Von schwarzen Schwänen …

Special Guest University

University of the Arts Berlin (UdK) and Technische Universität Berlin (TU)

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Inter-University, Interdisciplinary, Research-Based Master’s Program Design & Computation

With the new joint master’s program, the two universities are responding to a ubiquitous process of societal and technological change as well to the increasingly dynamic subject culture. The UdK and TU Berlin also share an overarching interest in further thinking across disciplines and developing new teaching and research formats through this program.

Students, teachers and researchers in this model program have access to a broad curriculum including the most diverse teaching and research cultures. This enables them to work in an interdisciplinary context and, using techniques and theories at the cutting edge, in a manner both analytical and practical.

The works shown here were created in the studio of the master’s program, where students dedicate themselves to the development of new media, materials and methods for design processes within the framework of project work and a theme that changes each year. This takes place in the form of drafts, visualizations, concrete experimental applications or design implementations on a variable scale.


A Psalm for the Body-Built

Jonny-Bix Bongers (DE) and Berkay Soykan (DE)

“One is not born, but rather becomes, a body.” (Legacy Russell)
In order to rediscover the essence of our bodies as complex assemblages of virtualities and potentialities, we propose the practice of bodybuilding. In a first attempt at creating a critical space for this practice, the interactive VR installation investigates what it means to have, and become, a body in a technologically mediated environment. Within an immersive landscape of artifacts and operations, the immersant is urged to question their bodily perception and explore their own bodies’ (im)materiality, virtual manifestations and eventual states.

Be-you-tiful Me-tamorphosis

Athena Grandis (DE), Duygu Masalci (DE)

The video installation serves as an ironic critique of the cultural phenomenon of toxic-positivity perpetuated by social media and the wellness industry. Through a rhetoric of “self-mastery”, “resilience” and “happiness”, wellbeing is being reduced to a matter of developing a skill, shifting attention from larger social, political and economic forces onto individuals. Centered around a robotic entity that carves affirmations into the outer skin of a flesh-like body, the artwork exposes the assumed superiority of technology and its role in shaping social codes in a technocratic society.

Boutique 2XXX

Jonny-Bix Bongers (DE), Jonathan Möller (DE), Florian Porada (DE)

The interactive installation enables participants to design individual and critical future visions of luxury and subsequently to create a space for reflection and discourse in the form of a virtual boutique. This mixed reality experience is an iteration of an ongoing research project that examines how emergent technologies can help debate socially relevant issues more intuitively.

Cartographic Exercises

Felix Ansmann (DE), Pablo Torres (CO), Maurice Wald (DE)

Cartographic Exercises is a multimedia installation exploring the potentials of dynamic and interactive cartographies to discern global networks that exceed human perception. It presents a partial abstraction of the social, economic and ecological entanglements encompassing the infrastructure of today’s ubiquitous digital technologies in an immersive scenario constructed with both physical and digital features.

Data Badlands

Philipp Gschwendtner (DE), Benjamin Herrmann (DE)

The project takes inspiration from geological archives shaped by the forces of wind and water, adapting these processes to digital data. An algorithm erodes, alters and transports information based on rules that incorporate the basic laws of thermodynamics and information theory. Thus, Data Badlands reflects upon the binary distinction between deleting or keeping data, opening a third possibility of slow regress.

Digital Trace

Tim Alder (AT), Benjamin Herrmann (DE)

Digital Trace conceives of an interactive virtual archive that documents the multitude of multimedia art and research generated in the transdisciplinary Design & Computation study program. Through spatial data visualization and dynamic interlinking of multimedia content based on algorithmic classification, the work seeks to redefine authorship and agency in archival processes.

Gold Mercury Amalgams – Deep Listening

Pablo Torres (CO)

Developed together with the knowbotiq collective, the listening session delves into gold and mercury amalgams — mercury is used to wash gold out of the earth — proposing a fictional space in which a collective subconscious of a mineral incorporated into all of our raw metabolisms might be sensed. This is then transformed into derivative stock market products, components of high-tech technologies, or libidinous wellness products. The installation explores the materiality of sounds which take form through glass bodies that work as resonators and allude to the molecular processes of gold refinement.

