Yana Boeva, York University
Materializing Design by Means of Making
Digital fabrication technologies and practices of making, both grounded in computer-aided processes, have been hailed as a way of reconfiguring our understandings of categories like production and design, work and leisure, professional and amateur. They represent a lateral approach that disrupts traditional, normative forms of production and expertise. These forms and categories are themselves historical products that shape our understanding of the impact and significance of digital technologies in the post-industrial age. My dissertation examines how the emerging practices and technologies of digital fabrication draw on distinct historical discourses about work, production, expertise, and creativity, while, at least in narratives, attempting to reshape the long-standing, modern relationship between amateur makers and design professionals.
In this paper, I present preliminary results from one the dissertation’s chapters. Taking the idea that certain forms of design are conceptual in their nature I discuss how contemporary making and digital fabrication influence design practice through materialization. Making has successfully combined conceptual design to manufacturing of prototypes and smaller batches by “connecting producing things with thinking about things.” Concurrently, drawing on my empirical data, I contend that the material participatory qualities of making and digital fabrication are insufficient to transcend established categories.
Valeria Barvinska, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Computational Accounts of Creativity
My research interests are connected to the issues of shared perception and shared understanding between humans and machines. The major objective is to think along the lines of how to optimise interactions between humans and computers or socially intelligent robots and maximise the benefits of a human-machine team. In the narrow sense, I am committed to the discovering of the mechanisms of a hybrid creativity between human artist and machine, researching their potential collaborative force and possible underlying problems.
At the moment, I am working on my Master thesis in philosophy of cognitive science supervised by Prof. Albert Newen and Dr. Joulia Smortchkova in which I am analysing various approaches to human and computer-simulated creativity. The aim is to show that the intuitive resistance to computational modelling of creativity observed in the philosophy of cognitive science is not empirically justified, and that, on the contrary, creativity can be fruitfully studied by means of computer modelling. This opens the way to a host of exciting new possibilities, in particular, in the field of aesthetics and art creation, in the wake of forerunners such as Cohen’s program AARON which draws images exhibited in art galleries and the Continuator – a program created at the Sony CSL in Paris and able to produce musical continuations of any user according to previously learned, arbitrary styles.
Daniel Bühler, Brandenburg University of Technology
More Is Up, Important Is Large: Primary Metaphors as a Source for Designing Intuitively and Universally Understandable Interface Pictograms
This project in collaboration with cognitive psychologist Dr. Kati Nowack aims at developing feedback pictograms for heating interface units, which are universally and intuitively understandable. At the same time, a general procedure for the creation of representation systems is to be developed. The project involves three phases. Representation systems are socially and culturally produced. Current interface design tends to tap on users’ knowledge of these representation systems. Thus, interpretation and handling of the interfaces can only succeed in specific sociocultural circumstances. As a solution to this problem, we propose a Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT; cf. Lakoff & Johnson, 2011, 2011; Grady, 1997). CMT argues that knowledge, interpretation, and behavior of humans are structures by cognitive processes of mappings across conceptual domains. Primary metaphors constitute the starting point of these socially mediated mappings. Primary metaphors (e.g., More is Up; Important Is Large) are universal sensorimotor experiences, embodied and consequently used to interpret and handle more complex and abstract situations. In the first phase, primary metaphors are developed for meanings that the feedback pictograms are to represent.
In the second phase, an online survey is developed using the software Limesurvey to investigate which visual mental representations participants spontaneously connect with the previously developed primary metaphors. The survey is presented to a large sample of participants (n = 1000) in various countries using a crowdsourcing process through the platform Clickworker. The results are evaluated in a computer-assisted multi-stage procedure in order to prepare apt representations of the primary metaphors.
In the third phase, based on recent evidence in cognitive psychology and philosophy of mind (cf., Greenberg, 2011), a representation system is developed in collaboration with a graphic designer ensuring that the system is intuitively and universally understandable. Finally, the feedback pictograms for the heating interface unit are designed using the representation system.
Kristin Dolz, Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin
Integrative 3D Modeling
My research focuses on the development of a dynamic digital modelling tool that takes a different approach on the established construction logic in 3D software. The introduction of an abrasive particle stream that acts upon a solid allows blending of surfaces and fading of edges to be self-optimising, continuous and integrative.
Using a tool that focuses on the correlation between influential factors underlines the concept of form-finding rather than form-giving. Abrasion and erosion in this case don’t just expand the 3D modelling possibilities for designers, architects, and engineers, they ultimately enable a virtual form to resonate with the non-virtual world.
