Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Exhibition »Scaling Matters« at MoA Retreat. Copyright: Matters of Activity

Exhibition »Scaling Matters« at MoA Retreat. Copyright: Matters of Activity

Editorial Dear Friends of »Matters of Activity«,

We're very happy to start an eventful fall! »Matters of Activity« will contribute with five events to this year's »Berlin Science Week«: So be sure to mark your calendars for the »Design Lab #13: Material Legacies« exhibition opening at Kunstgewerbemuseum on November 3rd and get your tickets now for one of the two »Dissect« events at the Tieranatomisches Theater on November 2nd and 4th – Berlin has never seen anything like it!

In addition, we are full of anticipation for our international speakers coming to Berlin for the MoA Annual Conference »Deep Material Futures« on November 16th and the »Daoula–Sheen« exhibition opening on November 17th. Stay tuned on the MoA website and Instagram channel for the program launch and get more information in our next CZ# on November 7th!

Happy reading and see you soon at one of the events,
Antje, Carolin & Franziska

Liebe Freund:innen von »Matters of Activity«,

wir läuten einen ereignisreichen Veranstaltungsherbst ein! Gleich mit fünf Veranstaltungen wird »Matters of Activity« auf der diesjährigen »Berlin Science Week« zu sehen sein. Merkt euch unbedingt den 3. November für die Ausstellungseröffnung von »Design Lab #13: Material Legacies« im Kunstgewerbemuseum vor und sichert euch jetzt Tickets für eine der beiden »Dissect«-Veranstaltungen im Tieranatomischen Theater am 2. und 4. November – so etwas hat Berlin noch nicht gesehen!

Außerdem sind wir voller Vorfreude auf den Austausch mit unseren internationalen Referent*innen und Gästen, die am 16. November zur MoA-Jahreskonferenz »Deep Material Futures« nach Berlin kommen, und auf die Eröffnung der »Daoula-Sheen« Ausstellung am 17. November. Behaltet die MoA-Webseite im Blick und folgt unseren Instagram-Kanal – in Kürze wird das Programm veröffentlicht. Ansonsten gibt's alle weiteren Infos in der nächsten CZ# am 7. November.

Viel Spaß beim Lesen und bis bald bei einer der Veranstaltungen,
Antje, Carolin & Franziska

Deep Material Futures
Exploring the Different Temporalities of Active Matter at MoA's Annual Conference, 16 November 2022
Annual Conference »Deep Material Futures« at silent green, November 2022. Copyright: Michelle Mantel

Annual Conference »Deep Material Futures« at silent green, November 2022. Copyright: Michelle Mantel


Weaving | Filtering | Cutting | Material Form Function | Object Space Agency | Symbolic Material | Annual Conferences With »Deep Material Futures«, we discussed and rethought the potentialities, strategies, expectances, predictions and imaginaries of desirable futures in terms of interspecies and transgenerational justice. The temporalities of active matter we speak of are always about incommensurable spaces of memory and oblivion, of extinction and survival. What new and other ways of politics, design, and »healing« through materialized action might there then be at all levels of space, time, and scale? The event brought together international keynote speakers such as Sandra Jasper, Nigel Clark, James Weaver, Cymene Howe, Jeff Diamanti, Admir Masic and Vera Meyer with positions from the Cluster to discuss the different temporalities of active matter in four panels – Wastelands, Earthly Matter, Matter Across Scales, and Future Materials. The presentations and discussions from the Annual Conference can be viewed at any time by clicking more. → more

Scaling Matters: From the Lab to the Field
Doctoral Presentations at the MoA Retreat 2022
Poster PhD presentations 2022. Layout: Ada Favaron