Human Intelligence Task (HIT)

Maurice Wald (DE)

The work draws on parallels between cybernetics and digital labor in microwork marketplaces and engages with the materiality of a process where matter seemingly doesn’t matter; where repetitive machine tasks are outsourced to humans — mediated by platforms like Amazon’s MechanicalTurk. According to the court order concerning reCAPTCHA in Rojus-Lozano v. Google, the few seconds it takes to transcribe a word is not entitled to compensation – on microwork platforms the few seconds are repeated for whole days in order to make a living. In playing with the digital and the analogue, using images of repetition and (lost) creativity, the work focuses on the material aspects behind platformized digital labor.

Imagine you are going for a walk.

Fabian Schneider (DE), Erik Vogler (DE)

Imagine you are going for a walk. in an area that is very familiar to you, but the further you go, the more your surroundings change. Keep walking until you get lost. Now let your gaze wander. Enjoy the fuzziness at the edges of your attention. After a while, start walking again.
Imagine you are going for a walk. is a diagrammatic game that combines projected maps with a haptic topographical interface. Visitors can perform different scenarios by moving game pieces on the artificial landscape. Their movements are tracked, reassembling the template for the games that follow.


Philipp Gschwendtner (DE), Duygu Masalci (DE), Lars Pinkwart (DE), Jason Thompson (DE, GB)

The multi-media installation takes on a perspective that spans centuries on the way big data analytics and algorithmic prediction govern our lives both in the present and into the future. As a speculative scenario, the installation considers an uncanny future in which tech behemoths have reached levels of power as government service providers until now only held by nation states, not only exercising influence over the digital space but re-structuring the very fabrics of the societal order. By superimposing global visions of “Big Tech” with the lived experience of local and material witnesses, INCORPORATED becomes a site of critique and strategic intervention.


Anastasia Almosova (RU)

Inter-face is a mixed-media installation that elaborates new models of Human-Machine-Interaction by introducing collective low-tech communication strategies in a technologically mediated environment. With the help of wearables, users come into physical communication, triggering specific events in the digital realm. The efficient use of the interpersonal interfaces defines the outcome of the interaction with the machine.

Shifted Agency

Julia Ziener (DE)

The showcase investigates biopolymers and their various methods of further processing, such as additive manufacturing, focusing on the triangle between robot, material, and human. Ultimately, the predominant hierarchical human-robot relationship is questioned.

Sonic Gaze

Séba Nasr Aldin (LE), Ramy Frahat (IT), Patrick Grochla (DE), Artur Kim Shum (BR), Jo-Moritz Krah (DE)

Sonic Gaze investigates the process of transforming ephemeral moments into durable entities through recording sound. Advancements in technology like machine learning and enhanced recording techniques offer new possibilities of analyzing and working with sound once it has been detached from its source. The work applies these technologies to the practice of sound archiving in order to reveal the epistemological qualities of sound. In this way, it challenges the dominance of visual representation, suggesting an alternative model of knowledge production and sensory perception.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Athena Grandis (DE), Anna Kraher (AT)

The interactive installation deals with the production processes of fictions and facts. The focus of the work is on investigations as processes of searching for “truth” and constructing “truth”. The installation consists of a series of stages, each exploring how a particular media format re/produces and narrates facts and fictions. Starting from a record in a file cabinet, the investigation is conducted by the visitor from stage to stage. At the end of the process, the investigation is archived performatively.


Felix Ansmann (DE), Maurice Wald (DE)

The video traces parallels between divination rituals and predictive analytics. It explores their respective poetics, politics and aesthetics, and their inscribed notions of time and power. Blurred, superimposed and homogenized images play on apophenia and pattern recognition as their dominant mode of perception. A text, partly cut-up, partly written, partly AI-generated, stitches together diverging narratives, contradicting arguments and counter-intuitive references into an essayistic whole, suggesting causalities due to its linearity.