Marina Wilhelm, Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin
Body Loom System: A Personalized 3D Loom for Seamless Clothing Production
“Fast, fast, fast, cheap, cheap, cheap, now, now, now” – the Body Loom System offers an alternative model to the mantra of Fast Fashion, and equally reflects upon the ever accelerating cycles of the fashion industry.
This work consciously removes itself from an industrial, mass-market context, and instead places the focus on the traditional craft of hand weaving. The central objective of my Master’s project was to develop an apparatus comparable to a loom that enables the seamless weaving of a three-dimensional form in one piece. As the garment is fully manufactured in one stage, there is no need for cutting and sewing. A one hundred percent Zero- Waste-Product is produced, which perfectly fits the given body shape. The actual product is the three-dimensional loom, which can be ordered via an online system, and arrives as a DIY assembly kit, pre-fabricated to one’s individual body dimensions. It is a kind of tool, which is generated virtually, and combines new computer-aided technology with an ancient textile craft and fashion with architectonic construction. For the purpose
of further customization of one’s living environment, the process could also be applied in the production of other personal objects, such as furniture. The Body Loom System is a candidate project for the Design Farm start-up grant and part of “Futurium – Future Fab Lab Showcase” taking place in March 2017 at CEBIT in Hannover.
Angelika Weissheim, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin / Technical University Munich
Real Spaces and Information Spaces. Investigation of Potential Future Perspectives for Spatial Planners
Virtuality is a phenomenon that exists only within reality. Gilles Deleuze’s approach describes the virtual layer as the potential that is inherent in architecture, but without being present or existing objectively. In fact, the term »virtuality« stands for something that is real, but not actual. Virtuality within reality describes a layer of non-material elements that are connecting structural and organisational aspects, and thus produce information. Considering the investigations of real and virtual spaces in the »Experimental Zone« within the Interdisciplinary Laboratory Image Knowledge Gestaltung at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the connection of reality and virtuality creates data that is generated, documented, and analysed – focusing on the framework of interdisciplinary working processes. Through the introduction of a new spatial setup, the change of the space enhances the production of information. Here, the space creates data. Current social, economic, political, and cultural discussions about how data is generated, where it is stored, and what it is used for question the responsibilities of virtual ownership. The transformation from atoms to bits are representative of our age and society. From personal data within our personal spaces, as well as behavioural data within public spaces, a quantified set of information is generated. By continuing the thought process through an inversion of argument, it is possible to suggest that data itself – in other words: analysis and evaluation of data – can create space. An investigation of spatial planning in the time of globalization and digitalisation should confront the qualitative responsibilities of the spatial planner as an agent of power, and thus determine the benefits of the potential of enhanced information-processing technology.
Personally, I am interested in continuing this research approach by widening the field from knowledge production processes within the interdisciplinary environment – as investigated at Humboldt-Universtät zu Berlin – to a general question about spatial planning. The formulation of a question starts with following queries: How can big data – generated within structural and organisational elements through digital technologies and observation methodologies – be used in order to improve spatial planning? Which type of data is relevant for the design of spaces? Can spatial planning profit from the production and storage of data by incorporating the generated knowledge into the planning process? Or more precisely: How can real and virtual entanglements in the century of digitalization be identified in order to define the responsibilities and influencing factors of spatial planning?
This research project proposes to facilitate and widen the accessibility of the potential of enhanced information processing technology within the daily workflow of spatial planners.
Agustina Palermo, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Emphasizing the Aid of Computer X into the Experience of an Adventure Urban Game
The purpose of this project is to design and develop an on-site specific adventure urban game design that emphasizes the public dimension of the city, enabling each player to dwell in different perspectives of the communal spaces. This individual experience could be developed in collaboration with other players in a virtual community to enrich the game (if desired) by proposing new activities. In this sense, the game could grow through an Open Design/Open Source platform within the community of players. The relevance of this project to computer-aided design could be taken into two directions. The first one consists of the translation of digital processes and materiality, taking the structure and controlled dynamics of adventure videogames to the physical world. Here I will be exploring the challenges of an inverse translation of “material resistances”, which could be rephrased as the gaps between matter and code (material resistances focus on the gaps between code and matter, whereas the “digital resistance” presents an inversion of these) as the “digital resistance” (controlled videogame structure) is transferred into the unpredictability of the material. The second aspect that could be developed is a focus on the simulation and visualization, where computer aid performs as the virtual space where the community of players may interact and share their experiences, providing tools to evaluate outcomes of constructions and interventions, as well as to communicate among actors.
