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Ulrich Brandstätter

lives and works Linz, Austria.
His practice include sound, interactive installations, and particularly digital games. The topic of his PhD project is Productive Gaming - video games that yield productive results by being played: playing activities are transformed into creative processes, facilitating creations with validity beyond game virtualities.

Penesta Dika

Penesta Dika studied Art History at Vienna University (Austria). Her master's thesis “Die Computerkunst Herbert W. Frankes“ (Computer—Art of Herbert W. Franke) has been published as a book by Logos in Berlin in Honour of the 80th Birthday of Herbert W. Franke.
In 2008 she received the Doctoral Degree in Philosophy at „Kunstuniversität Linz“ (University of Art and industrial Design in Linz), Austria, at the Institute for Interface Culture, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Christa Sommerer and Prof. Dr. Oliver Grau. Parts of her dissertation-thesis “The Research of Motifs in Interactive Media Art Concerning the Visual Aspect,” have been presented in conferences and published in international books and journals.
Penesta Dika taught courses at Universities in Kosovo (University of Prishtina, University AAB and the KIJAC – Kosovo Institute of Journalism, undertaken by the American University in Kosovo) and Macedonia (State University of Tetovo) about Art History, Interactive Digital Art, Art History for Journalists, Stage Design, etc.
She wrote several articles for exhibition catalogues which were presented at the exhibitions in Kosovo and Macedonia and was the head of the board at the Kosovo Art Gallery in Prishtina from January to June 2009. She was also a jury member for two of the most important exhibitions in Kosovo such as the “Muslim Mulliqi” Art Prize and the “Artists of Tomorrow”, which is organized in collaboration with the American Embassy in Kosovo and the Kosova Art Gallery.
Penesta Dika is currently on maternity leave. Meanwhile, she is planning curatorial concepts about media art in South-East Europe.
Her main research topics are Media Art History, Interactive Media Art, Computer Art, Fractals, Device Art, Telematic Art, Artificial Intelligence in Design, etc.

The Research of Motifs in Interactive Media Art Concerning the Visual Aspect
Motifs of an artwork define and constitute its content. They define its theme and its overall impression. Motifs can be of different nature, such as for example acoustic, spatial, haptic or visual. They can appear alone, or in combination. This dissertation thesis focuses on the visual motifs. The visual motifs used by artists both in the past and the present to represent different artistic themes generally are in a developing process. In interactive media art, which is an art form including computer-graphics and animations, net-based artworks, telematic art, genetic art, video-installations, virtual-reality-installations and augmented realities, the development process of the visual motifs used depends not only on the aesthetic requirements, but also on the technical evolution. For example, animals were already used as motifs in art in caveman paintings. But different to then with digital technology it is possible to represent the animal not just as static, but in its movement, in its living environment and not just this, it is even possible to represent its creation process. Furthermore, it is possible to create a virtual life of a virtual animal, the parameters of which are defined by the artists, but which are given their definitive shape by the user/observer. Within this thesis the visual motifs in interactive media art are researched not just in the context of interactive media art globally, not just in the context of media art globally, but also in the context of traditional art. This produces at least one direction of development (or several directions of development) and a suggestion can be made as to further developments in the future. To conduct this kind of research methods from art history are used as well as comparative examples from traditional art. Consequently a historical background for the interactive media artworks has been created and illustrates how these already existing visual motifs are used and represented in interactive media art.

Anna Karina Hofbauer Buchhart

Alessio Chierico

Alessio Chierico is an artist and researcher with a theoretical background in contemporary art, design theory and media studies. He is currently PhD candidate at Interface Culture department of Kunstuniversität Linz (AT) and graduated in the same university. Chierico has been visiting student at IAMAS Institute of Advanced Media Art and Sciences in Ogaki (JP), and former student at NABA in Milan (IT), and in the art academies of Carrara and Urbino (IT). In the last ten years of activity, he had more than sixty exhibitions and regularly contributes to conferences talks and academic publications. In 2014 Chierico won the Lab Award (Augsburg, GER) and in 2008 Milano in Digitale (Milan, IT). Passing though topics like digital ontology and media aesthetics, his current research focuses on the relationship between contemporary art and Media Art fields, with a special attention on their specific cultural economy.

