Media art, VIS Excursion to ZKM in Karlsruhe

This afternoon we (over 40 people from VIS and VISUS at the University of Stuttgart) went to Karlsruhe to visit the ZKM. We got guided tours to the panorama laboratory, the historic video laboratory, to the SoundARt exhibition and some parts of the regular exhibition. Additionally Prof. Gunzenhäuser gave a short introduction to the Zuse Z22 that is in on show there, too.

 The ZKM is a leading center for digital and media art that includes a museum for media art and modern art, several research institutes, and an art and design school. The approach is to bring media artists, works of art, research in media art and teaching in this field close together (within a single large building). The exhibitions include major media art works from the last 40 years.

The panorama laboratory is a 360 degree (minus a door) projection. Even though the resolution of the powerwall at VISUS [1] is higher and the presentation is in 3D, the360 degree 10 Megapixel panorama screen results in an exciting immersion. Without 3D, being surrounded by media creates a feeling of being in the middle of something that happens around you. Vivien described the sensation of movement similar to sitting in a train. The moment another train pulls out of the station you have a hard time to tell who is moving. I think such immersive environment could become very common once we will have digital display wallpaper.

The historic video laboratory is concerned with “rescuing” old artistic video material. We sometimes complain about the variety of video codecs, but looking at the many different formats for tapes and cassettes, this problem has a long tradition. Looking at historic split screen videos that were created using analog technologies one appreciates the virtues of digital video editing… Two are two amazing films by Zbigniew Rybczyński: Nowa Książka (New Book): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46Kt0HmXfr4 and and Tango: http://vodpod.com/watch/3791700-zbigniew-rybczynski-tango-1983

The current SoundArt exhibition is worthwhile. There are several indoor and outdoor installations on sounds. In the yard there is a monument built of speakers (in analogy to the oracle of Delphi) that you can call from anywhere (+49 721 81001818) and get 3 minutes of time to talk to whom even is in the vicinity of the installation. Another exhibit sonfied electron magnetic fields from different environments in an installation called the cloud.

[1] Powerwall at VISUS at the Univeristy of Stuttgart (6m by 2.20, 88 million pixel in, 44 million pixel per eye for 3D). http://www.visus.uni-stuttgart.de/institut/visualisierungslabor/technischer-aufbau.html.

Media art, VIS Excursion to ZKM in Karlsruhe

This afternoon we (over 40 people from VIS and VISUS at the University of Stuttgart) went to Karlsruhe to visit the ZKM. We got guided tours to the panorama laboratory, the historic video laboratory, to the SoundARt exhibition and some parts of the regular exhibition. Additionally Prof. Gunzenhäuser gave a short introduction to the Zuse Z22 that is in on show there, too.

 The ZKM is a leading center for digital and media art that includes a museum for media art and modern art, several research institutes, and an art and design school. The approach is to bring media artists, works of art, research in media art and teaching in this field close together (within a single large building). The exhibitions include major media art works from the last 40 years.

The panorama laboratory is a 360 degree (minus a door) projection. Even though the resolution of the powerwall at VISUS [1] is higher and the presentation is in 3D, the360 degree 10 Megapixel panorama screen results in an exciting immersion. Without 3D, being surrounded by media creates a feeling of being in the middle of something that happens around you. Vivien described the sensation of movement similar to sitting in a train. The moment another train pulls out of the station you have a hard time to tell who is moving. I think such immersive environment could become very common once we will have digital display wallpaper.

The historic video laboratory is concerned with “rescuing” old artistic video material. We sometimes complain about the variety of video codecs, but looking at the many different formats for tapes and cassettes, this problem has a long tradition. Looking at historic split screen videos that were created using analog technologies one appreciates the virtues of digital video editing… Two are two amazing films by Zbigniew Rybczyński: Nowa Książka (New Book): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46Kt0HmXfr4 and and Tango: http://vodpod.com/watch/3791700-zbigniew-rybczynski-tango-1983

The current SoundArt exhibition is worthwhile. There are several indoor and outdoor installations on sounds. In the yard there is a monument built of speakers (in analogy to the oracle of Delphi) that you can call from anywhere (+49 721 81001818) and get 3 minutes of time to talk to whom even is in the vicinity of the installation. Another exhibit sonfied electron magnetic fields from different environments in an installation called the cloud.

[1] Powerwall at VISUS at the Univeristy of Stuttgart (6m by 2.20, 88 million pixel in, 44 million pixel per eye for 3D). http://www.visus.uni-stuttgart.de/institut/visualisierungslabor/technischer-aufbau.html.

