Drop Shadow Talks

Artistic practice in the age of user experience

 +++ The Drop Shadow Talks now have a group at Vimeo!! Enjoy the videos of the talks there. +++ 

The digital drop shadow is the most popular effect in computer graphics today. Easily applied, it made its way to modern graphic design and advertising. It raises typography and objects from a flattened background into three-dimensionality—and thus significance.

With the current generation of operating systems the drop shadow effect entered the graphical user interface to a new extent. In this context it raises not only windows from background wallpapers; it also stands for a visually enriched interface that strives towards three-dimensionality. Loaded with rich imagery, photorealistic icons and pseudo three-dimensional configurations the graphical user interface yet remains tied to its flat medium.

Bewildered by this paradox, the graphical user interface leaves the office it was made for and becomes a pop culture phenomenon.

The Drop Shadow Talks reply to current developments on the visually enriched layer for machine interaction. In the shades of evening lectures the Drop Shadow Talks regularly present art and projects influenced and inspired by the baroque graphical user interface.

Artist Talk

April 28

Thursday 19:00

Give Me My Data Owen Mundy, Florida State University

According to Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities:
"You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings."
Give Me My Data helps you to exercise this right by presenting your information in easy to use formats. Give Me My Data is a Facebook application that helps users export their data out of Facebook. Reasons could include making artwork, archiving and deleting your account, or circumventing the interface Facebook provides. Data can be exported in CSV, XML, and other common formats. Give Me My Data is currently in public-beta.

The talk will be in English.

Owen Mundy is an artist who investigates public space and its relationship to data. His artwork highlights inconspicuous trends and offers tools to make hackers out of everyday users. He is an Assistant Professor of Art at Florida State University and DAAD fellow, currently based in Berlin.

Recent projects and net.art classics:
Give Me My Data Website
NYT about GMMD
Owen's Homepage

Next: Performance

Dec 16

Thursday 19:00

No Shadow Kick**Mobile .xxx JODI, Netherlands and Belgium

Jodi's Screen Grab period began with the four-screen video installation My%Desktop (2002), which premiered at the Plugin Media Lab in Basel. The piece appeared to depict mammoth Mac OS 9 computers running amok: opening windows cascaded across the screen, error messages squawked, and files replicated themselves endlessly. But this was not a computer gone haywire, but a computer user gone haywire.
To make this video, JODI simply pointed-and-clicked and dragged-and-dropped so frantically, it seemed that no human could be in control of such chaos. As graphics exploded across the screen, the viewer gradually realized that what had initially appeared to be a computer glitch was really the work of an irrational, playful, or crazed human (from Wikipedia).
At the Drop Shadow Talks JODI will present a new drop shadow related masterpiece!!

The presentation will be in English.

Since the mid-1990s Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans started to create original artworks for the World Wide Web. A few years later, they also turned to software art and artistic computer game modification. Since 2002, they have been in what has been called their "Screen Grab" period, making video works by recording the computer monitor's output while working, playing video games, or coding.

Recent projects and net.art classics:
My Desktop OS X 10.4.7 from 2007 at Rhizome


Nov 23

Tuesday 19:00

Selektive Interface-Kulturen und Medienkombinatorik contra HCI-
Entwicklungslogiken Prof. Hans Dieter Hellige, Universität Bremen

Erweiterungen des Designraums der Human Computer Interaction führen regelmäßig zu Neuformulierungen von Entwicklungsgesetzen, die die neue modale Qualität als logischen Zielpunkt der HCI-Entwicklung deklarieren. Der Beitrag zeigt am Beispiel von früheren HCI- Umbrüchen wie der verzögerten Ausbreitung der GUI, des Scheiterns der Virtual Reality und der “creeping revolution” des Ubiquitous Computing, dass die HCI-Geschichte nicht von verbindlichen Entwicklungslogiken bestimmt wird. Neue HCI-Interfaces und Medien mischen den medialen Mix neu auf, setzen die bestehenden selektiven Interface- und Medienkulturen aber nicht außer Kraft. Anstelle des Denkens in Entwicklungsstufen wird daher eine medienkombinatorische Betrachtungsweise empfohlen und in Ansätzen vorgestellt.

