SocialTech

When I was a full-time master’s student, I used to co-organize the Changing Worlds Conference, a transdisciplinary student-led conference. We spent 3 years exploring the possibilities to bring together artists, scientist, engineers, activists, students and teachers interested in science, technology and society within the framework of an academic conference.

For me personally, the most interesting aspect of the project was experimenting with the format of the conference itself. We were trying (and mostly succeeding) to create an accessible, inclusive environment in which people from different backgrounds feel welcome and can productively work together.

The experiment is growing up

After giving a few workshops on the topic, me and my colleague Victoria Neumann have decided to use the knowledge we were able to collect and make it available to others. We want to provide a starting point for learning to those who want to adopt more inclusive communication practices, both in their private and professional lives.

Title page of a document called "Finding useful questions" That is supposed to be a resource for people to learn about accessibility and inclusion

The first version of the “Finding useful questions” document.

This new project is called SocialTech, and it aims to provide a resource to learn about access needs, and more inclusive communication- and organizing strategies. Updates as the project unfolds can also be found on this project website.

The idea behind the project:

Rather than giving a specific set of instructions, the resource is built in a question-and-response format. There are no “one size fits all” solutions to dealing with people’s needs, but in this list we tried to provide a range of questions you could use as a starting point to consider your audience and how to make your space as accomodating and comfortable as possible.

We have published the first version of the document we are working on. It is a work in progress. For this first version, we have focused on a few topics that come up often. At the moment it is only available in English, but we are planning to translate it into German soon.

Das Klo.

Diese Animation zeigt die komplette Funktionalität des Modells

Im Sommer 2018 hatte ich die Gelegenheit, an einem besonders interessanten Projekt zu arbeiten. Im Rahmen eines Erasmussprojektes das sich mit der Erarbeitung 3D-gedruckter Lehrmaterialien für blinde Schüler*innen befasst, habe ich für das BBI eine Toilette entworfen, die dann in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Medienproduktionsteam von Sebus gedruckt wurde.

FreeCad Screenshot des Modells

Und so sieht das CAD-Modell dazu aus.
Ich habe für dieses Projekt erstmals FreeCAD verwendet, nachdem ein Open Source Programm natürlich später weniger Barrieren darstellt als die industrieüblichen Standardprogramme

FreeCad Screenshot des Modells

FreeCad Screenshot des Modells

Die 3D-gedruckte Toilette soll besonders für jüngere Kinder den Alltagsgegenstand greifbar machen und so die Benutzung erleichtern. In den größeren Instituten gibt es eigens dafür ausgerüstete “echte“ Toiletten, die niemals tatsächlich als solche, sondern bloß als Lehrmittel verwendet werden.

Eine Toilette in voller Größe und aus Porzellan ist allerdings kaum transportabel, was für Unterricht außerhalb des BBI ein Problem darstellt. Mit dem Kunststoffmodell wurde nun eine Lösung gefunden, das Lehrmaterial einfach an den jeweiligen Einsatzort zu bringen.

Foto des fertigen Modells

Foto des fertigen Modells

Das Modell ist außerdem teilbar, um die gesamte Funktionsweise einer Toilette mit Wasserspülung im Unterricht darstellen zu können.

Foto des fertigen Modells

Foto des fertigen Modells

Foto des fertigen Modells

Foto des fertigen Modells

Das Modell ist sowohl für den 3D Druck, als auch für zum Ertastet-werden optimiert: Es kommt im Druck ohne Supportmaterial aus, so ist quasi keine Nachbearbeitung notwendig. Zum Zusammenbauen werden bloß 2 Splinten für das Gelenk benötigt, das Modell kommt ohne Klebearbeiten aus. So soll es möglichst einfach sein, mit dem eigenen 3D-Drucker ein Modell anzufertigen wenn es für den Unterricht benötigt wird.

Eine Maßstabgetreue Toilette in dieser Größe – geschlossen ist sie etwa 19cm hoch – ist nicht mehr gut tastbar, da einige Hohlräume selbst für Kinderfinger zu klein wären. Die Proportionen wurden dahingehend angepasst, um die Benutzer*innenfreundlichkeit zu erhöhen.

