. That’s what makes the moving dots as well as the buzzing sound. I always think of insects or microbes when I look at it.

///////////////// question 4 //////////////

HPW_ it sounds like the interactive experience you are developing for the Theater der Dinge is driven by this hunger to experience other realities through more bodily encounters. you are building technology to extend our human ability to perceive our entangledness with the world, but you don’t know what experiences it will enable. in this sense your work is part experiment. are you also experimenting on yourselves as part of the development process? and if so, what are some first results that you can share?

AVK_ I experimented a lot with a self-made breathing-belt in the past month. It was quite frustrating, because it often didn’t really do what I expectedit to do. I felt everytime I put in on and opened the sketch, it did something else. At some point I realized that I am while trying to depict communication at the same time experience the borders of communication. I also realized that working with sensors is alot about in this case me interpreting my breath as well as the data the sensor depicts. (Which brings us back to the non-sense idea of objectivity.)

LV_ Yes it’s an experiment. At the moment first an experiment of thought and then it becomes physical. Sometimes I think it should be the other way around because then you can explore. If we really want to experience we should not judge or be biased and this works best if we haven’t thought of it in advance. This I can say here in an interview, but it’s not as easy as it sounds! Experimenting with a process and being open and not knowing what will come out in the end, is also a bit scary and it requires a lot of confidence, I not always have. Often the successes are really small but I even make a Freudenjump when a LED is lighting up. I like the LEDs. Because it can be a little light, but what happens in the background is that all the sensors get a different input on light, sound, vibration etc and I know, I am receiving them.

//////////////// question 4b //////////////

HPW_ @AVK it sounds like your frustration, “because (the textile sensor) often didn’t really do what I expected it to do”, could be an experience of the agency of another material. the textile sensor you are using knows nothing of your breathing the way you know it….. but still you choose to work with it because it allows you to translate the movement of your chest (via the movement of it’s fibers) into changing electrical signals. 

@LV you write of maybe a similar experience, when you say that “not knowing what turns out in the end is also a bit scary and it requires a lot of confidence”. the blinking of an LED, while satisfying, might be contributing to our “non-sense idea of objectivity”. simplicity & objectivity might be providing us with a false sense of confidence, that we need to relinquish if we wish to work with other materials on different terms.

what it would be like to choose the materials & technologies we work with, not based on how well their performance meets our expectations, but on what we hope we might learn from them. as leoni wrote “…to learn from our surrounding , how things can also work (otherwise?)“ – meaning as makers we should also be good listeners in order to take in all there is to be learned.

given these thoughts……. could you speak of something you learned last week from your material collaborators?

LV_ You are very right with your statement about objective blinking and good listening. I have learned (and am still learning) that you have to be precise even if you don’t know what to expect. Sometimes I tend to interpret everything the way I want to see it and am not really attentive to what is going on. Last week I even cheated, I don’t know what happend, but I faded out some parts and overlooked others because it didn’t meet my expectations! Really not what it is all about..

AVK_ what I learn: patience and accuracy in observing them and “communicating” with them….

//////////////// question 5 //////////////

HPW_ this is not the first time you collaborate. what do you enjoy about working together? maybe you can mention something you have learned from the other by working together.

AVK_ About Leoni I appreciate her sensitive and intuitive approach to ideas as well as materials, her cinematic sense, her knowledge about art (history) and her ability to contextualize on the one hand and to practice lateral thinking on the other. I learn from her to give and take time and that probing if you can’t follow a certain approach initialize a lot new ideas.