The talk will be in German.

Hans Dieter Hellige ist Professor für Technikgestaltung und Technikgenese mit dem Schwerpunkt Informationstechnik am Forschungszentrum artec an der Universität Bremen und seit 1993 Sprecher der Fachgruppe Informatik- und Computergeschichte in der Gesellschaft für Informatik.

Aktuelle Bücher von Hans Dieter Hellige:
Mensch-Computer-Interface, Zur Geschichte und Zukunft der Computerbedienung beim Verlag transcript (Leseprobe als PDF)
Geschichten der Informatik: Visionen, Paradigmen, Leitmotive bei Google Books
Ausarbeitung des Vortrags (PDF, 15 MB)


Oct 12

Tuesday 19:00

Experience Design: Transcending a Product's Encasing Prof. Marc Hassenzahl, Folkwang University of Arts, Essen

In his In the blink of an eye, Walter Murch, the Oscar-awarded editor of The English Patient, Apocalypse Now and many other outstanding movies, devises the Rule of Six—six criteria for what makes a good cut. On the top of his list is “to be true to the emotion of the moment”, a quality more important than advancing the story or being rhythmically interesting. The major aim of the cut is to deliver a meaningful, compelling, and emotion-rich experience to the audience.
From a user's (consumer's) perspective, this seems self-evident: experience is at the heart of human functioning. From a designer's perspective, however, experience appears notoriously elusive: to “design an experience” is a major challenge—especially, when actually designing tangible, interactive products.
The talk presents and discusses Experience Design, which aims at telling meaningful stories through tangible products, so-called “material tales.” This approach understands designers as “authors," of meaningful, and rich experiences.

The talk will be in German.

Marc Hassenzahl is Professor for “User Experience and Ergonomics” at the Folkwang University of Arts in Essen and research manager at MediaCity, Åbo Akademi University, Vaasa, Finland. He is particular interested in the positive affective and motivational aspects of interactive technologies—in short: User Experience. He is founding and active board member of the German Usability Professionals' Association.

Publications by Marc Hassenzahl
Technology for All the Right Reasons at Google Books

Artist Talk

July 6

Tuesday 19:00

Committing Web 2.0 Suicide Gordan Savicic, moddr_, Rotterdam and Vienna

Liberate your newbie friends with a Web 2.0 suicide! The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine lets you delete all your energy sucking social-networking profiles, kill your fake virtual friends, and completely do away with your Web 2.0 alterego. The machine is just a metaphor for the website which moddr_ is hosting; the belly of the beast where the Web 2.0 suicide scripts are maintained. Our service currently runs with Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and LinkedIn! Gordan Savicic will speak about this acclaimed project.

The talk will be in German.

Gordan Savicic is an artist playing with software algorithms, experimental media and fine art. His works includes game art, interactive/passive installations and speculative hardware. His participation in collaborative projects and performances have been shown in several countries, such as Japan (dis-locate), Germany (Transmediale), Spain (Arco Madrid), France (IRCAM) and the Netherlands (V2_), among others.

Hot Links:
Web 2.0 Suicide Machine
C&D letter from Facebook
moddr_ Website
moddr_ on hackerspaces.org

Artist Talk

May 25

Tuesday 19:00

On Video Replies and YouTube as a Sculpture Constant Dullaart, Berlin and Amsterdam

Constant Dullaart is a rising star that the exhibition circuit and the Drop Shadow Talks can no longer do without. Fresh from the Rijksakademie, he can always be found showing his work somewhere. He is a critic of the medium, highly active on the Internet, and is an equally talented critic of himself and of his vocation of contemporary visual artist. Constant Dullaart’s artistic strategy is not an unusual one: he investigates the newest medium that art offers him. But how different is Dullaart’s investigation of his medium from that of his predecessors in the history of art? What consequences does it have for the medium itself? In his Drop Shadow Talk Constant will show his recent works like “YouTube as a Sculpture” and “DVD Screensaver Performance” and explain why video replies play a significant role in his artistic practice.

The talk will be in English.

