Symposium:
"Wrapped In Code – The Future Of The Informed Body"

The symposium is the moment, in which workshops and hackspace of NODE get quiet and take a stand.  With a strong grounding in the present the symposium sets its sights on the future. Even with closed laptops, practice is still the center point. We ask our selves: What  can we do? What are the social and political dimensions of what we’re doing?

The symposium talks a lot of of technology and how to make things, but the focal point is how digital technology changes our own body. So it should be relevant to anybody. 

We bring a wide range of positions to the view. The view will be wide and rudimentary.  The Symposium is sub-divided into four thematically arranged panels with each focus on one particular aspect. We bring together just emerging positions (like in fashion and textile crafts) with well established disciplines (like in electronic music). We mix highly controversial positions (as in surveillance technologies) with universally accepted stances (as in prosthetics).  Each of the four panel starts with an introductory talk by each participant, and will continue in a discussion. 

 

Date:
Thu April 30th 2015,

Doors open 09:30,  Start 10:00 

Mousonturm, Saal

Admission:
Single Tickets via Mousonturm at € 66,-
Workshop Pass holders: This event is included. Seats are limited and are assigned on a first come, first serve basis at the doors.

 

10:00 Keynote & Introduction

Designers and artists continually explore the market for niches and new ideas. Clever product developers release new products every day which allow the human body to communicate more effectively, more beautifully, more incidental and more intelligently with the digital machines that surround us. Everything is measurable, the slightest impulse of human behavior can be stored, processed and reacted upon. The body can be monitored, controlled, optimized and annihilated with code. But what does this do with our body?

Who twists whom around the finger? Digital technology is not supposed to stop at your finger tips, even if the word its self may suggest that. New systems react on sheer presence, to winks and gestures, monitor the slightest blink of the eye, capture muscle tensions, and subtle changes in our biochemistry. But where does that leave us, the inhabitants of this human body?

The symposium is curated and introduced by Sebastian Oschatz who had sparked and architected the development of vvvv at MESO in 1998. He programmed many of the quirkier nodes in vvvv. Sebastian has been following digital media since he got access to an Sinclair ZX80. He worked with electronics, video and music and studied computer science. Until 1994 he was part of the music project Oval, which pioneered experimental glitch aesthetic with an accessible pop sensibility.   With a wide range of interests he has teached history of technology and interaction design at various universities.  

11:30 Panel “The Invisible Interface and the Future of Politics and Power”

Switching on a light, cooking a meal, placing a phone call, watching TV or driving a car - almost all human activities in our modern civilization are controlled by computer programs. The fabric of everyday life is woven out of disappearing digital codes. There is no escape anymore: We are wrapped in an invisible Interface. Even standing on the street makes us use computers. Cameras may observe our face, our emotions and behaviours. Smartphones track our motions and actions. Autonomous cars will sense our motions and use them to calculate their paths.
Drones may bring roasted pigeons or Amazon deliveries in the future, but already today bring death and terror to humans having the wrong bits in their digital records. A global butterfly effect connects any potential action of any human being to an arbitrary reaction of anything else in the future. We are wrapped in code. And any computer can be reprogrammed as any other computer, so the code may change. It starts blowing our mind.

Eno Henze

Eno Henze is an artist and scenographer who follows digital media with wide open eyes. As an artist he examines how machines transform aesthetic reasoning and notions of the human nature. As a designer he develops stage sets for international motor shows and high class ballet productions and is used to inventing his own media formats and live interaction concepts.  Eno has been with NODE since day one and will be moderating the first panel about a future in where everything is connected to everything.

 

Kyle McDonald

Kyle McDonald (US) is an artist who works in the open with code. He is a contributor to arts-engineering toolkits like openFrameworks, and builds tools that allow artists to use new algorithms in creative ways. His work is very process-oriented, and he has made a habit of sharing ideas and projects in public before they're completed. He enjoys creatively subverting networked communication and computation, exploring glitch and embedded biases, and extending these concepts to reversal of everything from personal identity to work habits.

Anna Biselli


As a political activist and a trained computer scientist Anna Biselli found that the many of the most interesting technical problems lead to vast political challenges in a future society. After her computer science studies she decided not to work as a software developer and joined the blog http://netzpolitik.org to use her knowledge of algorithms and data structures to fight for civil liberty rights in a digital society. She will discuss and demonstrate the ongoing erosion of privacy which has been happening in the last 10 years.

Matthieu Cherubini

Matthieu Cherubini is currently a PhD candidate in the Design Interactions department in Royal College of Art. His research by project examines the implications of artificial moral agents on our domestic and everyday lives, both today and in the near future.