LV_ I appreciate working together with Anna Vera. When we work together, there are two different backgrounds, opinions and positions towards the world, and I really enjoy getting to know Anna Veras Sicht der Dinge. She is very much precise and pushes me to rethink things that are often not thought through. I think this also makes her a good coder… She’s logical where I am not so much. I also like the fact that we do things together, we are a team. What I also like very much about working with her is that when something is on her mind, it really grows and every morning she comes away with more thoughts about it and new aspects of it that we didn’t think about before. She has a thousand things on her mind at the same time, and I can’t always follow her pace. But she listens to me, and if I can make an argument (and if it has a little logic in it), she appreciates it very much and takes it further. What I mean to say is that she is not stubborn at all when there is intellectual debate about ideas, she takes up what she thinks makes sense. And, excuse me, one last thing, she is straightforward and fearlessly tackles any problem that may arise.

//////////////// question 6 //////////////

HPW_ naming things now seems a very human act. have you given your experiment a title yet? did you involve any non-human-actors in the namensgebung?

AVK_ we have several names, and they are changing time by time but the official one is EARTHBOUNDS. It’s quite a literal name that includes all actors that are bound to earth, I guess…


On July 9th 2020, our first round of S&&O students gave us a peak behind their current research projects via event titled public void. Now, 3 months later, some of what you got to see then continues to evolve into works that will be showcased Saturday November 7th as part of a public void II (???) event. This time it will happen “in real”, in Berlin (and maybe also online;-)

Over the next 5 weekends I will try to catch Tomás, Leoni, Lena, Fabian, Christian, Anton and Anna Vera to ask them about their process and the works they are creating. While I’m particularly interested to find out about their creative processes – how they arrived at the topics and formats they are working with and how they transition from interest to idea to outcome. I am also curious to ask what aspects of their work they find most rewarding and important. And to find out how their experiences at S&&O have contributed to their working and thinking.

Unfortunately the public void stream is currently down, but here here a rough summary of what we know so far:

Tomás Montes Massa spent the last year following the protests in is home country Chile from afar. He has been researching and writing about digital aktivism, networked movements and social unrest (see SO! publication). As far as I can tell he is building an experience that involves a pareman character avatar… but I don’t know much more than that.

Leoni Voegelin and Anna Vera Kelle are working together on a piece that draws on their shared interest in exploring interactions between physical and virtual spaces – from building jellyfish diorama’s and sending “onion data” over the network, to building wearable sensors and rehearsing in virtual spaces. They are both versed in theory and written forms of expression, but for their new work are venturing into the world of materials and code.

Lena Eikenbusch is drawn to working with clay because of its diverse properties. Whether it is hard or soft depends on how you interact with it. She is also a storyteller, and her current work will be a joining of these matters.

Christian Römer’s work took inspiration from corona measures and has become a one-person-sauna. It is built and tested…. now what next?

Anton Krause is creating an interactive experience of Wolfgang Hilbig’s novel “Ich”. Struggling with working alone, he had a breakthrough when he discovered that much of the story is set in subway stations. He has also talked much of the aesthetic style he wants to (re)create with the technology he is building for the one-person audience experience, such that I can’t wait to see.

Fabian Raith is working on an AR walk, and I’m looking forward to talk to him because I know very little about this project so far!

weekend reading

…still slightly a work in process…

The last weekends I wrote about preparing an online workshop titled from SPACE to SPACE with NO screens on physical-computing over the network in The Boardgame as Remote Teaching Tool?, followed by a post about Why? the networks we use and rely on every day are even possible and how we came to build them in the first place.

This weekend I thought to compile a collection of works that deal with the internet, that use the internet, that make over the internet, with a focus on communications that go beyond the use of screens as information displays.

It was not so easy to find works that remain completely screenless, and that otherwise don’t have audio as their main content communication channel (like a telephone).


because of
despite of

the networked remote communication technologies we’ve built


One of my favorites, because old and simple and *super* physical (no screens, non-verbal) is the inTouch by the Tangible Media Group. In the prototype shown in the video the two decides are connected physically (no electronics involved) but later prototypes used motors with force-feedback sensing, producing electronic signals that could be communicated over a network.


