Know your reactions

Aruna Ratanagiri talks
March 2nd, 2015

These over 300 talks from the Aruna Ratanagiri Buddhist Monastery in the north of England are an enormous well of deep insides, contemporary pointing, and great humour. Highly recommended for everyday life, and beyond.

Thanks to Michael Edwards!

Filed under: Wunderkammer

Three professors

Nina Juric, Gregor Kuschmirz and Mareike Ottrand
March 1st, 2015

The first three of my students who emerged from the Motion Design postgraduate program at Germany's leading film school Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg were appointed professor:

Mareike Ottrand is tenured professor for Interactive Illustration and Games at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences' design department.
Nina Juric and Gregor Kuschmirz are visiting professors for Motion Image at the design department of the University of Applied Scienes in Münster.

Had the great pleasure of working with them during their studies in Motion Design, supervised their final exams, and couldn't be more proud! I have been chairing the Motion Design program since 1998, and we will continue to incubate more excellence in design, and teaching.

Filed under: Students

Meet yourself

Only Non-Depressed See Monster In The Mirror
February 27th, 2015

Via United Academics: "Try this experiment and you will have goosebumps all over your body: stare at your face in the mirror in a dimly lit room. Keep staring at yourself for a few minutes. Hey, wait! What was that? Did you see it? Was it a monster, an animal, your deformed face, someone else you know, or a stranger?

It was totally creepy, but you can relax: you have not evoked the Devil, what you saw is absolutely normal. Professor Caputo from Urbino in Italy first experienced this himself in 2004. Instead of running away or breaking all the reflective surfaces he encountered, he decided to face the issue and dig into it. His scientific perseverance allowed him to provide an explanation of the phenomenon in 2010."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

Hilbert's paradox of the Grand Hotel

No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning
February 12th, 2015

Via Wikipedia: "Consider a hypothetical hotel with a countably infinite number of rooms, all of which are occupied. One might be tempted to think that the hotel would not be able to accommodate any newly arriving guests, as would be the case with a finite number of rooms. [...]

These cases constitute a paradox not in the sense that they entail a logical contradiction, but in the sense that they demonstrate a counter-intuitive result that is provably true: the statements there is a guest to every room and no more guests can be accommodated are not equivalent when there are infinitely many rooms. An analogous situation is presented in Cantor's diagonal proof.[3]
Initially, this state of affairs might seem to be counter-intuitive. The properties of infinite collections of things are quite different from those of finite collections of things. The paradox of Hilbert's Grand Hotel can be understood by using Cantor's theory of transfinite numbers. Thus, while in an ordinary (finite) hotel with more than one room, the number of odd-numbered rooms is obviously smaller than the total number of rooms. However, in Hilbert's aptly named Grand Hotel, the quantity of odd-numbered rooms is not smaller than total number of rooms."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

The FBI’s Top Hostage Negotiator Teaches You...

... How To Lower Your Bills
January 31st, 2015

Via Barking Up The Wrong Tree: "Ever feel like the cable company or your phone service provider is charging too much? Ever feel helpless to do much about it? You’re not crazy.
When you call them the customer service rep is reading from a script. I know somebody who has worked on producing those scripts — he’s a Harvard trained negotiator. An expert. He makes sure the phrasing triggers reciprocity and subtly includes a number of other techniques to benefit them — and not you.
So when you talk to the person reading that script you’re basically going up against a top tier negotiator. Totally not a fair fight. And that bugs me. A lot.
If they have experts helping them, we should have experts helping us. So I called a friend who is an expert. [...]

1. Do a little homework. Find out what they’re offering new customers.
2. Late night FM DJ voice. Speak in calm, measured tones and smile as you talk.
3. Start with “I’m sorry.” It grabs their attention and empowers them.
4. “This is going to sound harsh…” It sets them up for something big and makes whatever you say a relief.
5. Turn a complaint call into an appreciation call. This is forced empathy. They’ll want to help you.
6. A focused comparison with an open-ended question. And it’s probably going to bring your bill down a lot."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

Schönes Wochenende

Festival for Modern Listening
January 24th, 2015

Tim Turiak ask a group of people to send them illustrations only using a thick black marker for their poster series to promote a new festival in Düsseldorf called Schönes Wochenende [nice weekend].

