Symposium
20th June 2024
Berlin Open Lab
UdK Berlin/TU Berlin/ZHdK



RE/EMBODIED
DATA

Ambiguities 
of Knowing



                                


About

We live in a moment of comprehensive datafication. Due to digital technologies, ever more aspects of our lives and the planet can be measured, analyzed and shaped. This creates new ways of knowing and doing. But all too often, this development leads to a systematic devaluation of forms of knowing that cannot be quantified and processed digitally. This leads to ignorance and marginalization, enacting a form of epistemic violence. In this symposium, we will investigate the relationship between quantifiable and experiential, abstracted and embodied knowledges.


Digital data and lived worlds are never quite congruent. Technical measurement and more-than-human experience can never provide the exact same picture. Not because data is inaccurate (which, of course, it often is), but because it represents a fundamentally different relationship to oneself and the world. This brings into focus the differences between various forms of perception and the question of how we can make these differences productive.We address these differences through trans-disciplinary dialogues between researchers in the arts and sciences, focusing on epistemological, aesthetic, and techno-political aspects.



Location


When: Thursday, 20.06.24, 09:30 – 18:30

Where: Berlin Open Lab (UdK + TU Berlin), Einsteinufer 42, 10587 Berlin

Registration (Symposium is for free, but we ask participants to please register)

There is no live stream, but the publication will follow

Committee


Michelle Christensen + 
Florian Conradi 
(Einstein Center Digital Future/TU Berlin and Weizenbaum Institute/UdK Berlin)

Felix Stalder +
Cornelia Sollfrank 
(Latent Spaces. Performing Ambiguous Data research project, ZHdK)

Team / Berlin Open Lab: Ines Weigand + Selenay Kiray + Athena Grandis


Program


9:30 – 10:00 RegistrationCoffee and Tea

10:00 – 10:30Welcome + IntroductionMichelle Christensen + Florian Conradi + Felix Stalder

10:30 – 12:00Dialogue 1: Quantification of BreathingCornelia Sollfrank + Ulrich Ott
Moderation: Michelle Christensen

Breathing is one of the basic requirements of all life. In daily life, however, it happens mostly unconsciously. However, there are many traditional techniques to become aware of and control breathing. Now, through the Quantified Self movement, a number of technical means of observation have been added. How do these approaches relate to each other?

12:00 – 12:30Introduction of Critical Design Projects by StudentsModeration: Florian Conradi 
12:30 – 14:00Lunch Break
14:00 – 15:30Dialogue 2: More-than-Human TechnoecologiesMichelle Christensen, Florian Conradi, Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou + Anani Dodji Sanouvi
Moderation: Ines Weigand

The prevailing conception, collection, and increasing automation of data deeply reflects many problematic assumptions of a Western-centric knowledge paradigm applied globally. But there is a multiplicity of ontologies from which the relationship between technology and the world could be re-conceptualized and re-embodied.

15:30 – 16:00Break
16:00 – 17:30Dialogue 3: Wildlife and DataFelix Stalder in conversation with Johannes Fritz
Moderation: Shusha Niederberger

Using the case of the reintroduction of the Northern Bald Ibis, we examine wilderness not as something that which lies beyond human influence, but is understood as a specific relationship to non-human life, based not on control, but on autonomous, yet entangled coexistence. The basis of this new coexistence is, among other things, the tagging of wildlife, which not only makes wild animals traceable, but also individualizes them, creating new potentials for care and affect.

17:30 – 18:30Contextualization +
Summary Discussion
Daniela Agostinho + Annette Jael Lehmann + participants and audience
Moderation: Cornelia Sollfrank


Speakers

Ulrich Ott 

Ulrich is a German psychologist and meditation researcher. He studied psychology at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and graduated in 1996. He received his doctorate there in 2000 with a dissertation on the topic of characteristics of 40 Hz activity in the EEG during rest, mental arithmetic and meditation. From 1998 to 2005, he was a research assistant at the Institute for Psychobiology and Behavioral Medicine at the Justus Liebig University of Giessen in the project Psychophysiology of Altered States of Consciousness: Rhythmic Trance Induction. Since 2005, he has been seconded to the Bender Institute of Neuroimaging at the University of Giessen as a research assistant at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Hygiene in Freiburg im Breisgau, where he heads the Altered States of Consciousness (ASC) working group.

Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou 

Sénamé is an architect and anthropologist by training, he advocates a neovernacular concept that he concretely translates as an innovator, designer and entrepreneur at the scale of the product, building and city. He is the founder of L'Africaine d'Architecture, a collaborative platform for research and experimentation on issues of African architecture and cities. He is also the founder of WoeLabs, a network of Togolese tech-hubs that aim to 'make everyone equal in the face of the digital revolution'. With his community, he contributes to prototyping a Digital Collectivism, which has made it possible to launch half a dozen startups. In his work, he develops alternative visions on the issues of integrated architecture, primitive computationalities, technological democracy and sustainable cities. His work has been acknowledged by amongst others the African Innovation Summit (2014), the Global Fab Award (2014), the Ashoka Foundation (Fellow since 2017) and the African Leadership Award (2018).

Anani Dodji Sanouvi

Anani is a transmedia artist, dancer, researcher, and educator who works at the intersection of dance performance, sound, and visual arts. Born in Togo, he grew up in Gabon, lived in Senegal, Belgium, Holland, Brazil, and currently resides in Portugal. He has received international recognition as a laureate of UNESCO, the Africa Center, the Sacatar Institute and the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Award. Anani's work has been featured in theaters, festivals, museums, and cultural centers worldwide. He has also collaborated with renowned artists like Peter Sellars and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. With "Agama Fo," a pedagogy aimed at creating and questioning contemporary dance and performance, rooted in Éwé epistemology and animist knowledge, he has conducted lectures and workshops at various institutions, dance, and theater companies in multiple countries. In partnership with Brazilian scholar and transmedia artist Christiane da Cunha, he is co-founder and artist in the Kawin collective.

Anette Jael Lehmann

Annette Jael is Professor for Culture and Media at the Institute for Theater Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, a Principal Investigator (PI) at metaLAB (at) Harvard and is since 2021 head of metaLAB (at) FU in collaboration with Harvard University. She studied Comparative Literature, Art History, American Studies and Philosophy in Berlin, Oxford and Berkeley. Between 1995–1998, she was Visiting Assistant Professor at the Humanities Division of the University of California (UCLA), Adjunct Faculty Member at the School of Critical Studies, California Institutes of the Arts (CalArts), and Visiting Scholar at the School of Arts, Letters and Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC). Between 1999–2005, she was Scientific Assistant at the DFG-Collaborative Research Centre SFB 447: Kulturen des Performativen and obtained her Habilitation in Visual Culture at the Freie Universität Berlin (2005). Between 2007–2019, she was  Professor of Contemporary Art, Visual Culture and Theater at the Freie Universität Berlin.

Johannes Fritz

Johannes is an Austrian environmentalist and holds a PhD in biology. He has been working on the reintroduction of the Northern Bald Ibis since 2002, first in the form of feasibility studies and since 2012 as the leader of two major EU projects. To date, nearly 280 birds have been reared and released, and about 220 are still alive in the wild. Many of these birds are equipped with a GPS tracker and can be tracked using the Animal Tracker app on a smartphone. This allows the public to engage with the animals in new ways. Johannes Fritz has widely published on the subject and is one of the most prominent wildlife restoration biologists in Europe.

Daniela Agostinho

Daniela is Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Digital Design and Information Studies at Aarhus University. Her main areas of research and teaching are visual and digital culture, collaborative artistic research, critical data practices, and feminist and postcolonial studies. At Aarhus University, she co-directs the research unit "Postcolonial Entanglements" with Diana González Martin and Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen. She is also co-director of the Center for Critical Data Practices with Magdalena Tyzlik-Carver, Jussi Parikka, Pablo Velasco and Midas Nouwens. She is a member of the Digital Aesthetics Research Center, the Cultural Transformations programme, and the Arts, Aesthetics and Communities research programme.