>Media art, VIS Excursion to ZKM in Karlsruhe

>This afternoon we (over 40 people from VIS and VISUS at the University of Stuttgart) went to Karlsruhe to visit the ZKM. We got guided tours to the panorama laboratory, the historic video laboratory, to the SoundARt exhibition and some parts of the regular exhibition. Additionally Prof. Gunzenhäuser gave a short introduction to the Zuse Z22 that is in on show there, too.

 The ZKM is a leading center for digital and media art that includes a museum for media art and modern art, several research institutes, and an art and design school. The approach is to bring media artists, works of art, research in media art and teaching in this field close together (within a single large building). The exhibitions include major media art works from the last 40 years.

The panorama laboratory is a 360 degree (minus a door) projection. Even though the resolution of the powerwall at VISUS [1] is higher and the presentation is in 3D, the360 degree 10 Megapixel panorama screen results in an exciting immersion. Without 3D, being surrounded by media creates a feeling of being in the middle of something that happens around you. Vivien described the sensation of movement similar to sitting in a train. The moment another train pulls out of the station you have a hard time to tell who is moving. I think such immersive environment could become very common once we will have digital display wallpaper.

The historic video laboratory is concerned with “rescuing” old artistic video material. We sometimes complain about the variety of video codecs, but looking at the many different formats for tapes and cassettes, this problem has a long tradition. Looking at historic split screen videos that were created using analog technologies one appreciates the virtues of digital video editing… Two are two amazing films by Zbigniew Rybczyński: Nowa Książka (New Book): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46Kt0HmXfr4 and and Tango: http://vodpod.com/watch/3791700-zbigniew-rybczynski-tango-1983

The current SoundArt exhibition is worthwhile. There are several indoor and outdoor installations on sounds. In the yard there is a monument built of speakers (in analogy to the oracle of Delphi) that you can call from anywhere (+49 721 81001818) and get 3 minutes of time to talk to whom even is in the vicinity of the installation. Another exhibit sonfied electron magnetic fields from different environments in an installation called the cloud.

[1] Powerwall at VISUS at the Univeristy of Stuttgart (6m by 2.20, 88 million pixel in, 44 million pixel per eye for 3D). http://www.visus.uni-stuttgart.de/institut/visualisierungslabor/technischer-aufbau.html.

Tangible User Interface – Understandable, Ergonomic, Aesthetic

As I am always on the lookout for user interfaces it was delightful to see the bridge and the engine room of the Queen Mary with truly tangible man-machine-interfaces. Large wheels and all sorts of knobs, cranks, and levers are there to operate the many functions. At a first glance they look nice, intuitive, and easy to use – but are they? Looking closer it becomes clear that many user interface elements were built primarily to enable mechanical control and not because of ergonomic considerations. The size of physical controls (e.g. the length of a lever) is often due to the fact that certain forces must be created to control the machine. The size and visibility of the mechanical properties are helpful for the user to understand the operation and to some extent foresee the impact of the operation. At the same time many of these user interface elements make the operation very visible to co-workers – you do not have to tell that you change the speed as everyone around you can clearly see it from your actions. It seems that ergonomic properties are of lesser importance in many of these controls, e.g. some controls require strong forces or large physical movements. All in all I would conclude that these tangible controls (that are designed due to physical constraints) are helping with the understandability of a user interface but are not necessarily a good model for creating ergonomic controls.


In some recent examples of tangible user interfaces I feel that people took the worst from both worlds – they argue for the physical controls – and all they get are less ergonomic UIs (e.g. needs more forces, movements, etc.) which are less understandable as the physical constraints do not map to the constraints of the digital system… Hence I think it is important to keep this in mind: the physicality of the controls should be used to make interaction understandable and the design should not compromise ergonomics (as we do not live in the mechanic era anymore).

One further thing that can be learned for these mechanical interfaces is the beauty of the design and implementation. Some are in shinny and polished metal, others are nicely decorated, and on others it is just pleasant to touch the wood. Beauty and esthetical qualities play a major role – and we know this for screen based UIs from Noam Tractinsky’s work [1,2] as well as from the market success of devices like the iPhone.

[1] Noam Tractinsky. 1997. Aesthetics and apparent usability: empirically assessing cultural and methodological issues. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’97), Steven Pemberton (Ed.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 115-122. DOI=10.1145/258549.258626 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/258549.258626

[2] Tractinsky, N., Shoval-Katz A. and Ikar, D. (2000) What is Beautiful is Usable. Interacting with Computers, 13(2): 127-145.

