»Tracing tainted environments« Design research workshop

Cluster of Excellence “Matters of Activity” Workshop 14-16.3. 23

Every action creates traces, in a chemical, physical or symbolic way. Traces provide information about previous processes, but also about the material in which they are inscribed. If they become information, the further level of reading and understanding is added: information is always a relational, reverse concept between sending and receiving. „Information is interpretive work, which has its deepest basis in processes of recognition, so to say: significance.“ (cf. Jörg Petruschat: Prototype!)

But how can this process succeed when traces are almost invisible, unsmellable, i.e. difficult to perceive for the human senses? Fine dust, microplastics or radioactive legacies are invisible testimonies of our current industries, which can be detected only by laboratories or measuring tools for experts. Their tininess contrasts with the monstrous danger and toxicity they emit over extremely long periods of time. A special challenge in dealing with toxic, industrial residues is caused by nuclear waste. Today, design concepts are needed for safe storage, but also unambiguous information about toxicity in the far future. With regard to the transmission of information, embedding in the „cultural heritage“ is considered to be a method with a long and secure mode of action to prevent information from no longer being understood due to media disruptions or technological obsolescence.

The workshop „Tracing tainted environments: Legacies of Oranienburg“ explores different approaches to the historical legacies of the industrial site of Oranienburg in the north of Berlin. In different settings we are questioning adequate tools by joining various disciplinary perspectives on dealing with data and environmental pollution: human computer interaction, design, history, and cultural and political studies. The industrial site of Oranienburg with its multi-layered historical legacies will be taken as a field of research and experimentation, thus providing a concrete setting for the workshop questions. In experimental series, talks and excursions, the three-day workshop explores the different dimensions of information in the context of non-tangible traces and summarizes them in design concepts.

The aim is to develop a basis for appropriate information transfer with regard to its different dimensions: receiver and Sender, the local context and scale, the intended evaluation and its temporal embedding. How do perception, evaluation and interaction change regarding different information access and filtering techniques? What is the potential of embodied experiences and information physicalisation for a deeper understanding? What is the potential of embedding in physical experiences? The insights and design concepts are intended for further research on how enable responsible filtering techniques.

The workshop will be held in German and English. To register please contact Hanna Wiesener: wiesener@kh-berlin.de

Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin Bühringstr. 20, 13086 Berlin

Prof. Thomas Ness (kh berlin)
Prof. Dr. Habakuk Israel (HTW berlin)
Prof. Dr. Jörg Petruschat (kh berlin)
Prof. Dr. Christian Kassung (HU Berlin)
Hanna Wiesener (kh berlin)
Linda Hirsch (LMU München)
Alwin Cubasch (HU Berlin)
Lena Schubert (HU Berlin)
Michelle Müller (kh berlin)
Nofar Zeidenshnir (kh berlin)
Matthias Budde (TU Berlin)



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