Michelle Christensen

Michelle is a sociologist and designer, exploring the spaces in between these realms. Her research interests include trans- and postdisciplinarity, the politics of design and the democratic potentials of free and open technologies. She wrote her Ph.D. in the field of Design Research, prior to which she studied political sociology, conflict studies, gender studies and integrated design. She has worked at the Crisis Department of Amnesty International USA, was a Humanity in Action Fellow, and a Congressional Fellow in the United States Congress in Washington DC. Currently, she co-heads the research group ‘Design, Diversity and New Commons’ at the UdK Berlin / Weizenbaum Institute, as well as teaching as a visiting professor for Open Science / Critical Culture at the Technische Universität Berlin / Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF). Since 2015, she is a member of the Board of International Research in Design (BIRD) at Birkhäuser, and in 2023 she joined the board of directors of the ECDF.

Cornelia Sollfrank  

Cornelia is an artist, researcher and writer, living in Berlin (Germany). Recurring subjects in her artistic and academic work in and about digital cultures are artistic infrastructures, new forms of (political) self-organization, critical authorship, aesthetics of the commons, techno-feminist practice, and theory in and about digital cultures. As a pioneer of Internet Art, Cornelia built up a reputation with two central projects: the net.art generator, a web-based art-producing machine, and Female Extension, her famous hack of the first competition for Internet art. In her PhD Performing the Paradoxes of Intellectual Property (2012), she investigated the increasingly conflicting relationship between art and copyright. Her publications include The Beautiful Warriors. Technofeminist Practice in the 21st Century (2019), Aesthetics of the Commons (2021), while her latest contributions, co-authored with Winnie Soon, appeared in Fix My Code (2021) and The Computer as Seen at the End of the Human Age (2022). Currently, she works as a research associate at the Zürich University of the Arts on the projects Creating Commons and Performing the Ambiguity of Data.

Florian Conradi

Florian is a designer and researcher combining critical theory and design as an approach to critical practice. He studied art and design at the University of Applied Sciences Mainz, the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, the Köln International School of Design in Cologne, and wrote his Ph.D. in the field of Design Research at the UdK Berlin. He has taught critical approaches to design and design methods at amongst other places the Köln International School of Design and the UdK Berlin. In 2018-2019 he was a visiting professor at the international Master program in Integrated Design (MAID) at the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Dessau, and from 2019-2024 he taught as a visiting professor for Open Science/Critical Design at the Technische Universität Berlin and the Einstein Center Digital Future. Currently he heads the research group “Design, Diversity and New Commons” at the Berlin University of the Arts / Weizenbaum Institute.

Felix Stalder

Felix is a professor at the Zurich University of the Arts and project lead for the "Latent Spaces" research project. His work focuses on the intersection of cultural, political, technological and ecological dynamics, in particular on new modes of commons-based production, copyright, datafication, surveillance, and transformation of subjectivity and nature. He not only works as an academic, but also as a cultural producer, being a moderator nettime Mastodon instance, a member of the World Information Institute and the Technopolitics Working Group, both based in Vienna. He is the author/editor of numerous books, among others  Kultur der Digitalität / Digital Condition /字 状况 (Suhrkamp, 2016/Polity Press, 2018, School of Public Art, 2023), Aesthetics of the Commons (Diaphanes, 2021), Digital Unconscious (Autonomedia, 2021) and From Commons to NFTS (Ljubliana 2022).

Ines Weigand

Ines graduated from the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) with a Master's degree in Communication in Social and Economic Contexts. In her collaborative Master's thesis, she investigated potentials of the Open Science movement for a change in the relationship between humans and nature. In order to investigate this problem, which is typical for the Anthropocene, she used methods of critical making and experiential learning. She conducts research in the project Design, Diversity and New Commons, at the UdK Berlin / Weizenbaum Institute. Ines Weigand builds bridges between science, society and politics and benefits from her interdisciplinary background and pragmatic attitude. She is interested in alternative lear lning environments, new forms of knowledge production and concepts of sustainability that lead to a socio-ecological transformation.





2024: Copyright of Text and Images lie with all the authors 

Symposium Team: Michelle Christensen, Cornelia Sollfrank, Florian Conradi, Felix Stadler, Ines Weigand, Athena Grandis, Selenay Kiray

Notice: This is a DIT/DIWO venue, we appreciate kindness and support from and amongst all visitors