Poster PhD presentations 2022. Layout: Ada Favaron


Weaving | Filtering | Cutting | Material Form Function | Object Space Agency | Doctoral Program | Climate | Haptics | More-Than-Human | Ocean | Robotics | Textiles | Tree Bark | Wild Silk | XR | Water | Science Communication The 2022 presentation of the Doctoral Program »Matters of Activity« at the MoA Retreat in September at Landgut Stober was both a review and an outlook of the doctoral research conducted at the Cluster between 2020 and 2022. Under the title »Scaling Matters: From the Lab to the Field, «Pre-Doctoral Researchers at varying stages of their research — from the very beginning to the final phase of their theses — presented their heterogeneous work whilst continuing to negotiate common themes, methods, questions and tools. The format combined talks and an exhibition and invited MoA Members to engage individually with the presentation and a selection of their research objects. Thanks to everyone involved for making possible this all-around successful event. Enjoy some visual impressions of the exhibition, as well as the talks and have a look at the booklet. → more

»Tipping Points« Now Part of MoA Virtual Cluster Space
View Conference Contributions of MoA Annual Conference 2021 in 360° Knowledge Rooms Now!
Panel »Interdeterminacy and Liveliness« at MoA Annual Conference »Tipping Points« 2021. Copyright: Matters of Activity

MoA Conference »Tipping Points« as part of the Virtual Cluster Space. Copyright: Matters of Activity

News | Virtual Cluster Space | Tipping Points The 2021 MoA Annual Conference »Tipping Points« was all about matter in motion. We discussed transition and contingency, processes of acquiring and losing form, and the creative potential of the unfinished and indeterminate. All conference contributions are now shown as part of MoA's Virtual Cluster Space, where you can view a variety of 360° knowledge rooms and all contributions of the four panels »Plasticity & (In–)Stability«, »Interdeterminacy and Liveliness«, »Fragile Entanglements« and last but not least »Contingent Matters«.

Take a look at the Virtual Cluster Space via ↗

MoA Highlighted in Many Different News Outlets
Read about MoA in the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung, the Purpose Magazine, The Praxis Journal and Tagesspiegel
Leben im Schleim. Copyright: FASZ

Leben im Schleim. Copyright: FASZ


Science Communication | Publications | Wood | Bacteria | Biofilm We are very happy that »Matters of Activity« has been highlighted by many different (international) news outlets lately. Next to beautiful biofilm pictures and information from Regine Hengge, Cluster Members Wolfgang Schäffner and Maxime Le Calvé have been interviewed by Purpose Magazine and The Praxis Journal from Argentina. Wolfgang Schäffner has also been interviewed in connection to the BUA initiative »BUA Calling« by Tagesspiegel Berlin. With our involvement in the Berlin Science Week news about MoA will also travel fast in the upcoming weeks. → more

New Episodes of »Exzellent erklärt« On Air
Learn About the Origins of Life and the Future of Green Chemistry
Podcast Episodes 19 and 20. Copyright: Exzellent Erklärt

News | Exzellent erklärt The German science podcast ↗ Exzellent erklärt (»Excellent Explained«) on current science topics reflects the research diversity of Germany’s leading research institutions and Clusters of Excellence: from Africa Studies to Quantum Physics. In each episode, listeners can expect insights into the interdisciplinary work of one research network. The researchers of the Clusters of Excellence, funded by ↗ DFG talk to podcaster Larissa Vassilian about how they want to find scientifically sound answers to relevant topics of our time – for the society of tomorrow. In episode 19, you will learn how the Cluster of Excellence ↗ ORIGINS in Munich is trying to create life in the laboratory and thereby learn more about the beginnings of life. In episode 20, Matthias Drieß, Co-Director of ↗ UniSysCat in Berlin, tells you about the idea that one day we will produce our own hydrogen and methanol at home to fuel our cars and meet our »personal« energy needs at home. Plug in your headphones during your lunch break and have a listen! ↗ more

Ramified Surfaces
New Publication by MoA Member Michael Friedman on Branch Curves and Algebraic Geometry in the 20th Century
Ramification point of 2. order on a Riemann surface (model: 258). © Göttinger Sammlung mathematischer Modelle und Instrumente.

Ramification point of 2. order on a Riemann surface (model: 258). © Göttinger Sammlung mathematischer Modelle und Instrumente.