By loading the video, you agree to Vimeos's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

»The Telepresence Garment«


“I first conceived the Telepresence Garment in 1995 to investigate the notion of the mediascape as an expanded cloth; i.e., to consider wireless networking as a new fabric that envelops the body.” … “The Garment was designed as an interactive piece to be worn by any local participant willing to allow his or her body to be engaged by others remotely.”

The Telegarden

While The Telegarden (1995-2004, Ars Electronica Museum, Linz Austria) by Ken Goldberg and Joseph Santarromana relies on screens on one end, I also like this project as snapshot of what it was like for some artists at the time the possibilities of networked communication became available to them. And they simply asked themselves “what to do with the Internet” in their artistic practices.

“The idea for the telegarden was inspired by the Internet itself…..”


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

The Robot in the Garden
Marina Grzinic, “Exposure Time, the Aura, and Telerobotics,” in The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet, edited by Ken Goldberg (MIT Press, 2000), p. 215.

Green Wall

20 years later another artistic research interpretation of a networked garden is “a prototype installation of a vertical garden, in which a symbiotic interaction between plants, computers, robots and people takes place.” – not so different from before.
Though I remember hearing from one of the people involved that a goal is to eliminate the human from the ecosystem to have it be self-sufficient. Although how can anything be independent these days in world that is showing us how deeply connected everything is.

Click on the button to load the content from

Load content

Time, Motion, Touch

This is a wonderful post by Julian Bleecker on his thoughts behind his Flavanoid project (A wearable device that measures your activity and uses the data for change your avatar in the cirtual world Second Life) and asks the question:

“What are the ways in which time, motion and touch be used to create a meaningful bridge between 1st life (physical) and 2nd life (digital)?”


By Julian Bleecker’s techkwondo website – “mobile, wireless, technology, play”



A collaboration between Rachel Freire and Sophia Brueckner

“…the Embodisuit allows its wearer to map signals onto different places on their body. It both critiques and offers an alternative to current trends in wearable technology. Most wearables harvest data from their users to be sent and processed elsewhere. The Embodisuit flips this paradigm.”



By loading the video, you agree to Vimeos's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video


by Sascha Pohflepp

Constraint City – The Pain of Everyday Life

by Gordan Savicic

“…lets you literally, feel this pain of information society. The higher the wireless signal strength of close encrypted networks, the tighter the corset gets.”


A Transmaterial Body

by Chelsea Thompto
“the boundaries of the self through poetic appropriation of network technology”


By loading the video, you agree to Vimeos's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

vtol’s Hot Ninja

“Its main function is communication and propaganda through the Wi-FI wireless standard.”


By loading the video, you agree to Vimeos's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

vtol’s hotspot poet:
“Autonomous micro-device which distributes wi-fi masked as wireless network, visible at any gadget such as a smartphone or a laptop. The device is automatically renaming its network every 10 seconds, taking as its name various lines of poems by famous poets.”



By loading the video, you agree to Vimeos's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video


by Ebru Kurbak


Hertzian Tales
by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby

Full Body, Full Everything


The TESLASUIT training solution provides outputs from haptic feedback and climate control to users, and receives inputs from motion capture and biometrics. With our software and partner ecosystem, this technology is a complete solution for improving human performance.

Click on the button to load the content from

Load content

Internet Of Things (IOT)


by Superflux

In response to the question “As physical objects in the home become embedded with increasing smartness and autonomy, what relationships do we form with them?”
Superflux explored the tensions that could emerge within the ‘connected home’ construct.


By loading the video, you agree to Vimeos's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Uninvited Guests from Superflux on Vimeo.

rambler shoes

by Ricardo Nascimento and Tiago Martins
“Rambler is a critical embodiment of the (until now) metaphorical notion of blogging every step you take. It aims to bring the practice of microblogging to one of many possible extremes, turning it into an automatic, thoughtless act of diffusing large amounts of slightly ambiguous, repetitive and arguably useless personal information.”



