Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Talking Wool. Copyright: Mina Mahouti, adapted by »Matters of Activity«
Talking Wool. Copyright: Mina Mahouti, adapted by »Matters of Activity«

Editorial Dear Friends of »Matters of Activity«,

It's finally spring and MoA is reaching out and expanding its network! In the coming weeks, we are particularly looking forward to engaging in exchange with the public in various constellations with new partners: We cordially invite you to the book launch of »Driving the Human« at Sophienstraße on May 10th, where we would like to share our experiences on the interaction of design and scientific approaches. Furthermore, we invite you to several workshops on the topic of air within the framework of the experimental laboratory »CollActive Materials«. In this context, we are particularly pleased to visit the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Happy reading,
Antje Nestler, Carolin Ott & Franziska Wegener

Liebe Freund:innen von »Matters of Activity«,

endlich ist es Frühling und MoA streckt seine Fühler aus und baut sein Netzwerk aus! In den kommenden Wochen freuen wir uns insbesondere darauf, in verschiedenen Konstellationen mit neuen Partner*innen und der Öffentlichkeit in den Austausch zu gehen: Sehr herzlich laden wir zum Book Launch von »Driving the Human« am 10. Mai in der Sophienstraße ein, bei dem wir insbesondere unsere Erfahrungen zum Zusammenspiel gestalterischer und wissenschaftlicher Ansätze teilen möchten. Weiterhin laden wir im Rahmen des Experimentallabors CollActive Materials zu mehreren Workshops zum Thema Luft ein. Hier freuen wir uns schon besonders darauf, an der Hochschule für Schauspielkunst Ernst Busch zu Besuch zu sein.

Viel Spaß beim Lesen!
Antje Nestler, Carolin Ott & Franziska Wegener

My ABC is... Active
Iva Rešetar and Léa Perraudin Share Impressions from their Research Stay at the Stiftung Sitterwerk
Research Stay at Sitterwerk, St. Gallen, March 2023. Copyright: Iva Rešetar
Research Stay at Sitterwerk, St. Gallen, March 2023. Copyright: Iva Rešetar
24.4.2023

News | Material Form Function In March 2023 MoA research associates Iva Rešetar and Léa Perraudin were invited for a research stay at the Stiftung Sitterwerk in St. Gallen, to take part in the workshop series »My ABC is...«, and interpret the dynamic order of the library and material archive from the perspective of their research. Their intervention was guided by the search for activity in materials – the mechanisms of control and cooperation – that extend beyond the realm of human influence or perception. »My ABC is... Active« asked how materials are tied to their contexts, how they reveal processes and transform over time. Rešetar and Perraudin challenged the prevailing view of materials as stable and standardized entities. more

Brain-constrained Neural Modeling Explains Fast Mapping of Words to Meaning
New Publication by Cluster Members Rosario Tomasello and Friedemann Pulvermüller
20.2.2023

News | Cutting | Brain | Publications Although teaching animals a few meaningful signs is usually time-consuming, children acquire words easily after only a few exposures, a phenomenon termed »fast mapping«. Meanwhile, most neural network learning algorithms fail to achieve reliable information storage quickly, raising the question of whether a mechanistic explanation of fast mapping is possible. Here, we applied brain-constrained neural models mimicking fronto-temporal-occipital regions to simulate key features of semantic associative learning. more

More-than-Ethnographic Probes: On Scales, Design Anthropology and Sensory Practices Beyond-the-Human
Maxime Le Calvé Invited to Teach alongside Alice Jarry at Concordia University, Montreal
Maxime Le Calvé, Fieldwork Charité, 2022. Copyright: Maxime Le Calvé, Matters of Activity.
Maxime Le Calvé, Fieldwork Charité, 2022. Copyright: Maxime Le Calvé, Matters of Activity.
21.4.2023

News | Cutting | Object Space Agency | More-Than-Human Cluster Member Maxime Le Calvé will travel to Montreal for a short research and teaching stay at the Milieux Biolab and the Milieux Speculative Life Cluster at Concordia University. He is invited by Prof. Alice Jarry, an assistant professor of Design and Computation Arts (Concordia University, Montréal) who holds the Concordia University Research Chair in Critical Practices in Materials and Materiality.
Together, they will conduct the workshop »More-Than-Ethnographic Probes«. This workshop is a fieldwork and a platform for the development of collaborative sketching, writing, and documentation methods. The workshop will be followed by a roundtable panel at the »Uncommon Senses« Conference at Concordia on May 4th. The panel will be chaired by anthropologist Stefan Helmreich (MIT). Moreover, Maxime will present a paper on the »Sensory Ethnography« panel at the »Uncommon Senses« conference, with the title: »Sketching a Sense of Presence: Graphic Ethnography as Speculative Sensorial Attunement to Neurosurgical Practice«. more

Material Knowledge
MoA Members Contribute to New Event Series Organized by HZK/CARMAH
Poster Talk Series, HZK and CARMAH, 2023. Copyright: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Poster Talk Series, HZK and CARMAH, 2023. Copyright: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
26.4.2023

News | Object Space Agency | Weaving | Textiles | Daoula Sheen On Wednesday, April 26th, the seminar series with the theme of WARP (Werkstatt für kulturelle Ausdrucksweisen und Recherche in der Praxis) will kick off with a tour through the exhibition »DAOULA | sheen« by one of the Co-curators and MoA Member Laurence Douny. MoA Pre-Doctoral Researcher Yoonha Kim will hold a talk on »Wearing Sallim« on May 3rd, and MoA Associated Member Lucy Norris about »Regenerative Fibre Cultures: Fashioning New threads of Connection« on June 14th. The talks and workshops will explore diverse forms of material knowledge in research, material culture, curation, technology, and art and are organized by Magdalena Buchczyk from the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH). They take place Wednesdays 4–5.30 pm (CEST) either at Hermann von Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik or digitally on Zoom. more

