Prosthetic Memory

M Eifler has created a project called Prosthetic Memory after a serious brain injury which resulted in her losing the capabilities of her memory. Her long term memory is dramatically lowered and can only hold on to little information. Instead of being able to remember important memories of her life, she can only remember simple information such as her phone number or how to ride a bike.

Prosthetic memory has 3 components that work together to assist her in having access to her memory through this digital assistance.

  1. A custom machine learning algorithm that acts as a bridge between the physical world she interacts with and the virtual memories that make up her prosthetic( additional) memory.
  2. Handmade paper journals that include drawings, collages and writings are digitally registered into a database and work as triggers for memories.
  3. Video documentation, similar to vlogging, that capture events, emotions, reactions and feelings that occur during her every day life.

When a picture from the paper journals is exposed to the AI’s camera, the network recognizes the visual trigger and gives her access to all the documented files of the day the paper artwork was created. There are cameras places all around her house that monitor her actions and can offer access to similar memories depending on the tasks she is performing. Objects and tools around her house are also tracked by the AI and she can revisit memories related to the object she is using.

I believe that Interaction design has a lot to offer to people with disabilities and use technology in the most efficient way possible to assist people with special needs. The project “Prosthetic Memory” is very inspiring and fuels a lot of creativity towards that area.

Digital Prayer

Kristina Tica draws attention to the form, limitations and advantages of a medium regarding artistic expression. The interaction between the artist and the medium that is being used for the production of an artifact is a retrograding process. The artist influences the medium and the medium influencing the artists in a constant and uninterrupted fashion. For this art installation, Kristina Tica used visual coding and AI neural networks. She emphasized on the interest that arises from trying to get behind the invisible mechanism on which the user interface of a medium influences the interaction between the artist and the artwork. With this state of mind, she experiments with the boundaries and limitation of visual programming in an attempt to discover its boundaries.

Digital Prayer

Her team created an AI neural network that collected and analyzed more than 40 thousand pictures of traditional Christian Orthodox iconography and proceeded to generate religious depictions autonomously. Kristina believes that the chaotic world of numbers in a code and all the uncountable calculations done by the AI neural network take substance in the form of those pictures. In the same way a picture communicates silently many unspoken words, the neural network communicates with pictures all the invisible numbers that stand behind it. It is worth to be mentioned, that during the presentation of the installation in physical space, both the generated artifacts and the code behind each of them will be exposed to the audience.

In my opinion, and based on my cultural background, unifying religious artifacts with artificial intelligence is simultaneously fascinating and highly controversial.

As an individual I was caught off guard when I stumbled upon this project because it made me realize that religion is one aspect of life that has yet not been subjected to any substantial forms of digitalization. We live in a world where many of the aspects of our lives are heavily influenced by technology and digitalization and humanity is in the process of actively pursuing to digitalize even more areas of life. The matter of faith and religion proposes a huge topic of analysis and a challenging task when it becomes subjective to AI and technology.

As an interaction designer it is challenging thinking of the parameters and the approaches that should be considered, or even allowed, when attempting to build an effective hypothetical digitalized interaction between humans and their faith.

AI x Ecology

The panel AI x Ecology deals with the question how technology can influence our environment and ecology. I have often asked myself how sustainable technology, internet use and especially streaming is and how we can use technology to live more sustainable. In her talk „Computational Sustainability: Computing for a Better World and a Sustainable Future“ Carla P. Gomes gives an insight into her work and explains what sustainable development means. 

Performance and Interaction

Animate Architecture • Build Installations • Collaborate With Performers & Machines • Code With Interfaces • Create Sonic Environments • Choreograph Light • Use Advanced Manufacturing • Reimagine Robots • Augment Bodies • Construct Virtual Realities – these are not just simple buzzwords, but much more enables us to consider space, context, systems, objects and people as potential performers to recognize the wide scope for creativity. 

The Interactive Architecture Lab based at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London deals with exactly these topics and runs a Masters Programme in design for performance and interaction. Dr. Ruairi Glynn, the Director of this Lab, is trying to break the boundaries and to develop new kinds of practices within this Programme. The core of the Master is “the belief that the creation of spaces for performance and the creation of performance within them are symbiotic design activities”. He sees performance in interaction as a holistic design practice and gave a wide range of (student) projects at the Ars Eletronica 2020, which can also be seen as an impact and inspiration for today’s and future’s development of interaction design. 