By loading the video, you agree to Vimeos's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

More sensor shoes
by the creator of

The Stellvertreter shoes

convey the feeling to be close to a person who is somewhere else by transferring the activities of the distant person’s shoes into the shoes of others. >>


The project “dia.log” explores the term by setting a dialog between the user and the thing; by understanding various contexts through their sitting behaviors. These objects are given the potential to be smart, but also have a chance to fail. >>
Rambler Shoes

weekend reading

Two weekends ago I wrote about the process of turning a workshop about networked spaces, titled “From Space to Space”, into a boardgame. Now the workshop is over and it was a very hands-on and technical introduction to networked communication. We successfully sent and received sensor data over the Internet.
But why?
Why was it even possible?
Why did we want to do it in the first place?


Why is networked communication such a big thing these days?
It is ubiquitous, many of our everyday tasks depend on networked communication working seamlessly. Messaging friends, checking the news, paying by card, sharing photos, looking up how to get places…..
And because the technology does work so seamlessly, it can be so easy to overlook the role it plays in constructing our realities – the spaces in which we communicate, socialize, live – be they physical or virtual.

Das Netz

I found the documentary Das Netz by Lutz Dammbeck to be a great place to start learning about or reminding myself of the history/origins of the Internet, especially as it relates to art and culture and social theories.



By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

full film:


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Margaret Mead

Margaret Mead was an anthropologist concerned with studying the effects of new technologies on culture. This article is not by her, but refers to her work, and speaks of our human desire for communication being a driving force for developing network technologies in order to communicate more and faster and on larger and larger scales.

“In 1969, the anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote of an “approaching world-wide culture.” While she wrote of a global culture made possible by the electronic and transportation advances of her day, her words actually foresaw fundamental changes that have been substantially enhanced by the computer communication networks that were just beginning in 1969. A new culture is being formed out of a universal desire for communication. This culture is being formed and formulated both by new technology and by social desires. People are dissatisfied with the their conditions, whether traditional or modern. Much of the new communication technology facilitates new global connections. This paper will explore the emerging global culture and the influence of the new net culture on a new participatory global culture.”
Abstract from “Culture and Communication: The Impact of the Internet on the Emerging Global Culture by Michael Hauben (1997)

Staging complexity – art & theatre in the digital age

In the final panel of Staging Complexity, which took place in Dortmund online this March, Christian Sievers also draws our attention to the beginnings of The Internet and societies utopian dreams of it providing a more democratic communication infrastructure….


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

A Brief History of Communication

It can also be nice to watch cute simple animations like these to jog our memories about the history of communication technologies.
Reminding ourselves of the awesomeness of The Internet that we experience it everyday.


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Internet Landscapes by Evan Roth

A physical approach to exploring the extents of the Internet’s physical infrastructure is this art work Berlin-Based artist Evan Roth.

“In Internet Landscapes, Evan Roth investigates the physicality of the Internet as a means to reconnect with changing digital and natural landscapes. Roth plans to follow fiber optic cables as they traverse the globe, and document their often invisible existence using technologies and techniques developed by paranormal societies, including: full spectrum photography; infrared video; instruments of trans-communication; and devices for recording electronic voice phenomena. As his personal pilgrimage to the Internet progresses, he will open this process up to a wider group in which techniques, locations and technologies can be shared freely. From his time in the wilderness of the Internet, Roth will produce a series of pieces in a range of mediums (sculptures, prints and websites) for exhibition off and online.”
Read more:…


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Halt and Catch Fire

If you are up for it, this is an entertaining series that nicely depicts moments where technologists and designers try to come up with applications for networked communication, for reasons why we should spend time on the network. They come up with applications that allow people to: play games, chat, spend money, exchange goods….. things we do in “real life” too:-)

“Halt and Catch Fire is a television series depicting a fictional insider’s view of the personal computer revolution of the 1980s and later the growth of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s. The show’s title refers to computer machine code instruction Halt and Catch Fire (HCF), the execution of which would cause the computer’s central processing unit to stop working (catch fire being a humorous exaggeration).”


