Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Cover image of publication »Active Materials«, edited by: Peter Fratzl, Michael Friedman, Karin Krauthausen and Wolfgang Schäffner. Published December 2021. Copyright: De Gruyter, adapted by Matters of Activity
Cover image of publication »Active Materials«, edited by: Peter Fratzl, Michael Friedman, Karin Krauthausen and Wolfgang Schäffner. Published December 2021. Copyright: De Gruyter, adapted by Matters of Activity

Editorial Dear friends of »Matters of Activity«,

We wish you a happy and healthy new year and are looking forward to many exciting events and projects that we want to realize in 2022! We would like to invite you once again to visit the exhibition »Stretching Materialities« at the Tieranatomisches Theater, which has been extended until March 4th. Individual tours can be booked in advance. Furthermore, we are welcoming many new Members into our rows, that we are very happy to work with. Finally, we would like to refer you to the many great publications that have been released in the past weeks.

Happy reading,
Antje, Carolin & Franziska

Liebe Freund:innen von »Matters of Activity«,

wir wünschen allen ein frohes und gesundes neues Jahr und freuen uns auf viele spannende Veranstaltungen und Projekte, die wir 2022 realisieren wollen! Sehr gern möchten wir nochmal sehr herzlich dazu einladen, die Ausstellung »Stretching Materialities« im Tieranatomischen Theater zu besuchen, die bis zum 4. März verlängert wurde. Individuelle Touren können im Vorfeld gebucht werden. Weiterhin begrüßen wir viele neue Mitglieder und freuen uns sehr auf die Zusammenarbeit mit ihnen. Schließlich möchten wir euch auf die vielen großartigen Veröffentlichungen unserer Mitglieder verweisen, die in den vergangenen Wochen erschienen sind.

Viel Spaß beim Lesen
Antje, Carolin & Franziska

Active Materials
Central Cluster Anthology Published on 20 December 2021
Cover of publication »Active Materials«, edited by: Peter Fratzl, Michael Friedman, Karin Krauthausen and Wolfgang Schäffner. Published December 2021. Copyright: De Gruyter

Cover of publication »Active Materials«, edited by: Peter Fratzl, Michael Friedman, Karin Krauthausen and Wolfgang Schäffner. Published December 2021. Copyright: De Gruyter  

News | Publication What are active materials? This book aims to introduce and redefine conceptions of matter by considering materials as entities that ›sense‹ and respond to their environment. By examining the modeling of, the experiments on, and the construction of these materials, and by developing a theory of their structure, their collective activity, and their functionality, this volume identifies and develops a novel scientific approach to active materials. Moreover, essays on the history and philosophy of metallurgy, chemistry, biology, and materials science provide these various approaches to active materials with a historical and cultural context. The Open Access anthology was published on December 20th, 2021. → more

Anthology »Modell Hütte« Published
Contributions from the Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Design Approach the Hut as a Model
Cover »Modell Hütte«. Copyright: diaphanes Verlag
Cover »Modell Hütte«. Copyright: diaphanes Verlag

News | Publication At the end of December 2021, the anthology »Modell Hütte. Von emergenten Strukturen, schützender Haut und gebauter Umwelt« (translated: »Model Hut. Of emergent structures, protective skin and built environment«) was published by diaphanes Verlag. In it, the editors, MoA member Karin Krauthausen and Rebecca Ladewig, bring together multidisciplinary contributions that approach the hut as a model in many different ways. The German volume goes back to two conferences on the »Typology of the Hut« (in 2016 and 2017) of the Cluster of Excellence »Image Knowledge Gestaltung«, but was also expanded afterwards with additional contributions. → more

Podcast Optimal Neuro|spine – Episode with Thomas Picht on Digital Neurosurgery
Cluster Professor Interviewed by US-American Neurosurgeon and Podcaster Max Boakye
Image Podcast Optimal neuro|spine. Copyright: 2022 Optimal neuro|spine
Image Podcast Optimal neuro|spine. Copyright: 2022 Optimal neuro|spine