Gustav Klimt – “The Kiss” as Gigapixel

The painting “The Kiss” is not only one of the most famous paintings in Austria, but also an iconic work of art history. Even before the painter finished its masterpiece, it was purchased by the Austrian state and has been in the Belvedere Museum in Vienna ever since. Every year thousands of visitors come to see the work of art.

u19 – create your world 2020

Creating your World to Change our Perspektive – Der Augenblick davor. Damit beschäftigte sich das diesjährige Ars Eletronica für alle u19 Teilnehmer. Bei diesem Vortrag wurden die GewinnerInnen vorgestellt, die im Folgendem aufgeführt sind. Sehr spannend ist dabei zu beobachten, dass sich viele Werke mit Themen beschäftigen, die charakteristische Züge zu der derzeitigen Covid-19 Situation aufzeigen, obwohl die Einreichung der Projekte vor der Pandemie stattgefunden hat. 

Bot Bop | Musical creation and innovation with AI | Concert & Talk | BOZAR x Ars Electronica

To gain more insights about AI in combination with music I’ve chosen the act of Bozar which was marked at the Ars Electronica festival program with a star. „Live coding expert and drummer Dago Sondervan and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Claes team up for an experimental exploration of artificial intelligence in music performance. Armed with an arsenal of specifically developed tools and applications, the duo will train a virtual agent towards musical autonomy and realtime interaction, becoming a trio along the way“ (Palais des beaux-arts de Bruxelles – Musical creation and innovation with AI, 2020)”.

The mixture of human act and AI agents was very interesting to me, because I’ve never seen a performance like that. Starting with the concert, the music sounded very abstract and technical to me, which made it very futuristic. After that the Dago Sondermann, Andrew Claes and Dr. Frederik de Bläser gave an interview about their performance. To create the sounds the artists use a patching software where they record them and programs them within shifts of random notes – that’s the moment where AI comes to play. It gets input with images, shifting notes and messages, which triggers the AI to give outputs. So this is called a combination of generative and adaptive systems and AI. At this point Dr. Frederik de Bläser explains that AI is assisting them and learning from them as a creative partner. The role of the actor is to playing a piece of music and then the intelligent assistant adds its input which creates a feedback loop and kind of a dialog between the artist and the AI. It’s very special kind of music, which cannot be defined as melodically in my opinion because it has many layers of sound and it’s very textured, but the aim of the artists is also to make the music sound like machines. Also the more complex the AI becomes the less it is to control. At this point the whole thing becomes very discussable wether there’s a limit for AI or not. There was also a little discussion with the interviewer and the artists about this, which I found interesting because I’ve never thought about the role of AI in the music sector. But it could be a black box: surprising but also uncontrollable, because due to Bazar it’s sometimes completely wrong what AI understands. It has to have more and more information, but hard to train. You can give it more context but that makes it more difficult to handle. 

In conclusion I can say that AI works good for live performances to show the functionality of it, even with the music sounds not melodic to me. I can imagine it to use it more commercial to make it more accessible to everyone, to create custom-made music and have a individual music experience like already mentioned in the interview. Although it can get hard to handle or expensive at the moment. But maybe this will change due to interests of some companies in the future, because AI is still associated as a scary and unfamiliar tool.

Palais des beaux-arts de Bruxelles – Musical creation and innovation with AI. (2020, 13.September). Bot Bop: Musical creation and innovation with AI | Concert & Talk | BOZAR x Ars Electronica [Video]. YouTube.

Design Discourse Summary

In this post I want to summarize all international design lectures. It was quite interesting and also so various to get insights from experts in different kind of design fields.

01 Andrey Sudarikov
Andrey Sudarikov is a Russian designer. In his lecture he talks about projects he realized with his studio. They are mainly in the field of AR, interaction design and mixed media installations.

02 Saskia Schmidt
Saskia Schmidt talks in her lecture about her career and her way to the her independence. She points out how important it is to build a network.

03 Astrid Kury
Astrid Kury is director of the academy Graz. In her lecture she reports about the importance of collaboration in our society especially when working in an interdisciplinary team for different projects.

04 Florian Doppel-Prix
Florian Doppel-Prix gives in his lecture “Is it art or can we toss it” insights into his world of exhibition design. The projects are very varied and interesting at the same time. But unfortunately you can sometimes not understand him well because of the surroundings.

05 Burcin Cem Arabacioglu
Burcin Cem Arabacioglu is a professor from Istanbul. In his lecture “Sustainability from interior design perspective” he talks about the rapidly growing population and the ecological consequences. To be honest I had a rather hard time to follow the lecture.