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

The Internet and the arts

And finally here a very good, and maybe a bit old (2014), post on the Processing website which serves as their introduction to Networks. It starts off with a brief history and provides a distinction between art of the Internet and art for the Internet.

“Historically, there have been two basic strands of networked art: art where the network is used as the actual medium of art–making, or art where the network is used as the transportation medium for dissemination of the work. The former might be understood as art of the Internet, while the latter as art for the Internet. The goal of this text has been to introduce some of the basic conditions, both technological and aesthetic, for making networked art, in the hopes that entirely new techniques and approaches will spring forth in the future as both strands blend together into exciting new forms.”

Thank you for reading. Have a nice Sunday!

Zulassungsprüfung goes online

Im Zuge der anhaltenden Reisebeschränkungen und aus Gründen der Wahrung der Hygienemassnahmen, haben wir uns enschieden, die Zulassungsprüfung dieses Jahr ausschliesslich Online abzuhalten. Dadurch besteht von Seiten der Bewerber*innen bei positiver Bewertung der Bewerbung keine Reisenotwendigkeit. Der zeitliche Umfang der Zulassungsprüfung ändert sich durch diese Regelung nicht.

Der Bewerbungszeitraum läuft noch bis Montag, 18.Mai, 13 Uhr.

Alle Informationen zur Bewerbung finden sich hier.

Bewerben bis 18.05.

Die Bewerbungsfrist für den 2-jährigen Masterstudiengang Spiel und Objekt endet am 18.05. – 13:00 Uhr.

Details zu den Aufgaben und dem Ablauf der Bewerbung findet ihr hier.

Projekte, die im Rahmen des Studiums entstanden sind, könnt ihr euch hier anschauen:


By loading the video, you agree to Vimeos's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

All Together Now from MA Spiel&&Objekt on Vimeo.

Wir freuen uns auf eure Bewerbung!

weekend reading

Last week Friedrich summed up some of the things the (now digital?) theater scene in Germany is exploring in terms of new meeting places for performing and socializing. What Friedrich didn’t mention is that he himself has been building such a space, and over the last 2-weeks introducing our students to it in order to provide them with a tool-set/platform with which they can now build and conduct their own experimental experiences.

I won’t write much more about Friedrich’s platform (except that it is a Unity instance hosted on a server in Frankfurt, allowing us to build custom digital spaces that many many people can then enter very very easily through a browser!) in the hopes that he himself will elaborate some more on it next weekend. Plus, over the course of the next weeks we can also report on the student’s experiments on the platform (or maybe they will even do so themselves).

While Friedrich’s course (titled Vernetzte Räume / Networked Spaces) dove into the PC/smartphone (mouse+keyboard+screen/touchscreen) common setup that would allow many access. My own interest is more on how our bodies interact physically with technologies (objects.things.materials). And what possibilities arise when we are able to mediate these interactions (digitally) over the network to other humans (and non-humans). Building custom sensor/actuator controllers results in setups that are harder to make accessible to larger audiences, but this is a limitation of time&energy, not of the controller things themselves.

Since I will be teaching my workshop starting coming Tuesday, my head is quite completely occupied by it. So I thought to use this weekend reading space as a place to write down some things I’ve learned by translating my course contents that I would “normally” teach very hands on in a space full of materials and tools, into something that “makes sense of” the new circumstances – communicating remotely via audio/visual networked devices and the preparing and shipping of material KITs across town.

The Boardgame as Remote Teaching Tool?

Over the past month, I’ve been working to turn two of my courses/workshops into boardgames. Using the game board as a format for organizing and communicating the workshop contents in order to teach, or rather to lead participants through a learning experience.

This sounds so simple, but the realization that the boardgame format would work to communicate with, and lead participants through, new terrain, was an incredible one. It lead me to so many other ideas for communicating aspects of teaching, learning and making with materials by using playfulness as a means of engagement.