Weaving | Symbolic Material | Publications The latest book of MoA member Michael Friedman was published in September 2022 within the series »Frontiers in the History of Science« at Birkhäuser Cham. »Ramified Surfaces« offers an extensive study on the convoluted history of the research of algebraic surfaces, focusing for the first time on one of its characterizing curves: the branch curve. Starting with separate beginnings during the 19th century with descriptive geometry as well as knot theory, the book focuses on the 20th century and will be of special interest for both historians of science and mathematicians. → more

Research Ideas Competition
6 Researches | 6 Pitches | 6 Prizes
Screenshot Website Forum Junge Spitzenforschung 2022. Copyright: Humboldt Innovation.

Screenshot Website Forum Junge Spitzenforschung. Copyright: Humboldt Innovation

Call for Contributions Once a year, within the framework of the research idea competition »Forum Junge Spitzenforschung«, the Stiftung Industrieforschung and the Berlin universities seek young researchers (m/f/d) with innovative and practice-oriented ideas and approaches to solutions that emerge from their innovative basic research. This year will be all about the future of materials and material production. In the context of the »Forum Junge Spitzenforschung« young scientists will be awarded who conduct research on new materials and manufacturing processes and want to take part in shaping the future. Their applied research ideas not only lay the foundation for tomorrow’s product and service innovations but also address the major challenges facing society.
Young scientists from all disciplines can apply: Doctoral students, post-docs and research assistants, junior professors and senior physicians. Participation is possible as an individual or as a team. The researchers of the six best submissions will be invited to pitch their application idea in the competition final in front of an audience and a jury of business experts. The prize is up to 10.000€ per idea. ↗ more

Berlin Science Week 2022
MoA Involved with Several Events
Dissect event, »Behavioral Matter« symposium, 29/03/2019 © Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris)

Dissect event, »Behavioral Matter« symposium, 29/03/2019 © Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris)


Material Form Function | Cutting | Symbolic Material | Science Communication | Collactive Materials From November 1st-10th, Berlin once again hosted the Berlin Science Week, a 10-day international festival that brought together the world's most innovative scientific organizations in Berlin and online to celebrate science and facilitate an open and interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and knowledge. The Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity« provided insights into its research at three locations: At the Tieranatomisches Theater on the North Campus of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, you were warmly invited to take part in one of the »Dissect« events, a round table live performance on contemporary art and design. Moreover, we celebrated the opening of the exhibition opening of the »Design Lab#13: Material Legacies« exhibition at the Kunstgewerbemuseum. Last but not least we were looking forward to meeting you in the CollActive Materials' speculative design workshop about our material futures at the Berlin Science Week Festival Campus at Naturkundemuseum Berlin. → more

Design Lab #13: Material Legacies
Exhibition at Kunstgewerbemuseum
Poster Material Legacies. Image: Dietrich Polenz and the Experimental Surgery Lab, 2020

Poster Material Legacies. Image: Dietrich Polenz and the Experimental Surgery Lab, 2020


Material Form Function | Fish Skins | Sand | Rubber | Textiles | Tree Bark | Yarns/Fibers | Tessellation | Science Communication | Material Legacies The exhibition »Design Lab #13: Material Legacies« at Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin explored contingencies and ruptures between traditional crafts and the most recent developments at the crossroads of material research, design, engineering, and architecture. It brought together artifacts from the museum’s collection with work-in-progress installations by designers and researchers from the Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity. Image Space Material« in order to initiate a dialogue about the historical, contemporary, and future conditions under which materiality unfolds.
By engaging with a series of different materials and techniques the exhibition encompassed both the problematization of unsustainable pasts and presents as well as the imagination of speculative material futures. Taking materiality as a starting point, each of the exhibits investigated its sociocultural, economic, and political context in order to disentangle the multiple interrelations that arise from and with materials. → more

What is the Future Made of?
A Speculative Workshop about Bio-inspired Design during Berlin Science Week on 5 November 2022
Screenshot Website »Berlin Science Week«. Copyright: Berlin Science Week

Screenshot Website »Berlin Science Week«. Copyright: Berlin Science Week

Event | CollActive Materials Think of nature as a great designer. Through billions of years of evolution – of design trial and error (or re-route) – it has come up with uniquely functional and beautiful materials. Nature’s ›design‹ is truly sustainable. It uses simple materials in clever ways, making natural materials sophisticated in structure and function. More than that, natural materials are part of a cycle of growth, decay, and change – no material is wasted.