06 Sylwia Ulicka
Sylwia Ulicka is a researcher and professor from Puebla, Mexico. In her lecture she talks about the importance of sustainability and criticizes the consumption of the society. In her opinion, designers can make a great contribution to an ecological future. I find the perspective very interesting because we are quite familiar with the topic of sustainability right now after this semester.

07 Ursula Tischner
Ursula Tischner also reports in her lecture about nowadays consumer behaviour and the waste of ressources. The role of a designer is very important because we have a big influence on the society to make other people aware of this topic and also engage them to make a positive contribution to the planet.

08 INNOCAD and 13&9
Anastasia and Martin Lesjak present their architectural office INNOCAD and product design office 13&9. The project of the Solar Innovation Center was very interesting because they play with light and color and even implement sounds.

09 Wolfgang Schlag
In his lecture Wolfgang Schlag gives an overview of the history of radio and the importance of this medium. In his opinion, the radio will survive despite the Internet and other new media.

Lecture #3 – Astrid Kury: Why collaborate?

Astrid Kur, director of Akademie Graz, talks in this lecture about how important collaborations can be, or why we should work more together as designers, artists and cultural institutions.

„In what world we want to life in. In a rather competitive, isolated, egoistic one, or in one where we share our ideas and aim for the best outcome together?“

Thats actually a quite interesting question at the beginning from her and it raises some thoughts. For Astrid Kury collaboration has many benefits:

  • It benefits from sharing ideas and knowledge
  • it increases social relevance and a social impact
  • It creates coherence in complexity
  • you can create unique solutions with different expertises

It’s very difficult today to handle a project alone, we need to work with other people in every region. Also she mentioned interdisciplinary. I think we always need experts in every kind of field to work together in order to realize cool project. Thats crucial for finding new ideas and solutions.

In the project „Linguistic Landscape Graz“ she mentions how important it is, to integrate the audience as well during the process. The learning outcome was much bigger by learning with and through the audience.

Participation is also very important. Engaging the audience is the key for a successful project/exhibition. Participation creates a genuine outcome and play an active role in the project.

To sum it up, the importance of collaboration should be really considered and not underestimated as a designer. The project she showed us wouldn’t be realized by only one person. There is a big team behind every project therefore collaboration with different experts are essential. So I totally agree with her in the benefits of collaboration. I really liked her clear structured presentation too and that we could easily followed her seeing the information when she talks about it.

Lecture #2 – Saskia Schmidt: Work Work Balance

In her lecture “Work Work Balance”, Saskia Schmidt talks about her personal path to independence and also her ups and downs during her design career.

Everything started with a design education in her hometown. She decided to learn more about design and started her Information Design study in Graz. Philipp Kanape course also leaded her to specialize in Branding.

Due to a lack of enthusiasm for programming, she had time for an internship, which she could do at EnGarde. She describes this time as one of her best experiences where she learned essential thinks to start a project.

“Ein guter Gestalter kennt die Regeln und setzt sie außer Kraft.”

This means that only when you know all the rules you can consciously integrate or break them in the design to create something extraordinary.

After her time at EnGarde, the next internship was just around the corner: Studio Grau and Wednesday Paper Works in Berlin. She talks about her learning outcomes and the advantages of smaller studios. Also by showing some cool project, her bachelor thesis was also included which she wrote at Studio Grau. After graduating she found her first job where she was not quite satisfied. Therefore she decided to work at Von K Design at the same time.

„Du kannst nicht auf alles scheißen & dich dann wundern wenn’s stinkt“

Actually she wanted to work independently, which is why she quit her two jobs. It doesn’t worked out fully so she cooperated with EnGarde again for a short time project. After that, she really wanted to work exclusively on her own – but it didn’t work out again. Unexpectedly a call came from Studio Grau in Berlin. She again held back her independence to take the opportunity to represent the managing director because she got pregnant. She was not only working as a designer anymore, but also had to deal with management tasks. The projects which were created at that time were really impressive for me.

Her network, which she had already built up during her time in Graz, was her foundation for her career. Today, she works with a broad network of agencies, many of which originated during her internship and they became really good friends to her.

I really liked this lecture because I could comprehend so many situations. What I also find interesting is that she also describes the importance of not only working for big prestigious design agencies, but also of looking more closely at which company is most appealing to you. I will definitely keep that in mind.