News | Cutting In episode 15 of the podcast »Optimal neuro|spine«, Cluster Professor for Digital Neurosurgery Thomas Picht was interviewed by US-American colleague Max Boakye. Together they take a deep dive into everything that digital neurosurgery entails, exciting technological advancements in the field, and the future ramifications of the digitalization of medicine. → more

STEM on a Mission
Cluster Members Mario Cypko and Julia Blumenthal on a Career in Medical Informatics and What 3D Printing Has to Do With That
STEM on a mission: medical informatics. Copyright: MINT Magie (Familie Redlich for Bundesministerium for Education & Research)
STEM on a mission: medical informatics. Copyright: MINT Magie (Familie Redlich for Bundesministerium for Education & Research)

News | Cutting Detecting diseases faster, simplifying operations or facilitating communication with patients: medical informatics specialists develop methods and tools to support and improve our healthcare system. The new episode of »MINT auf Mission» (STEM on a mission) with Cluster Members Mario Cypko and Julia Blumenthal shows what their day-to-day work looks like in the process. You also learn how lifelike models of organs are produced with the 3D printer and robots assist in the operating room. → more

Performance and Politics
MoA Member Karin Krauthausen in Conversation with Milo Rau at the Mosse Lectures
Poster Mosse Lectures 2021/22
Poster Mosse Lectures WS 2021/22

Event | Weaving How does a Jesus film become a political campaign and a new distribution system for tomatoes and art? How do unlikely solidarities emerge between continents, between artists and activists, between genres and forms of production? What is a symbolic institution and how can we change the world through art? On Thursday, January 13th, 2022, director and author Milo Rau and MoA member Karin Krauthausen talked about »Performance and Politics«. The ↗ recording can be seen on the Mosse Lecture YouTube channel. → more

From the Practice of Interdisciplinary Education: Coding IxD Project goes into the Sixth Round
»Digital:Sovereignity«. Copyright: Project Coding IXD
»Digital:Sovereignity«. Copyright: Project Coding IXD

News | Coding IxD After an unavoidable pause due to the pandemic situation last year, the practice project »Coding IxD« (Informatik x Design) takes place for the sixth time at the Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity« – this year covering the topic on »Digital:Sovereignty«. The course offer is a cooperation of the working group Human-Centered Computing headed by Prof. Dr. Claudia Müller-Birn (FU Berlin) and the Embodied Interaction Group by Prof. Carola Zwick, Prof. Judith Glaser and Prof. Thomas Ness (weißensee school of art and design berlin). → more

New Members and Roles
Flavia Caviezel

With a background in ethnography, film studies, constitutional law and documentary-essayistic video practice Flavia Caviezel is researching, teaching and publishing on border issues, ecologies, new materialism, non-linear presentation formats, methods and procedures. Transdisciplinary collaborations at the intersection of artistic-scientific practice are characteristic for her work, as in the research projects »RhyCycling« and »Times of Waste«. Flavia supports the Cluster as an Associated Member of »Object Space Agency«. → more

Dr. Michael Friedman

At the beginning of the new year, mathematician, historian of mathematics and scholar of philosophy Michael Friedman has started his new position as Senior Lecturer at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University. For this reason, he is now an Associated Investigator to »Matters of Activity« and will contribute to the projects »Symbolic Material« and »Weaving« in this new role. → more

Copyright: Stephan Brendgen
Dr. Thomas Helbig

Thomas Helbig studied fine arts, art history, and philosophy in Dresden and Berlin. He received his PhD from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin for his work on Jean-Luc Godard’s video essay »Histoire(s) du cinema« under the supervision of Michael Diers, Claudia Blümle and Volker Pantenburg. He is an Associated Member in the project »Object Space Agency« with a postdoc project in the field of Screen Aesthetics. → more