My illustration was obviously inspired by my favorite game Mountain by fabulous David O'Reilly. They added a few German words meaning ...but work on your preference.

Filed under: Project Archive > Print

Courage, Creativity, Criticism, Success, and What It Means to Be a Great Artist

A review on 33 Artists in 3 Acts by
January 18th, 2015

Via Brain Pickings: "Artists don’t just make art. They create and preserve myths… In a sphere where anything can be art, there is no objective measurement of quality, so ambitious artists must establish their own standards of excellence. Generating such standards requires not only immense self-confidence, but the conviction of others. Like competing deities, artists today need to perform in ways that yield a faithful following. [...]

The walk and talk of an artist has to persuade, not just others but the performers themselves. Whether they have colorful, large-scale personas or minimal, low-key selves, believable artists are always protagonists, never secondary characters who inhabit stereotypes. For this reason, I see artists’ studios as private stages for the daily rehearsal of self-belief."

Via The Guardian: "Sarah Thornton’s book introduces us to a cast of characters who inhabit this world. Thornton is an insider. She describes herself as a sociologist of art and was previously the contemporary art critic for the Economist. She stages her book as ethnography. Photographs are few, small, and black and white, like in the 1950s. Here, Google is your first friend. You can boggle at the paintings of Zeng Fanzhi and look up the pieces you didn’t know already. Like an ethnographer, she is interested in myths. In the art world, myths help create, and feed, markets. But Thornton is not a debunker. She is a storyteller."

"I don't believe in art. I believe in artists." –Marcel Duchamp

Filed under: Wunderkammer

Hard / Talk

Stephen Sackur interviews Tracey Emin
January 13th, 2015

Never thought I would say this but Tracey Emin’s perspective in this BBC interview really resonates here and is meaningful to me, now.

Thanks to Manu Burghart!

Filed under: People

To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This

by Mandy Len Catron
January 12th, 2015

Via The New York Times: "I’ve skied steep slopes and hung from a rock face by a short length of rope, but staring into someone’s eyes for four silent minutes was one of the more thrilling and terrifying experiences of my life. I spent the first couple of minutes just trying to breathe properly. There was a lot of nervous smiling until, eventually, we settled in.
I know the eyes are the windows to the soul or whatever, but the real crux of the moment was not just that I was really seeing someone, but that I was seeing someone really seeing me. Once I embraced the terror of this realization and gave it time to subside, I arrived somewhere unexpected.

I felt brave, and in a state of wonder. Part of that wonder was at my own vulnerability and part was the weird kind of wonder you get from saying a word over and over until it loses its meaning and becomes what it actually is: an assemblage of sounds.

So it was with the eye, which is not a window to anything but a rather clump of very useful cells. The sentiment associated with the eye fell away and I was struck by its astounding biological reality: the spherical nature of the eyeball, the visible musculature of the iris and the smooth wet glass of the cornea. It was strange and exquisite.

When the timer buzzed, I was surprised — and a little relieved. But I also felt a sense of loss. Already I was beginning to see our evening through the surreal and unreliable lens of retrospect."

In this WIRED article you'll find all the questions.

Filed under: Wunderkammer

The Random Darknet Shopper

by Mediengruppe Bitnik
January 11th, 2015

Via Mediengruppe Bitnik: "The Random Darknet Shopper is an automated online shopping bot which we provide with a budget of $100 in Bitcoins per week. Once a week the bot goes on shopping spree in the deep web where it randomly choses and purchases one item and has it mailed to us. The items are shown in the exhibition The Darknet. From Memes to Onionland at Kunst Halle St. Gallen. Each new object ads to a landscape of traded goods from the Darknet.

