Can Synesthesia Be Learned?

Adults Can Be Trained to Acquire Synesthetic Experiences
March 22nd, 2015

Via On Psychology and Neuroscience: "However, participants gained more than these perceptions. Bor et al. (2014) also found that participants who completed training showed an increase in their IQ by an average of 12 points, compared to controls. This suggests that there is something about learning synesthetic links that can result in an enhanced cognitive ability. These results are useful and exciting to explore. It is possible that this training could help individuals at risk for dementia or other diseases that cause cognitive decline."

Filed under: Visual Music

Workshop @ Academy of Art and Design Basel

The Self and the Other
March 21st, 2015

Regine Halter invited me to give the 2-day seminar The Self and the Other on March 30th and 31st at the Academy of Art and Design in Basel for their Conceptional Design Masterstudio students.
Have the great pleasure of co-teaching with Ralf Neubauer.

In the two days of the seminar the students critically reflect, analyze and discuss creating an identity for a client in the broader context of corporate identity projects.

Filed under: Talks & Workshops



Charismatic Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan Gives Public Lecture (1972)

Dramatic pauses, ironic self-reflection, and storms of emotion
March 20th, 2015

Via Open Culture: "The footage above is from an extremely rare – and unexpectedly entertaining – video of the philosopher and psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (1901-1981), giving a lecture at The Catholic University of Louvain in 1972. The film is notable for a couple of reasons:

1. In France, Lacan’s rock star status owed much to his popular public seminars. The charismatic iconoclast had been giving free public lectures for decades, and those lectures were usually packed with students, colleagues, skeptics, young radicals … and fans. The video gives you an idea of what the fuss was all about. Even at 70, Lacan still owns the room, and he has the presence of a stage actor, complete with dramatic pauses, ironic self-reflection, and pitch-perfect storms of emotion (see minute 15:07)

2. At minute 21:37, a politically inspired heckler tries to ambush him. It’s a moment right out of a comedy show, if the comedy show were chic and grainy and edited by Jean-Luc Goddard. Note the grace with which Lacan neutralizes the poor guy, lights his cigar and then concludes the lecture, even though the fallout from their encounter is still stuck in his hair.

Lacan’s ideas have fallen a bit out of fashion in the past two decades, particularly in the U.S., where psychoanalysis has been nudged out of the spotlight by neuroscience and post-structuralism has lost ground to post-colonial studies. But Lacan still has his fans, notably the Elvis of Philosophy, Slavoj Zizek, who dominates YouTube the way his predecessor once did salons."

Thanls to Manu Burghart!

Filed under: People



25 Predictions For What Marketing Will Look Like In 2020

March 19th, 2015

Via Fast Company: "Perfect end-to-end attribution (or knowing exactly what messages and actions led someone to buy a product) will remain an industry white whale. We’ve been talking about attribution for at least 80 years in marketing. New technology has given us much better data in some places, for instance, end-to-end attribution in search is a current reality. But for the majority of companies who sell goods in stores will still struggle with end-to-end attribution five years from now. New technologies, especially mobile wallets, offer some compelling possibilities for solving the problem, but at the end of the day, we’re still a long way from being able to tie the billboard exposure in Times Square to the bar of soap being purchased in Target.
Technology moves upstream. If you look at how technology has moved through marketing, it started at the edge (distribution of marketing assets) and has continued to move closer and closer to the actual planning and development of marketing itself. Over the next five years we’ll see technology complete this transition and become a part of the core fabric of marketing itself. [...]

Culture will still be king. People will continue to care more about culture than products, so brands that operate on a cultural level will be the winners of the future as they are of the present. [...]

Creative energy will see a shift away from agencies and towards publishers and platforms. An increasing number of the brightest creative minds will abandon standalone agencies for creative divisions of media companies and tech companies, and in turn, these will become the go-to shops for best-in-class brand services."

Filed under: Wunderkammer



Contra-Internet

by Zach Blas
March 18, 2015

Via Zach Blas: "Contra-Internet describes the emerging militancies and subversions of the Internet. Comprised of multiple series, Contra-Internet critiques the Internet as a hegemonic descriptor for digital networking and premier arena of political control, as well as documents and speculates upon network alternatives that social movements are developing globally, such as autonomous mesh networks, encryption tactics, and darknets. Inspired by the transgender theorist Beatriz Preciado’s Manifesto contrasexual, Contra-Internet is oriented from a feminist and queer perspective, in an effort to unite such political positions with a hacker ethos. Contra-Internet aims to function as an expansive conceptual, practical, and experimental framework for refusing the neoliberal logic of the Internet while building alternatives to its infrastructure."

Via dis magazine: "The Inversion Practices series is comprised of short, performative videos that utilize various conceptual-technical tactics to abandon and subvert the Internet."

Thanks to Carsten Görtz!

Filed under: People



The loving shrimp

La crevette amoureuse (1967/1975) by Henri Chopin
March 17th, 2015

Via art agenda: "The book is a philosophical parable, consisting of several dialogues between ERnest and MARiette, usually taking place before or after sex. He is characterized as a head of state or head of the world, and peppers his pillow talk with political concerns, the arbitrary laws and decrees of his own domain; his solipsism and arrogance are sometimes spurred on, sometimes discouraged by MARiette. As the book progresses, ERnest’s philosophical boutades appear to be a satire of the intellectualized epistemology of the Descartes-Berkeley-Hume-Kant-Fichte lineage. The text is in fact explicitly dedicated to Kant, whose self-centered brand of skepticism finds an extreme echo in ERnest’s absolutism as a ruler. Increasingly frustrated by the exercise of a power as absolute as it is vacuous (for his theories prevent him from acknowledging the existence of other subjects—both in the philosophical and in the political sense), ERnest ultimately resolves to forsake his name and, thereby, his subjectivity.

This summary, however, does little justice to La crevette amoureuse, which is visual as much as it is textual. Interspersed in its typewritten pages are both abstract and figurative compositions of symbols, reminiscent of Futurist poetry and of typographic art. Even though sometimes illustrative (the book includes portraits of its main characters, as well as geometric patterns), these compositions hardly qualify as illustrations as such, since in a way they are the text itself—they are literally made of the same stuff. The two forms flow into each other with no clear way of separating narration and image; at times Chopin explicitly challenges the meaningfulness of such distinctions, as when he presents a triangular sequence of punctuation marks as the text of one of ERnest’s last decrees. [...]

Chopin’s dactylopoèmes thus appear to be more than witty abstract compositions, or mere (if beautifully crafted) instances of typographic art: in this novel they are legitimate parts of a text. They are not appropriations or misuses of linguistic means to serve a pictorial end: they are extreme instances of their proper use—evolutions, if you like."

Filed under: People



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:



Change

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