Constant Dullaart has recently finished his residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, with a practice focusing on contemporary image language at it's dirtiest. Trained as a video artist, his work has recently focussed on the Internet and re-contextualizing found material. His works are widely discussed online.

Contemporary Interface Art:
YouTube as a Sculpture
DVD Screensaver Performance
Brian Droitcour from Rhizome on Constant's Readymades

Theoretical context

Jan 21

Thursday 19:00

Performing in the mirror: digital design in the age of social media Prof. Jay David Bolter, Georgia Institute of Technology Video

In the 1990s digital design could focus largely on the World Wide Web as a remediation of graphic design for print as well as on interaction design for Internet-based experiences. While these areas have not disappeared, the development of social media for the Web and now for mobile technologies poses new challenges for design. An important question is whether polished, transparent, modernist design is appropriate or even possible in an era of user-generated contents such as the eclectic pages of Facebook and the cluttered Google maps on mobile phones. Other design approaches may be suggested by Performance Studies: that is, by thinking of digital artifacts as opportunities for users to define and perform their own identities—for themselves and for their digital “publics”.

The talk will be in English.

Jay David Bolter holds the Wesley Chair in New Media and is the Co-Director of the Wesley Center for New Media Research and Education Center for New Media Research and Education in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at Georgia Tech University. He is author of several influential books on new media theory. He is author of the books Remediation—Understanding New Media and Windows and Mirrors—Interaction Design, Digital Art, and the Myth of Transparency.

Remediation, MIT Press
Windows and Mirrors, MIT Press
Wikipedia about Jay Bolter

Artist talk

Dec 3

Thursday 19:00

Observing the Shadows of Shadows Jan Robert Leegte, Amsterdam Video

A journey into the world of Hyper Alchemy in its quest to find the lost location of the long forgotten “Sublime” experience…

The talk will be in English.

Jan Robert Leegte is a Dutch artist living and working in Amsterdam. Leegte's installation work isolates elements of Windows' interface that in turn are projected onto various structures. This alienates the elements from their original function and makes them into familiar but also indefinable aesthetic objects.

Works of Jan Robert:
Ornaments from 2009
Scrollbar from 2002

Artist talk

Nov 24

Tuesday 19:00

Digital Folklore Prof. Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied, Merz Akademie Stuttgart Video

Technical innovations shape only a small part of computer and network culture. It doesn't matter much who invented the microprocessor, the mouse, TCP/IP or the World Wide Web; nor does it matter what ideas were behind these inventions. What matters is who uses them. Only when users start to express themselves with these technical innovations do they truly become relevant to culture at large. Users' endeavors, like glittering star backgrounds, photos of cute kittens and rainbow gradients, are mostly derided as kitsch or in the most extreme cases, postulated as the end of culture itself. In fact this evolving vernacular, created by users for users, is the most important, beautiful and misunderstood language of new media. Do you believe in users?

The talk will be in German.

Moscow-born artist Olia Lialina has, for the past decade, produced many influential works of network-based art. Dragan Espenschied, born in Germany, has received international acclaim for his music and online art. He co-founded the home computer band Bodenständig 2000. He has won the Webby Awards People's Voice NET ART (2004) and the ZKM International Media Art Award (2001).

Projects of Olia and Dragan:
Contemporary Home Computing
Online Newspapers

Artist talk

Nov 24

Tuesday 12:00

Buscando al Sr. Goodbar & The City is Creative Michelle Teran, uebermatic.org, Berlin Video

Buscando al Sr. Goodbar (2009) is a threefold tour through the Spanish town Murcia simultaneously taking place by bus as well as on Google Earth and YouTube. Seated on a bus an audience debarks on a physical search for the locations and authors of various YouTube videos produced in the city. Whenever any such YouTube video discloses the geographical coordinates of where it was shot, the video becomes tagged onto Google Earth via a special software mapping system. By entering the spaces where videos were produced, an intimate encounter occurrs between video makers and audience.
The talk will be in English and take place in Raum R2.