Daniel Hug

Daniel Hug has a background in music, sound design, interaction design and project management in applied research. Since 1999 he is investigating sound and interaction design related questions through artistic installations, design works, research and theoretical publications.
Since 2005, he is teaching sound studies and sound design for interactive media and games at the Interaction and Game Design departments of the Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland. Since 2011, Hug is lecturer and researcher at the Chair for Music Education at the School for Teacher Education of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Northwestern Switzerland, and visiting lecturer for interaction and game sound at the University of the Arts Berne, the University of the Arts and Industrial Design Linz and the Aalto University in Helsinki.
Hug holds a doctorate from University of the Arts and Industrial Design Linz. As member of the steering committee of the "Audio Mostly" conference and founder of the sound design and consulting company “Hear Me Interact!” he aims to promote design and research in the area of sonic interaction design.

“CLTKTY? CLACK!” - Exploring Design and Interpretation of Sound for Interactive Commodities
Over the last years, a new type of everyday commodities has appeared on the consumer market. These devices are endowed with computing and communication technology, and often networked, becoming a part of the “Internet of Things”. Sound offers many benefits for the design of such commodities, in particular because it offers an alternative to the visual display for the increasingly shrinking, even disappearing, computers. These devices also pose a new and exciting challenge for Auditory Display and Sonic Interaction Design, because these objects facilitate new configurations of sound, materiality and interaction, and also will lead to new forms of how interactive, even autonomous, objects become meaningful in a socio-cultural context.
In this thesis, I set out to explore design approaches and interpretations of sound in interactive commodities. This exploration took place in a participatory, design-driven, sound-centered pro- cess, which led to the creation of prototypical instances of possible futures. These were the basis for a dialogical exploration of aesthetic experience and interpretational discourse. To achieve this in sufficient quantity and depth, I devised a series of design workshops as research labs. The de- sign cases were created in the form of “Electroacoustic Wizard-of-Oz” experience mockups, which allowed the production and control of sound in realtime synchronization with the interactions. All projects were demonstrated and discussed with the participants of the respective workshop. Altogether, nine workshops were executed, resulting in 29 cases. A total of 91 students participated in the process. The video recordings of the demonstrations and the audio recordings of the discussions served as data for a comparative case study using a Grounded Theory based approach.The analysis revealed a range of emerging topics. In particular, several categories of references used in design and interpretation emerged. These include both non-mediated and mediated references and a range of analogies, including formal, procedural and crossmodal analogies. A particular insight was that abstract and affective qualities play an important role in interpretation and are often combined with concrete, indexical sounds. Apart from this, also musical forms, and effects related to space or recording and reproduction technology can influence and direct interpretational processes. Further findings concern the relevance of establishing a source for sounds and attributing them to agency of human or machine. Related to this are the various forms sounds can relate to gesture and movement. Also structure and composition were found to have a significant relevance in design and impact on meaning making.
The last part of the thesis discusses the fundamental conditions for interpretations as they emerged in the workshops and argues for caution when working with naturalistic sounds, indexical references and sonic stereotypes. The various forms of ambiguity identified in the analysis are discussed and ambiguity is identified as a constant of interpretational processes, which even may offer benefits for the design of novel sounds. I then propose the metaphor of the “interpretational force field” as conceptual model for design and interpretation of sounding interactive commodities. Finally, I summarize some design approaches that emerged from the workshops, which culminates in a plea for sound design refinement and the consideration of the benefits and potential of sonic innovation. (Submitted: February 28 2017 / Rigorosum: June 19 2017)

Tiago Martins

Tiago may best be described as an interdisciplinary creative technologist. Born in Lisbon in 1981, he combines a background in Computer Science with creative practice, teaching and research experience in interaction design and interactive art.
After graduating in Computer Science and Engineering at the New University of Lisbon (PT) Tiago became a researcher for the institution's Interactive Multimedia Group. Shortly after, he moved to Linz (AT) to pursue PhD at Interface Cultures, University of Arts and Industrial Design. Developing his practice-based research, Tiago also became a guest lecturer in programming, physical computing, and play theory. He is currently based in Berlin, where he has worked as researcher, engineer and freelancer developing tangible and wearable interfaces and socially-connected experiences.
His skills and sensibilities bring together different fields to produce unique outcomes, resulting in a body of work which includes original concepts, artistic collaborations, academic research and creative approaches to technology in professional contexts.
Portfolio website: cargocollective.com/tiagomartins
Thesis Title: Art and Technology at Play - A Practice-Based Exploration of Embodied Interaction
Date of completion: 12.06.2017
Thesis Abstract:
This thesis explores the use of Embodied Interaction and playfulness as effective creative strategies in the design of human-machine interactions, employed towards aspects of usability and expressiveness of participatory experiences and interactive artworks. It focuses on a body of original works which include multimodal interfaces, interactive narratives, videogames, art installations, and critical design concepts.
As a whole, the works constitute a critical reflection upon the normative design of information and communication technologies, as they address phenomenological limitations, highlight ideologies and provide expressive alternatives – in a playful and embodied way.
A practice-based approach to inquiry was chosen, supporting the situated exploration of opportunities and potentials under the benefit of a holistic and critical perspective. This involved stance allowed the creative development of original and informative experiences of human-computer interaction, as opposed to designs which iterate on established product genres and preconceptions.
After introducing the topics of technology, Embodied Interaction and playfulness, with emphasis on aspects that have served to contextualize and/or inform the practitioner’s approach, an account of each work’s ideation, development and outcomes is offered. Each account highlights specific ways in which embodiment and play contributed towards the work’s successful aspects, while charting the researcher’s progression through different environments of creative practice, refinement of techniques and the development of a holistic and critical approach.

