• capturing leakage: body flows and material investigations

    Together with Charlotte Roschka

    1 - 4 November 2022
    Organizer: 'InKüLe' - Innovationen für die künstlerische Lehre, Berlin University of the Arts
    Contact person: Maria Kyrou

    The workshop was a continuation of the process which we passed in the frame of Stretching Senses School (SSS), organized by Matters of Activity, Humboldt University. The main topic and character of the SSS were working with physical and virtual matter. ‘Leaking Bodies’ is a project which resulted from research that aims to connect visitors with the exhibits. The starting point was an exhibition titled Stretching Materialities, which presented material research conducted by artists, designers, and scholars. The exhibition did not consist of ready objects or pieces of art. It invited us to continue the presented investigation on the physical and virtual levels. SSS teams used the show as a reference point to develop their research and to present it in a new exhibition, which serves as a starting point for further research. The material story does not end and allows the incorporation of the following creators and explorers.

    We wanted to guide the participants through their process to create a similar project, continuing the exhibition out of the space. This included (research-based) storytelling, recording with EMF mics, cameras, and mini microscopes, collecting and viewing virtual objects in a digital archive (and eventually) building, and entering a virtual world regarding the created story. The workshop participants learned how to plan and implement artistic research, including fieldwork experiences, narration formulating, creating documentation, and designing presentations (not necessarily in the form of an exhibition). Everything produced during the workshop was a takeaway product that could be developed individually or commonly. The primary visual outcome was a photo and video documentation published on the InKüLe website. Each day of the workshop was a different chapter of the creative trajectory based on different experiences.

    Day 1 was an introductory one. We presented what they created in the frame of SSS collaboration. Then, the workshop group was invited to work conceptually and to find the possible topics of their exploration. The participants were given starting threads, such as the leaking of bodies, flowing of matter, material structures, the materiality of the viral, the reality of digital, the materiality of sound, hidden agencies, permeability and stability, the vulnerability of matter to build a mindmap based on them. It was an exercise of extending. After the mind map creation, the workshop participants were divided into smaller teams to work on stories that they would develop during the following days of the workshop. The teams had to select three elements from the big mind map as a skeleton of their stories. It was an exercise of narrowing down. In the feedback collected after the first day, the participants said they enjoyed the freedom of creating the endless mindmap. They liked the exchange of ideas and the dynamic of working together. They also confessed that it was very interesting to discover their common interest and transform seemingly disconnected words and threads into stories.

    Day 2 of the workshop had exploratory character. The teams were invited to do fieldwork accordingly to the stories they had written the day before. Expanding and narrowing down was also crucial in this part of the workshop chapter. The fieldwork was done in the workshop room, then extended to the building, and finally to the area around the building. The participants were encouraged to collect any kinds of samples they wished: biological samples, sound samples, videos, and photos. The endeavor was limited only by the workshop schedule. The next step was uploading the digital samples to the computers and selecting what would proceed further. In the feedback given after the second day of the workshop, the participants said that they had a lot of fun exploring the environment around them. Experiencing matters together was a chance to build even tighter connections within each team. For many participants, it was their first time using pocket microscopes or listening to the electromagnetic field. They discovered chances offered by technology, but they also realized its limitations.

    Days 3 and 4 were thought of as creational/translatory. The teams kept working on their material stories, editing them accordingly to the fieldwork discoveries. The essential task was selecting those materials that would be useful in translating the material experiences into VR. The teams were introduced to photogrammetry to translate the physical object they collected into digital. They were also working on editing sound and video recordings. Charlotte created a shared VR environment to put all the created stories and their visual representations together. The participants faced difficulties related to a lack of skills in working with specific computer programs. They were struggling with the technological limitations influencing their concepts. They experienced the necessity of watching tutorials to find specific solutions. This struggle was an essential element of the workshop, teaching the participants that they needed to conduct constant research and find people to collaborate with. Nothing is given immediately. It is frustrating, and the frustration appeared in the final workshop feedback. The ambitions coming from the first two days faced painful limitations on days 3 and 4. The length of the workshop did not allow to overcome all the appearing difficulties, but it gave me a chance to face them and to understand them as creative fuel.

    Julia Ziener
    Xueqing Yu
    Jiawen Wang
    Lina Mazenett
    Cielo Vargas Gomez
    Martin Binder
    Lucia Alfaro Valencia
    Fang Tsai