14:15 Panel “Wearables, Prosthetics and the Future of Fashion”

Textile crafts have used digitally coded algorithms over 30.000 years before the invention of the computer. Even in the neolithicum people had been literally wrapped in code, as weaving looms predate in many ways the codes and algorithms which are ubiquitous in modern computers. The first pioneers of computing have been inspired by the punch-card-controlled weaving looms. But for a very long time, clothing - one of the most disruptive wearables in human history - was merely static: the computational smartness only available at production time.
Today most digital technology still consists of hard boxes, Modern material science, electronics and sensor technologies aim at bridging that gap, allowing textiles and clothing incorporating yet-to-be unseen functionality in our second skin.
We will discuss with transdisciplinary makers giving perspectives on fashion, material science, craftsmanship, economics, electronics and self optimization.

Verena Kuni


Verena Kuni will be moderating the panel on Wearables, Prosthetics and the Future of Fashion. She is a curator, writer, scholar in art theory & history, cultural and media studies and professor for visual culture at JWGU in Frankfurt and has been speaking at NODE08.

Zack Freedman


Zack Freedman from NYC  is a hardware developer and hacker, a cyber-activist and hyper-neoliberalist. He states: "They say the best way to predict the future is to invent it. I predict a future where neither poor technology nor human nature can limit us. I build cool stuff and I help others do the same." He works with artists, successful Kickstarters, world-class hospitals, and robot dance troupes.

Hannah Perner-Wilson

Hannah Perner-Wilson – as part of the duo Kobakant – explores the use of textile crafts and electronics as a medium for commenting on technological aspects of today’s “high-tech” society. She believes in the spirit of humoring technology, believing that technology exists to be hacked, handmade and modified by everyone to better fit our personal needs and desires.

Hannah will do the “Soft Sensors for Soft Bodies” workshop on saturday May 2nd.

Janine Häberle

Janine Häberle is a trained textile designer working at Forster Rohner Textile Innovations, one of the leading companies for fashionable embroideries in Haute Couture and Lingerie. Janine will give an insight to production processes, as well as to design and commercial aspects. The sophisticated integration of shimmering lights to fine fabrics offers a new dimension in textile design, as well as to interactive products and scenography. This technology makes 'future fashion' commercially available and invites our costumers to find realistic solutions for integrating electronic fabrics into every day life.

 

16:20 Panel "Virtual Realities & the Future of Interaction Design"

The cavemen paintings are one of the earliest relicts of the use of virtual reality for entertainment and didactical purposes. Since then we have seen a tremendous progress in technologies of making images recordable, processable und computable. We now have personal computers, creating routinely hundreds of millions of pixels per second, always at our service to bring any imaginable image to our eyes. Similarly acoustic waves in the air can be controlled with utmost precision and our ears are now used to hear digitally recorded, processed and computed audio signals in any possible circumstance.
Digital design tools can be used to create sophisticated audiovisual experiences, and we can completely immerse ourselves in different realities.

But there is a surprising number of human senses which are still locked out from digital design. Current experiments with olfaction and proprioception may feel like early medieval experiments with perspective or the crude voice synthesis experiments of the 1950ties. But opening up these senses to digital design tools will (again) completely change the way how we feel about technology. We will discuss with transdisciplinary makers giving perspectives on architecture and design, olfactorics, proprioceptics and our construction of form and reality.

Mirco Becker

Mirco Becker is Guest Professor for Architecture and Performative Design (APD) at the Städelschule Architecture Class (SAC), Frankfurt. He holds an M.Arch degree from the Architectural Association, London. In 2012 he founded informance, a Berlin based design-integration consultancy for the building industry. A particular interest in computational design in architecture has been pursued before with international practices since 2003. He presented technical papers and design in Europe, the Americas and Asia. In his essay “The OS of Architecture” he appreciated that adding to the computational design framework in architecture has become an equally valid contribution to the discipline as building and engaging in the disciplines discourse. In 2013 APD contributed to NODE by designing and manufacturing the spatial installation MODD_FFF. This year his studios work "Digital Bodies” is shown during NODE at Naxoshalle. 
http://www.informance-design.com/

Mark Farid


The conceptual artist Mark Farid examines the ethics of performing in social situations to help understand the administrated identity of the individual. Currently using technology, Farid aims to boost the comprehension of the power structures that bind together the collective of individuals. For 24 hours a day for 28 days, Mark Farid is planning to wear a VR Headset through which he will experience life through another person’s eyes and ears.  Over the course of the project, it will become apparent whether Mark will begin to lose his own sense of self, and start to inhabit the reality of the other person.

