Student Projects

response – Lara Kuom, Lena Eichhorn, Sasha Becker

The project “response” uses the metaphor of the “wood wide web” – fungi span huge underground networks that also connect with plant roots and thus enable exchange between and with them. “response” creates a scenario in which a fruiting body becomes the hardware and the mycelial network the data network of a voice assistance system. This network is growing in solidarity in the interests of many. When interacting with people, the mycelium does not respond directly to commands, but in the form of impulses and reactions. There is no ego, no task-fulfilling assistance, only the active we.
“response” would like to invite visitors to take a step back in order to question the normalized encounter with a speaking object. The focus on non-human forms of intelligence and communication should open up alternative perspectives on artificial intelligence.

Originally planned as a walk-in, interactive installation, “response” can be experienced from a distance through the cinematic implementation.

Talking Overflow – Charlotte Bolinski

The complex topic of voice assistants and their complex connection with society has been very complex indeed. The challenge of interdisciplinary and internal work has led to a variety of ideas. The complex topic voice assistants in correlation with the complex connection with society has been overwhelming and huge. The challenges in the communication with other disciplines and the internal communication has been as well. In this context I developed in my work instead of one project that transformed into a product various ideas which are all interesting starting points for more sophisticated products. Therefore the product of my semester is the documentation which normally is just a side product. I hope my insights into the topic will bring me or others forward and inspiration.

Christoph – Yang Ni

Christoph is a voice assistant that can grow in reality. Whenever we communicate with him/her, its body will inflate and expand, touching our bodies. The story is based on real-life experiences: Yang, as a new intern, moved into a capsule hotel in Shanghai and took Christoph with him. Each capsule can accommodate only one person and he was willing to share this space with Christoph. This project tries to offer a new body and context to the voice assistant, trying to discuss the themes of intimacy, distance, and companionship in the space.

Sound Needs Medium to Travel – Yang Ni

Sound Needs Medium to Travel is a speculative project discussing the topic of speech control in some countries through sensitive word filters on the Internet. The story envisions a future in which people will need to take their home voice assistants to government offices for “update”. The voice assistant will be moved out of its original container and into a uniform, clear glass enclosure. The exhaust port at the bottom of the glass enclosure is used to connect to a new socket next to the power socket in the home. Whenever people mention certain words to the voice assistant, the air inside the glass enclosure will be pulled out into a vacuum. Without the medium, there is no sound.
Using the metaphor of the teaching apparatus of a school physics class, this project tries to ask how this kind of instrument will affect our behavior and decisions. Can we be informed about which words we should not say and which words we can still say now?

2021: Stereolith – Joris Grahl, Konrad Kosse

The film project “2021: Stereolith” shows the mission of an extraterrestrial technology on planet Earth. Its destiny: to promote intelligent life and enable a transformation of humanity into an advanced stage of evolution. The monolithic something describes itself as a technical marvel, tries to engage people of different ages in conversation and incite them to progressive action. Unfortunately, the messages are not decoded to a satisfactory degree, but rather grotesquely. The extrinsic intelligence is treated like an object. Mankind and its ego are unwilling to submit to the missionary habitus. A collision occurs between mankind and technological progress, which raises the questions: How does humanity deal with “progress” and who benefits from it? Is progress always “good” and can it further deliver what it promises? An epic drama full of adventure and exploration.