The Random Darknet Shopper is a live Mail Art piece, an exploration of the deep web via the goods traded there. It directly connects the Darknet with the art space (exhibition space). By randomizing our consumerism, we are guaranteed a wide selection of goods from the over 16'000 listed on Agora market place."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

Visual Music at tanzhaus nrw

Temps d'Images closing event
January 7th, 2015

For the closing event of the Temps d'Images festival I have been invited to present works of my students on January 10th at tanzhaus nrw in Düsseldorf.
The tanzhaus nrw is also showing the live performance Olympia by Orson Hentschel, student in the Music and Media program at the Institute Of Music And Media. Olympia was created as a final project in the specialisation module Visual Music, supervised by Andreas Kolinski and me.

Afterwards there will be a party in the tanzhaus nrw foyer, with live visuals from Tim Fehske, assistant professor for Visual Music Technology/Production, to music by Christian S (Cómeme), assistant professor for Visual Composition / Graphic Design.

Filed under: Talks & Workshops

Your pounding heart

How to make stress your friend by Kelly McGonigal
January 5th, 2015

Via Kelly McGonigal: "In June 2013, I gave my stress confession at TEDGlobal in Edinburgh, Scotland. Find out why I changed my mind about stress, and why embracing stress is more important than reducing stress.

Watch the video, and check out the studies I described in the talk, below:

Keller, A., Litzelman, K., Wisk, L. E., Maddox, T., Cheng, E. R., Creswell, P. D., & Witt, W. P. (2012). Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality. Health Psychology, 31(5), 677.
Jamieson, J. P., Nock, M. K., & Mendes, W. B. (2012). Mind over matter: Reappraising arousal improves cardiovascular and cognitive responses to stress. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141(3), 417.
Poulin, M. J., Brown, S. L., Dillard, A. J., & Smith, D. M. (2013). Giving to others and the association between stress and mortality. American journal of public health, (0), e1-e7."

Thanks to Claudia Jericho!

Filed under:


Two of Disks: Be patient and trust
January 1st, 2015

Via Brain Pickings: "As adults boredom returns us to the scene of inquiry, to the poverty of our curiosity, and the simple question, What does one want to do with one’s time? What is a brief malaise for the child becomes for the adult a kind of muted risk. After all, who can wait for nothing? […]

We can think of boredom as a defense against waiting, which is, at one remove, an acknowledgement of the possibility of desire… In boredom, we can also say, there are two assumptions, two impossible options: there is something I desire, and there is nothing I desire. But which of the two assumptions, or beliefs, is disavowed is always ambiguous, and this ambiguity accounts, I think, for the curious paralysis of boredom… In boredom there is the lure of a possible object of desire, and the lure of the escape from desire, of its meaninglessness. […]

Boredom, I think, protects the individual, makes tolerable for him the impossible experience of waiting for something without knowing what it could be. So that the paradox of the waiting that goes on in boredom is that the individual does not know what he was waiting for until he finds it, and that often he does not know what he is waiting… Clearly, we should speak not of boredom, but of boredoms, because the notion itself includes a multiplicity of moods and feelings that resist analysis; and this, we can say, is integral to the function of boredom as a kind of blank condensation of psychic life."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

End of 2014

Ten to remember
31st December, 2014

Book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris is a superb read in its entirety, quite possibly the best thing written on this ecosystem of spiritual subjects since Alan Watts’s treatise on the taboo against knowing who you really are.
Concerts Without much expectations I went to to see Mutter playing at the infamous Luxor venue in Cologne, and got tons of energy infused. Experiencing their concert, and later this year ESG live gave me all the buzz needed for 2014. Come away!
Game David O'Reilly's work is outstanding, and now he has created a wonderful game. I love my Mountain, it was by far the best piece of art I saw in 2014. Very inspiring.
Hike There was another mountain that made me gasp this year. I saw spring waking up on La Gomera. Driving the rental car on those mountain passes was intense beyond description.
Magic My first encounter with family constellations was exhausting, inspiring, and totally mind blowing. Creating a family sculpture is a creative process that works magically. The process draws from indigenous spiritual mysticism to contribute towards releasing tensions, lightening emotional burdens, and resolving real-world problems. Highly recommended.
Performance In June Dr. Johanna Dombois, Prof. Dr. Swantje Lichtenstein, and I performed for the Literature Club Düsseldorf at Salon des Amateurs. We answered the secret questions of our audience by reading from our favorite books. An immensely enjoyable, and successful witchcraft triangle.
Quote I think conversation works best when the second thing that is said is not in the mind of the person who said the first thing. –John Cage
Scent I use dry Palo Santo for its reputed spiritual purifying properties. It worked.
Teenage Dream Went to see Boy George DJing at a tiny club, danced for hours right infront the DJ booth, kept pushing the button of the fog machine for him, and was totally in love again, just like back in 1982. This gentleman came out on the other side brighter, totally present and even more beautiful. Sparkling role model, and I will follow the lead – nice and slow.
Wallpaper Two of my best friends helped me to choose from the overwhelmingly beautiful wallpaper collection at 5qm in Cologne. The German idiom Tapetenwechsel [change of scenery] got a whole new depth for me after the renovation of my apartment was finished.