Pedro Lopes


As a dedicated musican and turntabelist Pedro Lopes
knows a lot about getting into a flow with intuitive interfaces.  He is working at Prof. Patrick Baudisch's Human Computer Interaction lab at HPI in Potsdam, and published various papers about kickable computing. Currently he is working on a system to read & write directly to the user's body using electrical muscle stimulation.

Mark Lukas


The sense of smell is one of the few human senses which still resist digitalisation. Scents are still magical and difficult to grasp. After coauthoring the seminal book “Prototying Interfaces”, Mark Lukas explores various olfactorics solutions and the possibilities and problems of designing interactions with scents. He currently is working on a starter kit allowing interaction designers controlling scents using arduino and vvvv.

19:30 Panel “Repetitive Beats, Repetitive Conditionals & the Future of Dance and Music Making”

The biological function of music is still to be understood completely, but music has always been part of human culture. Obviously the human brain has superfluous capacities, which allows us being touched very deeply by music. The amount of dexterity, the number of rules to follow (or break) when making music is incredible. The mental capacities of gifted musicians to spell out intense emotions into a series of microscopic interactions with a musical instrument can be breathtaking. How is it to actually make music? And what it is like to experience music? What happens in the mind?
And how is the situation change with digital tools? Overwhelming complexity is strikingly simple thing to do on a computer. The repetition of beats has come a long way from being only available at shamanic rituals to being the most trivial thing to click on a drum machine.
Since the popularization of digital music we have been confronted with musicians on stage who have literally nothing to do anymore other than staring blankly into laptop screens. Each digital tool had pushed music to a new level. What does this mean for music makers and music lovers?

Peter Kirn


The fourth panel about the changing role of the human body in Dance Music and Music Making will be moderated by Peter Kirn.
Classically trained in composition and piano, he is now focussing on live electronic performance, founded the blog http://createdigitalmusic.com and co-created the open source synthesizer MeeBlip.

Sam Aaron


Computer programming is often seen as an utterly abstract and autistic process, but the composer, scientist and software developer Sam Aaron stages the act of computer programming as a impovised musical performance. Sam believes that a programming environment which has sufficient liveness, rapid feedback and tolerance of failure to support the live performance of music is an environment ripe for mining novel ideas. He developed various music live coding environments -  lately SonicPi to teach programming within schools on the 30EUR microcontroller board RaspberryPi.

 

For NODE he will use SonicPi, to impovise on classic dance tracks. He will start with a blank editor window and program sounds, rhythms and melodic fragments one by one to get the dance floor boiling.  

Sam will do a SonicPi workshop on saturday 2nd may from 10 am to 1 pm.

Robert Henke

Live performances of electronic and especially dance music have been revolutionized by a software aptly named “Live” conceived by Robert Henke with his partners at Ableton in 1999. Coming from a strong engineering background, developing his own audiovisual instruments and algorithms has always been an integral part of his creative process.   

 

In the sympoisum he will share his views about a tool initally made for performing his own musical compositions which has changed the way dance music is performed and experienced.
On saturday NODE will present the  audiovisual performance Lumière by Robert Henke.Powerful lasers draw rapid morphing shapes precisely synched with carefully crafted sonic events to create a situation of total audiovisual synesthesia. Lumière is an immersive multi sensory experience, exploring the limits and possibilities of a commonly underrated medium.

Gregor Schwellenbach


Gregor Schwellenbach plays twelve different classical instruments, programs electronic compositions for performance spectacles, conducts music for ads, produces radio plays and even wrote an opera about sugar. In 2013 he separated 20 KOMPAKT label classics from their dance roots and re-recorded them as chamber music. For NODE he will play dance music on an instrument whose user interface design was first developed in 1397 and will discuss how it feels to do so.

21:30 Closing Concert Repetitive Beats and Repetivie Conditionals

Two concerts by Sam Aaron and Gregor Schwellenbach will merge the themes of the symposium. They will show two potential futures of digital music. Robert Henkes performance on saturday will show another future.

What is the roles of interfaces - Be it a piano keyboard (invented 1397) or the emacs keyboard (invented 1976)? What is the role of tools in digital music making? For the performer? For the listener? What can be expected from a performance of digital music?

Concert only tickets are available:

 

Raspberry Pi: Sam Aaron (UK)

 

Sam Aaron will use SonicPi, to improvise on classic dance tracks. He will start with a blank editor window and program sounds, rhythms and melodic fragments one by one to get the dance floor boiling.

Piano: Gregor Schwellenbach (Kompakt, Cologne)

 

Gregor Schwellenbach will improvise classic dance tracks on a grand piano. He takes the lessons learned from electronic music and uses them to play with his hands on a classical instrument.