Material Trajectories. Designing with Care
17th Annual Conference of the German Society for Design Theory and Research
Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity. Image Space Material«
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin
May 6–8, 2021
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Design is deeply engaged with materials. Yet the attempt to make sense of the properties, composition and behaviour of matter, artefacts and built infrastructures is accompanied by a pressing question: “who is in fact designing?” As highly elaborated and engineered materials in fields like medicine, biotechnology or aerospace develop further, the possibilities as well as challenges in designing (with) materials and their activity become apparent. Simultaneously, matters of existential urgency such as anthropogenic climate change, extractive capitalism, environmental injustice and the quest for resilience call for a response. They demand a grounding in the material itself as a practice of care in order to identify means, develop modes and foster motives for a sustainable future.
Caring, understood as a material engagement and non-normative form of ethical obligation, puts design amidst a variety of situated practices of co-creation in a more-than-human world. This entails asking once again if the designated task of design is just problem solving, innovating, or optimizing. Designing with care required a critical (self-)examination of predominant systems of reference, styles, working methods, forms of knowledge and object cultures in their circulation. Nurturing these commitments is of particular importance for design research and the differentiation of design as a scientific discipline.
The conference will feature keynotes by Wolfgang Schäffner (Director Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity« / Department of Cultural History and Theory, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) on Thursday evening and by Anupama Kundoo (Potsdam School of Architecture, FH Potsdam / Anupama Kundoo architects) on Friday evening.
We intend to discuss the contribution of design to matters of care through four interlaced strands:
Sympoiesis of Making (May 7, 10:30am–12pm)
Susanne Witzgall, Akademie der Bildenden Künste München: Sympoietic Designing as Ethical Project
Adriana Knouf, tranxxenolab/independent artist, Amsterdam: Facilitating New Relations for the Tranxxeno
Zoe Laughlin, University College London: Performing Materials/Abstracting Stuff: Adventures in Making
Moderator: Léa Perraudin, ExC »Matters of Activity«, HU Berlin
Performative Surfaces (May 7, 1pm–2:30pm)
Mark Miodownik, University College London: Animate Materials
Berit Greinke, Universität der Künste Berlin: As Sensors Unfold
Manuel Kretzer, Dessau Department of Design, Hochschule Anhalt: Materiability / Breathe – Towards a Living Automotive
Roman Kirschner, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste: When Mirrors Metabolize
Moderator: Clemens Winkler, ExC »Matters of Activity«, HU Berlin
Living Matter (May 7, 4pm–5:30pm)
Elvin Karana, Delft University of Technology: Designing Living Artefacts
Ferdinand Ludwig, TU München: Co-Designing with Trees – The Imposition of Uncertainty
Fara Peluso, Speculative Biodesign, Berlin: Design for Future Coexistence
Moderator: Matthias Held, HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd
Designing Resilience (May 8, 10am–11:30am)
Johanna Weggelaar, Atelier Luma, Arles: Atelier Luma, an Undisciplined Laboratory
Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou, L'Africaine d'Architecture, Lomé: Redefining a New Cosmo-Ethics of the Inhabitation of the World
Joanna Boehnert, Loughborough University: This Economy is Anti-Resilient: Post-Covid Design Economies for Care
Moderator: Michelle Christensen, TU Berlin / Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF)
The sessions will be accompanied by four project panels that seek to diversify the conversation through the design practices of the DGTF community:
Co-Creation, Sympoiesis, Prototyping (May 7, 2:45pm–3:45pm, parallel session)
Cornelia Gassler, Hochschule Luzern: Inherent Diversity: Co-Creation in Industrial Production and its Qualitative Impact
Khashayar Razghandi, ExC »Matters of Activity«, HU Berlin / MPI of Colloids and Interfaces: Design-Science Studio “Scaling Nature”: from Bio-inspiration to Co-creation
Paula Schuster, FH Potsdam: Prototypes as Co-designers: A Taxonomy of Prototyping
Moderator: Natalija Miodragovic, ExC »Matters of Activity«, HU Berlin
Performative Surfaces, Programmability, Scalability (May 7, 2:45pm–3:45pm, parallel session)
Joanna Dauner, Universität der Künste Berlin: Data physicalization versus data visualization: Displaying Data on »Smart Material Interfaces«
Paula van Brummelen, Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin: Embedded Movement. Responsive Shape-Changing Surfaces
Ebba Fransén Waldhör, Maxie Schneider, Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin: ADAPTEX. Adaptivity in Textile Solar Shading Membranes Through the Integration of Shape Memory Alloys
Moderator: Iva Resetar, ExC »Matters of Activity«, HU Berlin
Living Matter, Re-Attaching, Speculative Design (May 8, 11:45am–12:45pm, parallel session)
Emile De Visscher, ExC »Matters of Activity«, HU Berlin: We are fluids – a quest to design life forms with electrons
Viola Ahrensfeld, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar: A critical cut into a designed thing. A study of oblique matters of design.
Emilia Tikka, Aalto University and Martin Müller, ExC »Matters of Activity«, HU Berlin: Matters of Care in Synthetic Biology: Xeno-Optimizations, Neglected Natures, Liv(e)able Futures
Moderator: Michaela Büsse, HGK FHNW
Resilience, Sustainability, Tactility (May 8, 11:45am–12:45pm, parallel session)
Lea Schmidt, Hochschule Luzern/TU Dresden: Variety and Mono-Material
Jessica Bulling, HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd: The power of pineapple and co – leather substitutes as sensually perceptible symbol carriers
Isabel Rosa Müggler Zumstein, Hochschule Luzern: Materiality in The Post Digital World: What You See Is Not What You Feel
Moderator: Charlett Wenig, ExC »Matters of Activity«, HU Berlin / MPI of Colloids and Interfaces
May 6: 6pm–7:30pm welcome and keynote I / 7:30pm–8:30pm informal hangout
May 7: 9:30am–5:30pm panel sessions / 6:30pm–8pm keynote II / 8pm–9:30pm informal hangout
May 8: 10am–1:15pm panel sessions / 2pm–4pm general assembly (DGTF members only)
May 9: “Design promoviert” colloquium (full-day, not included in the conference)
Conference fees and registration
10€ (students), 30€ (DGTF members), 60€ (non-members)
The conference will be held in English via Zoom.
Please register here
for a complete overview of the conference schedule and of the contributors and topics.
DGTF conference co-chairs: Prof. Matthias Held (Schwäbisch-Gmünd), Prof. Kora Kimpel (Berlin), Prof. Dr. Claudia Mareis (Berlin/Basel), Prof. Christiane Sauer (Berlin).
Conference organisation: Léa Perraudin, Clemens Winkler
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Designtheorie und -forschung (DGTF)
Universität der Künste Berlin
Tel: +49 30 8353 58220