The control of fire was one of the first and most impactfull designs and dramatic changes in the habits of early humans. Making fire to generate heat and light enabled people to cook food, simultaneously increasing the variety and availability of nutrients and reducing disease by killing organisms in the food. The heat produced helped people survive in cold weather and live in cooler climates. By using fire to create production processes and weapons, humans became the dominant species on the planet. Fire is the power source of bending and destroying. Hardly any tool is such a good synonym for humans ambivalent talent to construct and destruct.
Fire is a series of dynamic sculptures that perform strong irregular lightoutputs. It uses the transformational power of light to impact the relationship between human, object and space. Fire shapes the room between things. According to the different Fire sculptures the lightoutputs differ in rythm, lightintensity and colorspectrum. These irregular timebased performances make the object alive and deliver an ambivalent tension to the audience. Fire creates immersive digital experiences and simulates the feeling to be in a screen. Compared to screens, that use light to represent figurative images, Fire creates moving images in space and onto users nearby.
Our relationship to objects is constantly evolving, to the extent that the interrelation is being reversed. Objects are becoming more personal and they are increasingly influencing our thoughts and actions. When the environment is designed purely to meet our needs and we are no longer aware of its natural state – how much control do we continue to have over ourselves?
The exhibition Don’t fuck with the user by GRAU and Arhun Aksakal is an exhibition about control, fragility and light. In dialogue with Arhun Aksakal we designed an exhibition which focuses on the interrelationship between humans and design. In an immersive light installation the user was confronted with the attraction and ambivalence of control.
In Are We Human?, Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley conclude that everything is Design and “Design is what makes the human”. They describe the role of the human not as the inventor of objects and tools but the other way around: “Tools invent the human and more precisely, tool and human produce each other”. This implies that humans are inseparable from the artifacts they produce.
But it is not the design itself which is the artifact, Colomina and Wigley continue, it is rather the human body and brain which can be seen as the designed artifacts and what makes the human human is the radicality of this mutual exchange. So when thinking about what makes us human, we have to abandon the image of the body as a closed system.
There is no outside to the world of design. The distinction between design and nature is obsolete. Even the earth itself has been completely encrusted by design as a geological layer. Everything is Design, and Design is what makes the human.
Text by Anna-Lisa Scherfose
The Untitled works enact a new kind of exchange, asking what a message becomes when it is sent and seen on a screen. Evolved from an exploratory practice over iPhone, the series of word paintings take abrupt text excerpts and frame them into tangible objects. The linguistic artefacts forge a new kind of corporeality — one from which the speakers themselves have withdrawn.
With their reflective glass surfaces, these impersonal messengers summon us into a relationship, but on uncertain ground. Holding up passivity against possibility, the works interrogate the inescapable bind of digital communication, where limitless scope comes with meticulous surveillance, and each messenger and message is mined for data. As the works reflect on the traditions of text and portraiture to ask how we look at icons, signs, and objects, so too must the viewer scrutinize their own body — are they unique and expressive subject, or only a target group?
Rembrandt is a digital photograph, reconstruction and remix of the painting „Self Portrait with Halsberge“ (ca. 1626) by the Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. In the original painting, the young painter expresses his youthful self-confidence and his social aspirations, by presenting himself for the first time in a noble attire. The reproduction photography was provided for this project by the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg, which holds the original painting. In collaboration with the retouch agency RGBerlin the image was digitally reconstructed.
Parrot is a portrait and a light source. Parrot is an abstraction of the human body and designed to adapt to different contexts.
Parrot is produced as an industrial product and distributed in unlimited quantity. Parrot enters different environments and interacts with its users. Due to its integrated battery, Parrot can be moved freely and allows the user to create light situations.
German Design Award 2020
Wallpaper* Design Award 2020
iF Gold Award 2020
For the two weeks duration of the exhibition Time is only movement, two people are walking through the exhibition space without preplanned choreography. The continuous gesture and shared presence in the room creates a dynamic relationship between viewer and performer, between subjects and objects. The performers are not actively communicating with the audience, neither are they ignoring their presence. They are moving forward.
The video Welcome shows the confrontation and interaction between two people. The moving image depicts a close-up of a mouth that is turned towards the other person, the filmmaker, but does not seem to be actively communicating. The movement in the picture can be traced back to the filmmaker’s breathing and testifies to his presence. The image is thus determined by the facial expression of one and the breathing movement of the other.