Futures of Air
Speculative Workshop Series in May
Futures of Air. Copyright: CollActive Materials
Futures of Air. Copyright: CollActive Materials
6.5.2023–20.5.2023

Event | Air | Science Communication | Collactive Materials Ungraspable! Air is invisible, yet it is eyerywhere. Always already on its way to becoming something else. From molecule to atmosphere: the global climate crisis and thus the possible futures of our coexistence will be decided by means of air. Does the air belong to all of us? What stories lie in the air? What will connect us in the future? Our workshop series invites you to speculate about »Futures of Air« – together with researchers from »Matters of Activity« and »Science of Intelligence«. In three different co-design workshops, we explore and negotiate the critical role of air as a collective, active, and intelligent material. An exhibition will present the workshop conversations and outcomes in the fall of 2023 at Aufbau Haus (CLB Berlin). more

Driving the Human: Seven Prototypes for Eco-social Renewal
Book Launch with Hand-On-Workshops, Guided Tours, a Talk, and Debates at Matters of Activity
Driving the Human Book Launch at Matters of Activity, 10 May 2023. Copyright: Camille Blake / Driving the Human
Driving the Human Book Launch at Matters of Activity, 10 May 2023. Copyright: Camille Blake / Driving the Human
10.5.2023

Event | Weaving | Filtering | Cutting | Material Form Function | Object Space Agency | Symbolic Material | Prototype / Model | Science Communication On May 10th, the three-year initiative »Driving the Human: Seven Prototypes for Eco-social Renewal« celebrated the Berlin launch of the final publication with »Matters of Activity« at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. From 3.30 pm, the Cluster opened the doors to its premises in Sophienstraße 22a and invited interested guests to workshops and guided tours, a talk, and lively debates reflecting on the three-year process of »Driving the Human«. Partners, experts, and project authors were on hand to discuss with guests the relationship between research, design and art. On this occasion, many cluster members also provided insights into their research work at »Matters of Activity«. more

Encounters & Fabulations at the Edges of the Human
Writing Workshop on 11 May with Anthropologist Stuart McLean
Visual Writing Workshop, Stuart McLean, May 2023. Copyright: Maxime Le Calvé, Matters of Activity
Visual Writing Workshop, Stuart McLean, May 2023. Copyright: Maxime Le Calvé, Matters of Activity
11.5.2023

Event | Object Space Agency | Cutting | Text | More-Than-Human What new possibilities for thinking and living might result from extending the notion of creativity beyond the human realm? The worlds that humans often pride themselves on creating are not and have never been exclusively human but are dependent upon and inflected by a multitude of other-than-human powers and presences, including animals, plants, geological formations, weather systems, and a range of humanly manufactured artifacts fashioned from a variety of materials. On May 11th, from 11 am–3 pm, Stuart McLean, professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota, is invited by Cluster member Maxime Le Calvé as part of the stretching senses school (Cutting/OSA) to give a writing workshop on multimodal anthropological fabulations – you're kindly invited to join! more

Talking Wool – Wool in Exchange
Activating Circular Networks Event Series Will Kick Off on 1 June at Uferhallen Wedding
Copyright: Mina Mahouti
Copyright: Mina Mahouti
1.6.2023

Event | Filtering | Material Form Function | Wool | Circular Economies On June 1st, 2023, from 3 to 7 pm, at the Uferhallen in Wedding, the ›Activating Circular Networks‹ event series will kick off with »Talking Wool«: an event that brings designers, academics, politicians, and farmers together to discuss the issues surrounding European and local German wool, the problem of wool waste in particular, and fiber security. The workshop takes place within the ongoing group exhibition »Zur Nachahmung empfohlen - Erkundungen in Ästhetik und Nachhaltigkeit«. Our host for the event is professor and artist Folke Köbberling, an expert in exploring these challenges and potentials of coarse wool for years. more

Code and Materiality
Join this year's Culture and Computer Science Conference in Lisbon, Portugal
Copyright: Lucas Olivero
Copyright: Lucas Olivero

CALL This year's International Conference on Culture and Computer Science will take place from 27-29 September in Lisbon, Portugal, and focus on the topic »Code and Materiality«. The chairs of the Conference, MoA members Johann Habakuk Israel, Christian Kassung, and Jürgen Sieck, invite interested researchers to submit full articles’ proposals (6-10 pages) for oral presentations in English by May 21st, 2023.

To this day, our understanding of technology has been shaped by the idea of industrialization as progress that makes our daily life safer and easier, but at the same time more diverse. In our post-digital age, physical and virtual systems are becoming more and more inseparable. Concepts for new products and systems are often conceived, implemented, and tested in digital and real environments at the same time. This is especially true for extended reality applications in which code and materiality, virtuality, and reality form a unit.
Discussions of new materiality go hand in hand with physical and hybrid realities. At the same time, software and computer programs are increasingly helping to develop physical innovative materials for product design and other application fields. However, this new understanding of materiality is not only found in product design but also in arts and culture created and/or presented in combination with digital technologies such as extended reality (VR, MR, AR). The entanglement between the physical world and computer-generated data cuts across and expands far beyond disciplines such as human-computer interaction, machine-to-machine communication, computer graphics, sensor systems, humanities, and artistic sciences such as sound, visual, culture, and design studies. With our 21st International Conference on Culture and Computer Science, we want to address the multifaceted bridges between physicality and virtuality, between culture, arts, and engineering.

Please find the detailed call with focus topics and submission guidelines ↗ here.