So, here we are... And what is next?

Filed under: Wunderkammer

The Art of Asking and the Shared Dignity of Giving and Receiving

by Amanda Palmer
December 28th, 2014

Via Brain Pickings: "Through the very act of asking people, I connected with them. And when you connect with them, people want to help you. It’s kind of counterintuitive for a lot of artists — they don’t want to ask for things. It’s not easy to ask. … Asking makes you vulnerable. […]

I don’t see these things as risks — I see them as trust. … But the perfect tools can’t help us if we can’t face each other, and give and receive fearlessly — but, more importantly, to ask without shame. … When we really see each other, we want to help each other. I think people have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is, ‘How do we make people pay for music?’ What if we started asking, ‘How do we let people pay for music?"

Via The Definitive Reading List of the 14 Best Books of 2014 Overall: "When you’re an artist, nobody ever tells you or hits you with the magic wand of legitimacy. You have to hit your own head with your own handmade wand. And you feel stupid doing it.

There’s no correct path to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to university, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected."

Watch her TED talk!

Filed under: People

Type as image in motion

Including an interview about my projects and research
December 18th, 2014

Via Hatje Cantz Verlag: "As in no other genre has type in films been set in motion: whether as art, feature and promotional film or music video the type motion film has become firmly established and extended to other areas since the pioneering days of film in the late 19th century. Schriftfilme – Schrift als Bild in Bewegung [Type Films – Type as image in motion] recently published by the publishing house Hatje Cantz Verlag particularly deals with the artistic type motion film and presents examples of analogue- or digital-based films, in which animated, graphically designed and voiced type becomes the protagonist and which exceeds by far what is expected from conventional type and type motion."

This volume also includes an extensive interview about my work with typography in motion and my subject of research, Visual Music.

Filed under: Project Archive > Research

Make-up tutorial to confuse facial identification software

Hiding from Big Brother with style
December 17th, 2014

Via Dangerous Minds: "As facial recognition technology makes the transition from dystopic science fiction boogie-man to modern Big Brother reality, folks are becoming understandably concerned about being tracked and recorded without their permission. In many cities, including New York, it is at least unwise if illegal to wear a mask in public, so completely obscuring your face is out of the question. As an alternative, artist and designer Adam Harvey has developed a make-up technique—CV Dazzle—that hides from facial recognition software but falls well within the parameters of legal fashion. Confusing the machines is surprisingly simple..."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

Here's What Worked

One Startup Tried Every Marketing Ploy
November 23rd, 2014

Via Forbes: "Looking back, Budman cautions that marketing can’t outweigh strength of product and market for a startup’s success. But if you do market, try to get specific with your audience, the CEO says.
The home runs have really been anything we can do to target our actual users, Budman reflects. You want to get as narrow as possible. If we can find Mac software developers in the Mission or in Brooklyn, it’s awesome.
Budman’s last tip? Keep your existing customers happy even as you chase the new. You want to do anything you can to help your customers. For five years we spent zero dollars on marketing, we relied on word-of-mouth. Then we were willing to try everything and we focus on niches now."