Dr. Sabine Marienberg

Since August 2021, Sabine Marienberg is project lead of »Symbolic Material« together with Horst Bredekamp and Wolfgang Schäffner succeeding Samo Tomšič, who has accepted a visiting professorship for philosophy at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg.
A Romanist and philosopher by training, Sabine has contributed to many renowned interdisciplinary projects on the relationship between language, signs, and images, most recently in 2014-2018 as project lead of the VW funded research project »Symbolic Articulation«, before joining the Cluster »Matters of Activity« as a Research Associate in 2019. → more

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Vera Meyer

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Vera Meyer runs the Chair of Molecular and Applied Microbiology at Technische Universität Berlin since 2011. The research and optimization of fungal cell factories are the focus, with the aim of a more effective use of fungal metabolic potentials for the production of drugs, platform chemicals, enzymes and biomaterials in the sense of a sustainable bioeconomy and circular economy. Together with her team, she pursues a holistic approach and develops as well as combines methods from systems biology and synthetic biology. Vera Meyer is now an Associated Member of »Object Space Agency«. → more

Prof. Dr. Lucy Norris

Lucy Norris is a social anthropologist interested in how materials and technologies are culturally conceived, embedded in human economies and shape local ecologies. She has worked on textiles, recycling and global waste economies, and the role of design in developing strategies for social and environmental justice. She writes, curates and collaborates with visual artists to communicate with wider audiences. Lucy is Guest Professor of Design Research and Material Culture at weißensee school of art and design berlin and Associated Member in »Weaving« and »Material Form Function«. → more

Elisabeth Obermeier

As of January 2022, Elisabeth Obermeier is in charge of Gender and Diversity at »Matters of Activity« and part of the Cluster’s Publications Team in the Management Office. Prior to her MA in Cultural Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Elisabeth studied art and visual history and fine arts in Düsseldorf, Berlin and London. She has been part of »Matters of Activity« since 2019. From 2015 to 2018, she was a student assistant at the Cluster of Excellence »Bild Wissen Gestaltung« and the International Society for Model Research. → more

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ingolf Sack

Ingolf Sack is an expert in NMR spectroscopy, MRI, biomechanics, acoustics and tumor mechanics and a pioneer in imaging mechanical soft tissue properties such as stiffness and viscosity of living tissue for clinical diagnosis and basic research. In 2010, he became a Heisenberg Professor of Elastography of the German Research Foundation. Since 2019 he is a full professor for quantitative MRI and elastography at the Department of Radiology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. At »Matters of Activity«, he will contribute as an Associated Investigator in the project »Cutting«. → more

Prof. Dr. Daniel Tyradellis

Daniel Tyradellis is a philosopher and curator. After studying philosophy and philosophy of science, he received his doctorate in 2003 at the chair of Friedrich Kittler with a thesis on the genesis of Husserl’s phenomenology in the context of the mathematical crisis of foundations. He was a long-standing member of the DFG Research Training Group »Coding Violence in Medial Change« at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Since 1997 Tyradellis has worked as a leading curator of mostly transdisciplinary exhibitions in numerous museums and he now serves as a Principal Investigator in »Object Space Agency« → more

Prof. Dr. Christof Windgätter

Christof Windgätter is Professor of Media Theory at the University of Europe of Applied Sciences (UE), Campus Berlin, Department – Art & Design. As a studied Philosopher and Germanist, he received his doctorate in Kulturwissenschaften and Media Theory at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. His main field of research is the history, the praxis, and the design of media and knowledge-production; combination of scientific and creative processes as well as epistemologies of the visual in science, art and everyday life. At »Matters of Activity«, he is now Project Leader of »Object Space Agency« and Principal Investigator in »Material Form Function«. → more

Exhibition »Stretching Materialities« at Tieranatomisches Theater
Extended until March 4th!
MoA Exhibition »Stretching Materialities«. Copyright: Offshore Design
MoA Exhibition »Stretching Materialities«. Copyright: Offshore Design