Preparing content to be learned/experienced in a different way, brings with it an opportunity to be(come) aware of the situatedness of the content in its new format/context. In general I’m a fan of exploring different ways of doing things as opportunities to open up knowledge spaces to people (audiences) who were not previously drawn to them. See far bellow for some more links and readings on these topics of Epistemological Pluralism and Situated Learning.

The fact that you have a boardgame in front of you, not a book, zine, online tutorial/video, situates you in a certain place where all of a sudden I can start to introduce a coin currency to be spent on certain resources (materials, knowledge, time-outs…). Limiting the number of coins you have to spend, and what items are deemed valuable enough to require purchase, is a pretend limitation, but I implement it as a reflection of the “real-world” process I (as an educator) am hoping to share with you (as a learner).

The first time I did this was for a workshop that was going to be about building dioramas and animating them in order to tell short stories.

MaterialAdventures the_boardgame (beta version)
instruction booklet:

The second time I did it, and am still amid the process of doing so, is for the workshop I will be teaching coming week:

from SPACE to SPACE (with NO SCREENS?) (in process)


Basically, translating my former workshop topics into the boardgame format is less a process of translation and more of re-thinking them entirely. Embracing the new opportunities provided by the play/game elements to shape the flow, but also the contents.

The process of re-thinking is a constant back and forth of working through the following aspects:

*title, subtitle, introductory paragraph (laying things out in words)
These help me maintain an overview/focus of the overall learning content/experience I am aiming for.

*layout a schedule (laying things out by content and timing)
This helps define a flow. It can branch, circle back… but the linking of the contents to positions in time help arrange a kind of narrative for both me and the player.

*sketching out a path (laying things out in space)
Working physically on paper and on a 1:1 scale is incredibly important here. This process brings together the content and flow

*the graphics/aesthetics (making strong use of visual communication)
Trying out different aesthetics for the board, the visual elements (mixing and matching computer design with hand drawing, collage….)

*to-do lists (keeping track of what is possible)
Keeping track of all the things that need to get done and making sure I am able to do them in time. But also a means of deciding

The whole while, every one of these aspects has the ability to inspire or lead to a new idea. For example trying out an old game-boy icon aesthetic might lead one to discover that jump-and-run metaphors are great for explaining electron flow…….


A big motivation for me to produce the physical elements was so that a majority of the workshop time could be spent playing at one’s own pace, “alone” with the materials/technology. That the connectedness with the other players could be kept rather discrete and sporadic, because I find it very consuming to have continuous audio/visual channels to others open while being amid a process of focussing-in (concentrating) on new materials/technologies, code, knowledge. At least until we build more wholesome (for lack of a better word) means of remote communication.

The BOARD and the GAME ELEMENTS are physical things that I have players print out and assemble (or I distribute as KITs to them), the COMMUNICATION between players happens over the Internet. We will use a mix of Skype for video/audio and Discord for chat/video/audio. I still need to come up with a good solution for sharing code and documentation among players……


The graphical interface of the boardgame is an amazing opportunity for arranging information in a single image/instance. Not separated out over the pages of a book or navigated via endless scrolling/clicking through webpage(s).
You can perceive the entirety of the content in one go, while at the same time needing to zoom in (by focussing your attention and looking/reading) in order to take in detail. And ultimately you have to actually play the game in order to really understand all the meaning(s) embedded within.

So each time I’ve translated my workshop content into a boardgame the graphical layout of the information, and the aesthetics used to communicate with, have been extremely important elements. So much opportunity here, and such a challenge to do it well!