Filed under: Wunderkammer

The 36 People Who Run Wikipedia

by Stephen Lurie
November 10th, 2014

Great article on Matter: "But the precise makeup of Wikimedia makes it even more unlikely to be such a standout. Social democracies with robust safety nets — think Sweden — tend to thrive where there are homogenous populations; people are willing to care for people like themselves. With diverse and distant participants, stewardship, and Wikimedia itself doesn’t have that natural benefit.
So, from the angle of political economy, sociology, or just common sense, Wikimedia shouldn’t exist — and it certainly shouldn’t be so successful. What the nature and commitment of the stewards tells us, though, is that the mystery isn’t so mysterious at all."

I love Wikipedia and use it on a daily base. Have you considered donating once in a while?

Filed under: Wunderkammer

Dark Psychedelia

A conversation between Gean Moreno and Michael Jones McKean
November 8th, 2014

Via dis magazine: "GM: Some of this rewiring may be afoot. Neuroscience doesn’t tire of challenging our cherished idea of a phenomenal self. Certain strands of it are proposing the the notion of a self is just an evolutionary prop. There literally is no such thing as a self, just chemicals firing up the illusion of such a thing as a survival mechanism. It constantly reminds us that there is no me beyond the biochemistry. Once this knowledge seeps into the general culture and replaces our common-sense understanding of who and how we are, who knows what biological and cognitive consequences will follow?"

Filed under: People

The Three Breakthroughs That Have Finally Unleashed AI on the World

by Kevin Kelly
November 5th, 2014

Via Wired: "But we haven't just been redefining what we mean by AI—we've been redefining what it means to be human. Over the past 60 years, as mechanical processes have replicated behaviors and talents we thought were unique to humans, we've had to change our minds about what sets us apart. As we invent more species of AI, we will be forced to surrender more of what is supposedly unique about humans. We'll spend the next decade—indeed, perhaps the next century—in a permanent identity crisis, constantly asking ourselves what humans are for. In the grandest irony of all, the greatest benefit of an everyday, utilitarian AI will not be increased productivity or an economics of abundance or a new way of doing science—although all those will happen. The greatest benefit of the arrival of artificial intelligence is that AIs will help define humanity. We need AIs to tell us who we are."

Filed under: Wunderkammer


November 1st, 2014

Mutter in Cologne was definetly my concert of the year and if you haven't heard them yet it is high time. Do not miss their lyrics either. Reifen rollen.

Filed under: People

Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

by Sam Harris
October 6th, 2014

Via Brainpickings: "The human nervous system is plastic in a very important way — which means your experience of the world can be radically transformed. You are tending who you were yesterday by virtue of various habit patterns and physiological homeostasis and other things that are keeping you very recognizable to yourself, but it’s possible to have a very different experience… It’s possible to do it through a deliberate form of training, like meditation, and I think it’s crucial to do — because we all want to be as happy and as fulfilled and as free of pointless suffering as can possibly be. And all of our suffering, and all of our unhappiness, is a product of how our minds are in every moment. So if there’s a way to use the mind itself to improve one’s capacity for moment-to-moment wellbeing — which I’m convinced there is — then this should be potentially of interest to everybody. [...]

Waking Up, which you can sample further here, is a superb read in its entirety, quite possibly the best thing written on this ecosystem of spiritual subjects since Alan Watts’s treatise on the taboo against knowing who you really are."

Related: Introduction to Meditation: A Four-Part Series by Tara Brach

Filed under: Reading

We are listening

World's smallest microphone is just one molecule
October 5th, 2014

Via NewScientist: "The world's smallest microphone, made from a single molecule, is listening.
Smaller microphones can detect smaller vibrations. Yuxi Tian of Lund University in Sweden and his colleagues have taken this idea to extremes by embedding a molecule of dibenzoterrylene inside a crystal. When sound waves disturb the molecule, it vibrates, shifting the frequencies of light it absorbs. So by shining a laser into the crystal and watching for changes in absorption frequencies, the team can listen in on the sound it picks up.
One limitation is that the microphone only works at very low temperatures, because fluctuations from warm air would overwhelm the molecule. Still, the team hope that by refining the device, it could be used as an acoustic microscope to spot tiny motions in chemical and biological systems."

Filed under: Wunderkammer