Paula Muhr, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Functional Brain Scans and the Materiality of Hysteria
Despite the widely held belief that hysteria disappeared during the 20th century in the humanities, the advent of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in the 1990s has led to a renewed medical interest into this age-old disorder. Outside of medical circles, however, no attention has yet been paid to the epistemic consequences of this image-based research of hysteria.
My paper argues that functional brain scans not only play a pivotal role in the current medical revival of hysteria, but also that these images are the driving force behind the current neurological reconceptualisation of this disorder. Until recently, many medical practitioners dismissed hysteria as mere malingering, since the potential causes of hysterical symptoms remained unreachable by any means of available medical examination.
The use of fMRI, though, offers the promise of untangling the confounding heterogeneity of symptoms into apparently unambiguous brain maps. Functional MRI relies on extensive computational processing of the measurement data so as to allow visualisation of the local brain activities. These computationally processed images purport to provide visual evidence of the hysterical symptoms’ material reality by relating them to measurable neurophysiological processes. Thus, I argue that owing to fMRI, hysteria is currently being transformed from an imaginary illness into a veritable brain disorder.
To what extent do these images represent the ‘real’ neural processes in the brain of a hysterical patient as opposed to constructing them through extensive mathematical modelling? I address this question by taking a closer look at how these images are produced and used within current hysteria research. My source materials are recent fMRI studies of hysterical symptoms published in high-impact neurological journals.
Santiago Garlot, Santísima Trinidad Children’s Hospital Córdoba/Argentina
CAD-CAM Technologies, an Interdisciplinary Approach to Patientspecific Surgery Design
Problem statement: The human body is usually referred to as a living machine and is commonly “amended” with similar tools. Unlike mechanical devices, their parts are not always identical, specially if they have been pathologically affected. Modern medicine has sophisticated imaging devices that allow us to understand the anatomy of the patient. However, two-dimensional interactions with complex three-dimensional structures creates a breach in which many variables must be considered, when the patient is in the operating room and under other conditions where errors and time are critical. Medical professionals depend heavily on their ability to solve problems and require a high level of knowledge and preparation.
Motivation: In design, the use of CADCAM technologies is a must, mainly because of the close relationship between the design model and its real- world counterpart. Being able to use technologies that have proved their usefulness in other fields could help improve the quality of medical practices, reducing the margins of error and combining the skills of physicians with the accuracy of the most advanced technical knowledge.
Approach: 3D Models provide a new dimension, they can be manipulated, compared, edited, and used for simulations, becoming a valuable tool prior to or during surgery. It allows for the planning and testing of a specific technique or approach, and even to design devices to carry it out with greater precision, making it possible, for example, to enter the operating room with pre-moulded prosthesis that will fit the patient exactly.
The main goal of this research is to make these technologies accessible to a greater number of people and to improve their quality of life. The strategy involves the use of open source software and accessible rapid prototyping technology.
Results: So far it has been demonstrated that this approach improves the current conditions, both in quality of procedures, as well as in the reduction of operating room and postoperative times, also reducing uncertainty and possible errors. It has also been proven to be a valuable tool in understanding and discussing cases.
Conclusions: The 3D model becomes a common language between professionals, technology, and reality. It contributes the concept that everyone is unique to medicine, and makes possible new contributions by interdisciplinary work.
Aleksandra Krolik, Glasgow School of Art / University of Glasgow
Thinking Beyond the Innovation: Medical Imaging, Rapid Prototyping and Scared Patients
Medical imaging paradigms have shifted over the last decades. Those advances moved visual medical data from film to cross-sectional computer imaging and 3D physical modelling. Computer-aided techniques based on volumetric algorithms transformed many radiology departments into efficient rapid prototyping studios. Surgeons can nowadays use tangible, life-sized models of various anatomical structures for preoperative planning, as a reference during the procedure, and to explain the procedure to a patient during the consent process. On the other hand, both quantity and quality of evaluations on efficacy of many patient education tools in regards to surgical consent are limited. There are studies reporting low level of anatomical awareness among patients, and dissatisfaction with the information they receive. Moreover, raised pre-surgical anxiety levels have been noted among patients’ families who were presented with artefacts of the patient’s actual anatomy instead of the generic models or its digital representations.