Exhibition | Object Space Agency Matter is dead? Objects are lifeless? Think again! In the exhibition »Stretching Materialities,« which was opened on September 16th 2021, the liveliness and activity of matter can be experienced in a completely new way. The Tieranatomisches Theater becomes an interactive playground: a real cloud levitates in the middle of the room, reacting to body heat and movement and hovering around visitors like a strange creature. Stones reveal their weathering as a dynamic process of change. Large willow structures carefully co-crafted by humans and computers entwine into inhabitable space. Traditional Korean Hanbok Clothing, filled with moving elements, vibrates on the visitor's skin depending on their movement. Walking through the room with virtual reality glasses, visitors can enter the glass elevator in the center. With one touch of a button, the journey goes straight into the material, or more precisely into the CT scan of a stone. Or high into the clouds to interact with air molecules.

The exhibition is curated by multidisciplinary researchers and designers of the project → Object Space Agency of the Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity« of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin under the direction of → Prof. Dr. Claudia Blümle and → Clemens Winkler.

You can register for an individual on-site tour, a public tour, or book a tour for a larger group at the following email address: stretching-mediation-tat [​at​]

The next dates for a public tour are:
04.02.2022 4-5 pm
11.02.2022 4-5 pm
25.02.2022 4-5 pm

  → more

Dis/Entangling Perspectives in Material Research
Online Lecture Series Starting on 25 October 2021, every Monday 4:15 pm–5:45 pm (CEST)
Poster »Dis/Entangling Perspectives in Material Research«. Copyright: Matters of Activity | Image: Michaela Büsse
Poster »Dis/Entangling Perspectives in Material Research«. Copyright: Matters of Activity | Image: Michaela Büsse

Event | Lecture Series Materials such as water, sand, coal or crude oil are essential resources for industrial production, technological and infrastructural development. Although they are omnipresent in everyday life, their genealogies, epistemologies and ontologies are rarely called into question.

This lecture series, organized by Cluster Co-Director Claudia Mareis, focuses on the ecological, sociopolitical and symbolic interrelations that unfold around the industrial utilization and commodification of materials. A critical historical perspective shows, among other things, that materials are often the result of and object to precarious geopolitics and biopolitics as well as unsustainable modes of production and consumption. As such the lecture series connects to discourses on material/political and power/knowledge relations. → more

The Power of Water
Postponed to May: A Workshop on Water as a Unique Element in Conservation
The power of water. Copyright: Johanna Hoffmann and Lisa Herold
The power of water. Copyright: Johanna Hoffmann and Lisa Herold

News | Object Space Agency | Stretching Materialities Water is a unique element also in conservation. It is a universal element that occurs on earth in all states of aggregation at the same time. Its properties, which may seem unremarkable at first sight, allow this element to be used and modified in a number of ways. In addition to established measures, new scientific discoveries are constantly finding their way into conservation. The workshop »The Power of Water« will offer some insights into the application of water in conservation treatments – with practical examples and experiments, you are welcome to explore conservation methods and techniques.  → more

Student Assistant in the Project »Cutting« (m/f/d)
40h per Month, Limited until 31 December 2022, Extension Possible – MoA_01_2022
Collage, Paleontological Volume with One Point Perspective Grid. Copyright: Lucas Rodrigues
Collage, Paleontological Volume with One Point Perspective Grid. Copyright: Lucas Rodrigues

job The project »Cutting« seeks to fill a student assistant position to further develop the concept and application of »Virtual Dissection«. The position is limited until December 31st, 2022, but an extension until March 31st, 2024 might be possible. The Application deadline is February 16th, 2022. Start of the employment is April 2022. → more

Latest Blog Posts

Blog ↗ CfP: Design × Sustainability / 18th Annual Meeting of the DGTF
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↗ MotorSkins: A Bio-inspired Design Approach to Interactive Soft Robotics
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