Meanwhile, many human designs are wasteful and have created immense problems on a planetary scale. One of the biggest challenges for a sustainable future will be to find alternatives for the energy-consuming, non-degradable materials we use today.

What if we used nature’s design as inspiration for smarter and more sustainable materials in our everyday lives? What could such a bio-inspired world look like?

CollActive Materials, together with the speculative designer Emilia Tikka, invites you to a hands-on speculation workshop. Find out how → Felix Rasehorn and → John Nyakatura from → Matters of Activity and ↗ Apoorv Vaish from ↗ Science of Intelligence use bio-design in their work – and make up your very own version of a bio-inspired future.

This event will take place as part of the Berlin Science Week ↗ CAMPUS. The admission is free, but please reserve your one or two-day ticket ↗ here. Please note: Pre-registration is requested for this event.  If you would like to attend, register via E-Mail at ↗ more

Clear the Stage for Science
Science Slam with Researchers from Berlin Clusters of Excellence
Screenshot from the Digital Program of the Berlin Science Week 2022. © Stephan Niespodziany.

Screenshot from the Digital Program of the Berlin Science Week 2022. © Stephan Niespodziany.

Event | Science Communication On November 10th, 2022, at 7:30 pm, colleagues from the Berlin Clusters of Excellence MATH+, NeuroCure, SCRIPTS, Science of Intelligence, and UniSysCat, will present their projects in a Science Slam at Roadrunner's Paradise. We warmly invite you to get to know this format and take the chance to meet researchers from other Clusters of Excellence. The event is part of the Berlin Science Week 2022. So get your ticket now! You can find out more about the contributors and their topics ↗ here.

DAOULA | sheen
West African Wild Silk on its Way
Exhibition Opening DAOULA | sheen, 17.11.2022, Tieranatomisches Theater Berlin. Copyright: Matters of Activity

Exhibition Opening DAOULA | sheen, 17.11.2022, Tieranatomisches Theater Berlin. Copyright: Matters of Activity


Weaving | Daoula Sheen | Wild Silk | Science Communication The exhibition »DAOULA | sheen«, which can be seen at the Tieranatomisches Theater in Berlin until June 30th, 2023, at the Tieranatomisches Theater in Berlin, focuses on the natural formation and the cultural history of wild silk obtained from caterpillars in West Africa, and on the many and complex ways in which this unique material is viewed by microbiologists, materials scientists, and architects in Germany. Curated by MoA members Laurence Douny, Karin Krauthausen, and Felix Sattler, and co-created by a large and diverse multidisciplinary team, this unusual project sets out to stimulate dialogue between West African craft, European science, and design. → more

Measures to Support a Shift in Research Assessment Culture
Position Paper on Academic Publishing by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Academic Publishing Successful science and research require suitable framework conditions. The German Research Foundation (DFG) ensures these conditions by regularly conducting analyses, providing relevant information and adapting its procedures accordingly.
In May 2022, the DFG issued a position paper on academic publishing, declaring both the academic community as a whole and itself as a funding organization as responsible for initiating a cultural shift towards research assessment that is geared more towards equal opportunity and attaches even greater importance to the substance of research. It is also up to research funding organizations to broaden the spectrum of accepted publication formats, to attach greater value to content-based evidence of achievement and to strengthen the recipient side of publishing.
In the interests of bringing about such a shift, the DFG has launched a comprehensive and far-reaching package of measures in order to fulfil this mandate, including the introduction of a mandatory CV template. → more