Michelle Teran from Canada explores the interplay between social and media networks within urban environments, she uses performative action, many times involving public participation, to articulate the relation of media to the body and architecture by staging urban interventions such as tours, walks, outdoor projections, participatory installations and happenings. These projects involve working within different locations, social and cultural contexts and are the direct results of occupying spaces and cultivating exchanges.

More about Michelle:
Life: A User's Manual by Michelle on Arte.tv
Buscando al Sr. Goodbar @ Vimeo

Artist talk

Nov 10

Tuesday 19:00

Fuck 3D Aram Bartholl, Datenform, Berlin Video

In welcher Form manifestiert sich die Netz-Daten-Welt in unserem Alltag-Lebens-Raum? Was kommt aus dem Cyberspace zurück in den physischen Raum? Wie beeinflussen die digitalen Neuerungen unser alltägliches Handeln? Anhand einer Reihe seiner Projekte stellt Aram Bartholl das Verhältnis zwischen On- und Offline zur Diskussion.

The talk will be in German.

Seit 1995 lebt und arbeitet Aram Bartholl in Berlin. Aram Bartholl studierte Architektur an der Universität der Künste UdK Berlin und schloss dort als Diplom Ingenieur 2001 mit der Arbeit Daten am Ort ab. Mit dieser Arbeit gewann er auch den Browserday Wettbewerb 2001. In 2007 erhielt er eine lobende Erwähnung der Transmediale Berlin und gewann den 17. Video Kunstpreis Bremen. Für das Projekt Sandbox Berlin erhielt er 2007 eine Projektförderung der Berliner Senatskanzlei für Kulturelle Angelegenheiten und für das Jahr 2008 ein einjähriges Arbeitsstipendium der Stiftung Kunstfonds Deutschland.

Aram's Website
Aram at Free Art and Technology Lab (F.A.T.)
Aram's Blog

First DST ever!

Oct 27

Tuesday 19:00

2d3d in Grafik-Design und Typographie Lars Harmsen, Magma Brand Design Karlsruhe, Publisher Slanted Magazin Video

Bei allen Ansichten, Blickwinkeln, Betrachtungsweisen und Perspektiven: die Komplexität unserer Welt erfordert Fokussierung und Scharfstellung. Aber was passiert wenn aus 2D 3D wird? Wie verhält es sich mit Dimensionssteigerung und suggerierter Dreidimensionalität. Wie arbeiten Gestalter, wenn sie Installationen in die Zweidimensionalität zurückführen? Wo verschmelzen die Grenzen zwischen Raum und Fläche, Architektur und Design? Einen Schwung Antworten hat Lars Harmsen im Gepäck …

The talk will be in German.

Lars Harmsen ist einer der zwei Geschäftsführer der Karlsruher Agentur Magma Brand Design, Gesellschafter und CD bei der Münchner Agentur Melville Brand Design und Dozent an der Hochschule für Gestaltung in Pforzheim.

Some of Lars' projects:
Slanted Magazine #8, 2d3d. 4.
Bastard Project
Book wii love arts

The Drop Shadow Talks are curated by Johannes P Osterhoff.

Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule   
Hochschule für Gestaltung

The Berlin Technical University of Art is a private art university for design (FH). The university concept follows the demand which is placed on design work in the times of digital media.

The Berlin Technical University of Art was established in spring 2006 from the Berlin Technical Art School, (Academy for Design) in order to educate Communication Designers (Bachelor of Arts) at a high level, focusing on future-oriented occupational fields.


BTK's campus is located at Bernburger Straße 24-25, close to Potsdamer Platz.
U-Bahn: U2 to station Potsdamer Platz or to Mendelsson-Bartholdy-Park.
S-Bahn: S1, S2 or S25 to station Anhalter Bahnhof or to Potsdamer Platz.

Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule at Google Maps and Open Street Map.

Talks, if not stated otherwiese, take place in Raum  J/K  2.07 on the second floor.
Admission is free.


The Drop Shadow Talks are organized by
Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule, Hochschule für Gestaltung (FH)
Bernburger Straße 24—25, D-10963 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 25358698
If you have questions, please write to info@btk-fh.de.
Check the website of BTK for imprint details.



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