How can pre-surgical patient education benefit from technological advances in medical imaging and rapid prototyping? Are there risks of exploiting those advances equally across different clinical settings? Acknowledging that the patient’s experience is a highly complex situation involving many interdependencies, this research aims to explore the cross-sectional potential of rapid prototyping, medical imaging, and interaction design in the healthcare environment.
Martin Kallmeyer, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Entangled Matters: On the Biodigital Transformations of the Body
My PhD work focuses on the digital control of biomaterial agencies in technoscientific experiments. I will theoretically and empirically examine the assumption that digital techniques operate as a technological mediator that enables capturing material agency and to interloop it with human technologies. My dissertation is divided into three parts. In the first I will lay the theoretical and methodological groundwork. It consists of an elaboration of my working thesis following recent debates on new feminist materialism and media ecologies or ‘medianaturecultures’ (Braidotti 2016) and the design of an approach to analyse experimental systems as medianaturecultural ‘agentic assemblages’ (Bennett 2010). In the second part I will examine three case studies: whole-genome design and synthesis, a ‘mind-controlled electro-optogenetic interface’, and the production of a synthetic squid. In the third and concluding part I want to reflect on my findings following three lines of questioning: How to conceptualise the digital/material entanglement? What consequences does this have on our understanding of ‘the body’? And how does this relate to recent debates on ethics (and critique) in our technoscientific present?
Heidi Esther Jalkh Avalos, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Unfolding Bio Inspired Auxetic Structures
The objective of this research is to explore and develop processes to find and generate bio-inspired cellular structures that unfold out of the plane. These transformable structures (auxetics) are capable of responding to internal and external stimuli in order to change their form. This class of materials display an unusual property: when stretched they become wider, perpendicular to the applied force.
The aim is to create a range of responsive auxetic structures manifested in different material constructions, displaying distinctive behaviors in response to the pattern designed and the actuating force. In addition to this, a computational workflow will be developed in order to design the patterns and define the morphological parametric elements for form variation. In addition, the use of these tools will help simulate their behavior when subject to different forces. In view of bio-inspired material design, passive plant actuators are more appealing: understanding their design rules can lead more promptly to implementation into artificial actuating materials. The transfer of biological knowledge and its application into non-biological manifestations creates an intersection between the fields of biology, design, and engineering among other disciplines. These connections offer a multiplicity of sensibilities that can contribute to the opening
of new research territories. Furthermore, a higher level of integration can be achieved between the generation of form, its materialization, and fabrication. A methodology such as this one defies the nature of the pre-established design process and promotes an alternative approach: one that goes beyond a process focused merely on geometry, one that is oriented towards the behavior of the form.
Martina Fröschl, University of Applied Arts Vienna
Noise Aquarium: 3D Audio Visual Experience of Plankton in Noise Pollution
Plankton serve as one of the primary basis of the marine food chain and are as a result a crucial component of the Earth’s ecosystem. Current literature and studies have demonstrated how different noise sources influence large marine life with striking examples such as images of stranded whales and dolphins. However, few have highlighted the possible impact on marvellous microscopic organisms such as plankton. Noise Aquarium spotlights animated 3D-models obtained with scientific imaging techniques of the extremely diverse plankton spectrum. Generally, anthropogenic xenobiotic pollution of the seas is widely known. Project Noise Aquarium is dealing with unnatural noise in the oceans as a further environmental issue. This project offers a species-rich bizarre idyll as well as visual attractiveness, thus evoking interest and attention for these important creatures and their disturbance through noise pressure waves. Noise Aquarium aims to awaken awareness for biodiversity and introduces a collection of accurate 3D-models as a resource for scientific and artistic research. The academic and creative potential of a cooperation, as it was developed for this project, is rarely to be found. All participants first had to learn to go beyond their field of expertise and communicate with experts from other subjects. In order to present our collaboration methods and the various materials used in this project, we first will briefly summarize the artistic and scientific challenges that a project on plankton and noise pollution entails. Then, the effort of the data collection, analysis, and the final technical and artistic processing in computer animation will be outlined. The project’s emerging presentations will happen in multifaceted ways, as varied places and times add context as project presentation parameters that influence the events. The Noise Aquarium is as organic as the organisms that are subject of discussion, therefore it will grow gradually and develop with each further presentation. We aim to show the content in various interactive and linear installations and gather all kinds of information, reference material, and, of course, 3D-data of the organisms.
Project members: Martina Fröschl, Stephan Handschuh, Thomas Schwaha, Olivia Osborne, Ruth Schnell, Victoria Vesna, Alfred Vendl