Newsletter Jan/Feb Engl. 24

Newsletter 1/24

Dear readers

As we know, the beginning of the year is a popular occasion for gazing into a crystal ball. However, if we ask ChatGPT, it tells us that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be too discouraged by gloomy forecasts – about climate change, for example, or social division or the dangers of AI – because “the future is always characterised by change, and it is our responsibility to work together to help shape a future that is positive” (ChatGPT). On this point, at any rate, AI is not yet ahead of us in its thinking. The weissensee school of art and design berlin is working continuously on creative solutions to future challenges in order to contribute to shaping societal change. Accordingly, we have once again in our programme numerous inspiring events with visionary ideas on the topics mentioned above.

The interdisciplinary semester project “Expanding: THE BODY” shows us, for example, ways to achieve a more human design of smart devices and e-textiles. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, director of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin (HKW) and professor at the weissensee school of art and design berlin, will present a non-hierarchical, socially unifying learning space in his lecture “Congossa as Methodology” on 31 January 2024. Our former students Robin Hoske and Felix Rasehorn are engaged in the development of a sustainable type of textile on the basis of a natural raw material for which they have won the German Ecodesign Award. And, in her award-winning artistic design for the Federal Ministry of Finance, the sculpture student Neda Aydin asks, on the other hand, what actually happens if raw materials are no longer available.

You can also read in our newsletter about the other things on offer at the end of the semester and, last but not least, we would ask you to make a note of the dates for what is our highlight of 2024: our Open Day Tours on 20 and 21 July.

Your weissensee school of art and design berlin

Congossa as Methodology. Pedagogy in an Age of Disenfranchisement

As part of the series of lectures “see – ander(e)s sehen”, professors provide insights into their research and artistic work. Prof. Dr Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung teaches on the master’s course Spatial Strategies at the weissensee school of art and design berlin. He is a curator, author and biotechnologist. And since 2023 he has been artistic director and head curator of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin (HKW). In his lecture he will be speaking about the Congossa, a non-hierarchical learning space that focuses on the exchange of knowledge and that evolves through a communally designed process of storytelling. The lecture will take place in the assembly hall of the weissensee school of art and design berlin at 5 pm on 31 January 2024
Coding IxD/Expanding:THE BODY

Digital technologies like apps and wearables, which continuously record our body data, have become established in our daily lives – but usually fail to consider the uniqueness and diversity of the human body. In their semester project “Expanding: THE BODY”, students of Product Design at the weissensee school of art and design berlin and of IT (Free University Berlin) explore innovative solutions for different groups and individuals. In doing so, they reflect on the question of what data and information the human body provides and how our engagement with our own body data can be physicalised in the form of objects or interactions. The results of this work can be seen in the Weizenbaum Institute (Hardenbergstr. 32, 10623 Berlin) from 14 February 2024. Coding IxD is taking place in cooperation with the Cluster of Excellence “Matters of Activity. Image and Material Space”.

Radiant Opacity

As part of the master’s course “Spatial Strategies”, 22 students, under the direction of Lerato Shadi, will be presenting their work in the Kunsthalle at Hamburger Platz. The exhibition explores the boundaries of the visible in our present world. A lack of transparency fires the imagination and opens up conceptual spaces – even beyond the actual physical world. To this extent, imagination can be deployed as a political and personal means of transcending the self and of making what is authentic visible. The exhibition opens on 22 February (6 pm to 10 pm) and can be visited between 2 pm and 7 pm on 23 and 24 February.

Architectures of Weaving

The book “Architectures of Weaving” is now available as an open access (OA) publication. In the search for sustainable and resilient solutions to the challenges of our times, it shows exciting approaches that herald a paradigm shift in our interaction with fibre-based materiality. Structures become flexible, and constructions become adaptive and interact with their surroundings. As sources of inspiration, the book draws together current and exceptional contributions from the fields of architecture, art, materials science, cultural history, design, engineering, mathematics, microbiology and textile technology. The book was published as part of the Cluster of Excellence “Matters of Activity” by the lecturers at the weissensee school of art and design Christiane Sauer, Mareike Stoll, Ebba Fransén Waldhör and Maxie Schneider.

Prizes and awards
Art for Architecture Competition

Neda Aydin, who is currently studying for her diploma in the Department of Sculpture, has won first prize in the “Kunst am Bau” (Art for Architecture) competition for the new building of the Federal Ministry of Finance. With her design “Formschluss” (form closure), Neda Aydin explores the question of the availability and quality of utilities – water, electricity, gas, telecommunications. “Particularly in times of crisis, it becomes clear how increasing bottlenecks lead to a considerable disruption of supply, which can impact economic stability and so the wellbeing of the population as well. The work “Formschluss” takes up the idea of a bottleneck and expresses it in the form of green, patinated copper pipes with a narrowing diameter that protrude like cut-outs from the walls of the foyer […].” (Neda Aydin)

German Ecodesign Award 2023

With their start-up WINT Design Lab, our former students Felix Rasehorn and Robin Hoske have won the German Ecodesign Award in the category “Concept”. Their project GOLD is concerned with the development of an alternative, sustainable type of textile on the basis of a natural raw material – goldbeater’s skin or collagen, a type of tissue from the intestine of a cow. As Professor Emeritus Anna Berkenbusch, a member of the jury, explains, “It is a bio-degradable and thus highly attractive alternative to oil-based materials. The presentation piece, a lightweight, water-repellent outdoor jacket, impresses with its wonderfully clear design. GOLD is innovative, relevant and well designed.”

Artist residency of the European Alliance of Academies 

Paul Michels is studying Visual Communication at the weissensee school of art and design berlin. With his hand-knitted and knotted sculptures, he interprets and interweaves space and words. In 2023 he won a digital artist’s residency following a tendering procedure by the Academy of Arts and the European Alliance of Academies. Inspired by the poem “Utter it in my stead” by the Hungarian poet Dénes Krusovzky, he wove and knitted the woodland installation “memories of home after leaving” during his residency from July to September. The installation can now be viewed online. It deals with the feeling of inner turmoil and loneliness, the search for one’s own identity and one’s own place, and the associated difficulty of identifying with one’s own homeland.

Advancement Award 2023 of the State of Brandenburg Investment Bank

Seonah Chae, a student of painting, has won the Advancement Award 2023 of the State of Brandenburg Investment Bank. The award comes with prize money in the amount of 5,000 euros and an exhibition in the investment bank’s building in Potsdam.The exhibition was opened there at 5 pm on 18 January 2024 and will be open to visitors through to 19 April 2024. The jury explains its decision as follows: “Her vegetable-like, harmoniously open, net-like forms, which sometimes clench together powerfully and are highlighted in colour, are clearly based on the basic drawing principle of clear, well-executed lines. Indeed, it is extraordinary how drawing and painting penetrate each other in her work. Yet, these creations by Ms Chae do not merely lead an existence as pleasant pictures on the wall. Rather, the artist experiments with strangely technoid painting surfaces and seemingly dislocated spatial correlations.