Manuela Naveau

Manuela Naveau (PhD) ist Künstlerin, Kuratorin der Ars Electronica Linz und lehrt an der Kunstuniversität Linz. Ihre Forschungsschwerpunkte sind Netzwerke und Wissen im Kontext einer computergestützten künstlerischen Praxis.
Ihr Buch „Crowd and Art – Kunst und Partizipation im Internet“ erschien im Februar 2017 im transcript Verlag.

Joseph Popper

is an artist and designer working across various media including film, installation and photography. His current work explores the complex interactions between collective imaginations and technological projects, examining visions of desirable futures and their different materializations. He consistently engages with imaginaries and practices of outer space exploration, responding to the premise that outer space has become normalised by particular myths of progress. josephpopper.net

Fragmenting a Monolith: Exploring and Disrupting an Outer Space Imaginary  
Fragmenting a Monolith explores imagining outer space and examines a predominant and problematic outer space imaginary. The research focuses on the production and narration of outer space by a Euro-American vision of humankind as a spacefaring civilisation, and questions what this vision means for human futures on and off Earth. The primary interest is the human settlement of outer space, as a technological project inseparably entangled with the social and the subject of a “sociotechnical imaginary” (Jasanoff and Kim 2015). Here, historical precedents and ideological values saturate contemporary representations and materialisations of desirable space futures. The thesis responds to the idea of the imaginary — a collectively held and publicly performed vision or narrative — as a formidable social and political force. Most importantly, it articulates the imaginary as a kind of infrastructure that shapes and stabilises a movement of influential space industry actors with ambitions to colonise and commercialise the cosmos. This infrastructure is made of myths, metaphors and master narratives which manifest in the imagery and rhetoric of spaceflight advocacy. Distorted and deeply flawed, they nevertheless combine to normalise outer space in a powerful collective imagination. The aims of the PhD project are twofold. First, in apprehending a Euro-American imaginary as spaceflight infrastructure, I study its normalising functions and mechanisms from an artistic perspective; finding double exposures, inversions and other aesthetic gestures at the heart of its “structuring matrix” (Gaonkar 2002: 4). In exploring how this imaginary is performed, I establish the need for its disruption. This need creates the premise for the second aim: a critical response, founded upon the practices and processes of the essay film. Montage forms a central method for the essay film to think through moving image, where discrete fragments of image and sound cohere and collide in infinitely multiple arrangements. Through such arrangements, film essayists convey film to be another audiovisual structure — a fragmentary structure for countering and destabilising the problematics of a monolithic space imaginary. Montage means a material film practice and also a montagist sensibility for reading moving image, often found in film criticism. As method, montage relates my writing to a series of short essay films I made, which experiment with found footage to explore particular themes and concerns that I describe in the thesis chapters. It is through this multidisciplinary approach that the project critiques and contests a predominant outer space imaginary across imaginal, fictional and scholarly registers.     

Tina Sauerländer

Curator (peer to space)  
Tina Sauerländer studied art history, business economics and Bavarian ecclesiastical history at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany. She works as a curator and writer based in Berlin. She focuses primarily on the impact of the digital and the Internet on individual environments and society. With her exhibition hub peer to space she has been organizing and curating international group exhibitions in various institutions throughout Europe. She is the author of many comprehensive texts on contemporary artists. She is co-founder of Radiance, an international online research database for artistic Virtual Reality experiences. And she is the founder of the SALOON, a network for women working in the art field in Berlin, Paris and Vienna. She is currently engaged in doctoral studies at Kunstuniversität Linz about artistic self-staging in digital art.