3d printing

Gif of a model toilet. It's 3D printed and grey. In the gif, the toilet lid opens and closes

I made a 3D model toilet.

Maybe I’ll write more about it when I get around to editing the pictures, because it was actually quite a cool project. I made the 3D Model, Photos and GIF – I didn’t print it myself.

And it’s very functional ;)

Schweigen

Nachdem der erste Sticker so gut ankommt, ist direkt ein zweiter entstanden.

Der aktuelle politische Diskurs ist unglaublich laut, und gleichzeitig werden viele immer stiller.
Im Sinne der Metakommunikativen Axiome nach Paul Watzlawick et al.: Man kann nicht nicht kommunizieren.

Es ist Zeit darüber nachzudenken, was wir mit unserer Stimme eigentlich bewirken – oder eben nicht. Und ob was wir tun auch wirklich in unserem Sinne ist.

Sticker #2

Sticker mit Orange und Violettem Hintergrund und weißem Text

Macht was Schönes damit falls ihr mögt, und wenn ihr euch wegen der Lizenz unsicher seid könnt ihr mich auch gerne kontaktieren.

After the conference

A few programmes and nametags (with pre-printed pronoun options) arranged on a desk with some pencils

And the conference is over. I wish I had found the time to take pictures of all the signs and other print products and decorations we made for the conference, but I was too busy.

People, organizing a conference is a lot of work. Turns out organizing a conference with loads of experimental features and events (such as a sound performance installation and an art exhibition) is even more work. But it was definitely worth the extra effort.

New Poster!

Tables in a lecture room with posters for the Changing Worlds Conference

Look what just came from the printers!

New conference year, new poster! It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but somehow printed artifacts make a project or event feel “more real”.

We went with a similar style as for the last conference, but this time I chose to do a digital illustration since that makes the individual elements reusable.

The main idea is the same as for the first conference poster in 2014, but our choice of artifacts reflects that this instalment of the conference focuses more on art and activism. While both the artwork and topic of the first conference were leaning more towards historical reflections, this year’s vibe is both a bit dystopian and very playful.

I kept yellow as the highlight colour, but replaced the main colours from 2014 (Blues and Greens) with Pinks and Purples.

Poster for the Changing Worlds Conference 2015. The poster is an illustrated planet earth with lots of artefacts such as a flamingo, a spray can, a swing, a tree, a robot hand, a street lamp and lab bottles growing out of it. In this forest of artefacts, signs are places that contain the conference Logo and website link.

And this is the full artwork. What I like most about this design is the potential to use all the little illustrations for the small print products that often feel a bit boring. It feels very fitting for this event to be able to play with the details that way.

Currently, I’m trying to make a plan to enlarge some of the motifs as a decoration for the conference venue.

I think this design is going to be a lot of fun.

Changing Worlds?

The poster for the first Changing Worlds Conference is off to the printers!

Poster for the Changing Worlds Conference 2014. On a white Background, 3 views of planet earth are in the bottom left corner. Together they show a full world map. A lot of cultural and technical artifacts grow out of the worlds. On top we have a billboard with the conference title, the contact details are in the bottom right corner.

The pencil sketch became a full poster.

With this poster I wanted to illustrate the multiplicity of human experiences that is also the basis for the name of the conference, ”Changing Worlds”.

We are used to seeing maps of the world centering (and disproportionally enlarging) Europe and North America. So the first decision we made when we decided to put a globe on the poster was to duplicate it to feature all continents.It was very interesting since deviating from the image most people are used to is ocnfusing at first. The 3 globes also appear in different styles, highlighting that maps are always purpose-driven rather than neutral objects.

Arranged around the 3 globes you can see a strange selection of techno-cultural artifacts. The idea behind this was to question what “technology” and ”society” can mean in this context. When someone tells me about a technology conference nowadays, I tend to think about computers and phones. We wanted to make clear that our approach would be wider, centered on the human experience, and decided to visualize that. We came up with a range of objects that span thousands of years of human civilisation. Some of them are part of contemporary discourse and technological developments, others we usually take for granted.

I ended up doing the illustrations with pencil and paper, further challenging the idea of technology as something neutral while emphasizing human impact.