Here a list of the game elements I have implemented so far:
*the rules and the commitment of all players to play by these rules
*start and end, and the path/route between
*choosing/creating a character to play with/through
*interactions between characters
*currency/coins as value system (introducing constraints/limitations)
*resources for purchase, gifting, collecting, exchange….
*decision moments and randomizations (chaos)
*help-cards, time-outs
*punishments and rewards
*ways to cheat (and get caught….. or feel guilty)
*competition and collaboration
*moments of suspense and disappointment


In practice: the game(s) start with a video-call where we say hello and go over the instructions/rules together. We maybe even play some of the first steps together (if they were designed for this), but at some point the games no longer require a continuous audio/visual channel, and players retreat into their own spaces to play (play-to-make).

The board, the rules and the elements of the game now lead the player on their “material adventure”. Knowing that there are others abiding by the same rules, going through the same steps….. is what I think of (and have experienced to be) as a remote social connection. The fact that the connection “works” despite there not being any high-res digital/electronic data-transmission. The fact that we are able to IMAGINE the other and feel connected with them in the absence of an open communication channel is what draws me to this format.

Writing and sending discrete letters via snail-mail bridges time and physical distances between people, while creating continuous shared intimacy because of our ability to bridge these gaps with our imaginations. But we also need the technologies (language, symbolic notation systems, paper, pen… the postal service……. electricity, code, transistors, networks, protocols……devices ) to establish the communication channels that spark our imaginations.


I think this is a good moment to end for now.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. Interested in exploring technology and play, networked experiences, material adventures and their stories….. Come study with us in Berlin! We are NOW accepting students for next semester!


Epistemological Pluralism is a term used to refer to different ways of knowing things.

Sherry Turkle and Seymour Papert published their article “Epistemological Pluralism and the Revaluation of the Concrete” (1992) in which they studied and reflected upon different approaches that different people have in learning how to write computer code.

“Our central thesis is that equal access to even the most basic elements of computation requires an epistemological pluralism, accepting the validity of multiple ways of knowing and thinking.”

Situated Learning and Situated Knowledges are terms that lead to much reading on a (to me) very interesting field of work and practice.

“Situated learning is a theory that explains an individual’s acquisition of professional skills and includes research on apprenticeship into how legitimate peripheral participation leads to membership in a community of practice. Situated learning “takes as its focus the relationship between learning and the social situation in which it occurs”.

Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective (1988) by Donna Haraway


Now the workshop is over and in this post I will briefly reflect on how it went went as well as provide some further reading on the topic of networked communication, art, spaces.

The gameboard worked well to lead through the week, but it functioned as an information display rather than a playable platform. The fact that it lay open on everybody’s table meant it was an ever-present shared reference, but the making of a player character and the spending of money to purchase resources remained entertaining features and did not become playful means to a learning experience.


We started the week by going over networked communication between computers, servers, clients, brokers, routers…….
And then implemented a concrete instance using Processing to publish and subscribe and and MQTT broker ( with a really nice browser visualization of the system.

Next we switched from screen-based processing to physical-computing tool Arduino. But rather than switch to a wifi enabled Arduino board we kept with the simple setup and still communicated over the network via Processing.
Most of the day was spent building textile sensors, converting their analog resistance values into voltages (Voltage Divider!) and then converting them to digital with the Arduino’s ADC (analogRead!).

We connected a servo motor as output and controlled it’s angle using the sensor’s value. The challenge was to pull the string from the party popper…..
…. but the motor was too week. Instead the motor could push something heavy from the table that could pull the string….. but we needed more time to build stable setups.

We made the switch from Arduino Uni <—> Processing to the ESP32 Dev Module DOIT, which is a wifi board that can be programmed using the Arduino language and IDE. It was a struggle to get the setup running on everybody’s computer, but we got it working for everybody just in time for lunch! We managed to send and receive sensor data over the network, but did not manage to pull the string….

Making the transition from learning to imagining. Everybody is now working on their own small projects. To control characters in unity with sock-puppets, to send onion-data and graph it, to play pong with breath over the network, to build datagloves and pressure matrixes to capture physical gestures and feed them into virtual spaces.