>Tangible User Interface – Understandable, Ergonomic, Aesthetic

>As I am always on the lookout for user interfaces it was delightful to see the bridge and the engine room of the Queen Mary with truly tangible man-machine-interfaces. Large wheels and all sorts of knobs, cranks, and levers are there to operate the many functions. At a first glance they look nice, intuitive, and easy to use – but are they? Looking closer it becomes clear that many user interface elements were built primarily to enable mechanical control and not because of ergonomic considerations. The size of physical controls (e.g. the length of a lever) is often due to the fact that certain forces must be created to control the machine. The size and visibility of the mechanical properties are helpful for the user to understand the operation and to some extent foresee the impact of the operation. At the same time many of these user interface elements make the operation very visible to co-workers – you do not have to tell that you change the speed as everyone around you can clearly see it from your actions. It seems that ergonomic properties are of lesser importance in many of these controls, e.g. some controls require strong forces or large physical movements. All in all I would conclude that these tangible controls (that are designed due to physical constraints) are helping with the understandability of a user interface but are not necessarily a good model for creating ergonomic controls.


In some recent examples of tangible user interfaces I feel that people took the worst from both worlds – they argue for the physical controls – and all they get are less ergonomic UIs (e.g. needs more forces, movements, etc.) which are less understandable as the physical constraints do not map to the constraints of the digital system… Hence I think it is important to keep this in mind: the physicality of the controls should be used to make interaction understandable and the design should not compromise ergonomics (as we do not live in the mechanic era anymore).

One further thing that can be learned for these mechanical interfaces is the beauty of the design and implementation. Some are in shinny and polished metal, others are nicely decorated, and on others it is just pleasant to touch the wood. Beauty and esthetical qualities play a major role – and we know this for screen based UIs from Noam Tractinsky’s work [1,2] as well as from the market success of devices like the iPhone.

[1] Noam Tractinsky. 1997. Aesthetics and apparent usability: empirically assessing cultural and methodological issues. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’97), Steven Pemberton (Ed.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 115-122. DOI=10.1145/258549.258626 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/258549.258626

[2] Tractinsky, N., Shoval-Katz A. and Ikar, D. (2000) What is Beautiful is Usable. Interacting with Computers, 13(2): 127-145.

Tangible User Interface – Understandable, Ergonomic, Aesthetic

As I am always on the lookout for user interfaces it was delightful to see the bridge and the engine room of the Queen Mary with truly tangible man-machine-interfaces. Large wheels and all sorts of knobs, cranks, and levers are there to operate the many functions. At a first glance they look nice, intuitive, and easy to use – but are they? Looking closer it becomes clear that many user interface elements were built primarily to enable mechanical control and not because of ergonomic considerations. The size of physical controls (e.g. the length of a lever) is often due to the fact that certain forces must be created to control the machine. The size and visibility of the mechanical properties are helpful for the user to understand the operation and to some extent foresee the impact of the operation. At the same time many of these user interface elements make the operation very visible to co-workers – you do not have to tell that you change the speed as everyone around you can clearly see it from your actions. It seems that ergonomic properties are of lesser importance in many of these controls, e.g. some controls require strong forces or large physical movements. All in all I would conclude that these tangible controls (that are designed due to physical constraints) are helping with the understandability of a user interface but are not necessarily a good model for creating ergonomic controls.


In some recent examples of tangible user interfaces I feel that people took the worst from both worlds – they argue for the physical controls – and all they get are less ergonomic UIs (e.g. needs more forces, movements, etc.) which are less understandable as the physical constraints do not map to the constraints of the digital system… Hence I think it is important to keep this in mind: the physicality of the controls should be used to make interaction understandable and the design should not compromise ergonomics (as we do not live in the mechanic era anymore).

One further thing that can be learned for these mechanical interfaces is the beauty of the design and implementation. Some are in shinny and polished metal, others are nicely decorated, and on others it is just pleasant to touch the wood. Beauty and esthetical qualities play a major role – and we know this for screen based UIs from Noam Tractinsky’s work [1,2] as well as from the market success of devices like the iPhone.

[1] Noam Tractinsky. 1997. Aesthetics and apparent usability: empirically assessing cultural and methodological issues. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’97), Steven Pemberton (Ed.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 115-122. DOI=10.1145/258549.258626 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/258549.258626

[2] Tractinsky, N., Shoval-Katz A. and Ikar, D. (2000) What is Beautiful is Usable. Interacting with Computers, 13(2): 127-145.

PARC – touching computing history

At PARC I had the chance to talk to people about some of our current projects. Les Nelson has done interesting work on public displays [1]. This work is highly relevant to ideas we pursue in the pdnet project and it was great to get a first person view from the researchers involved.

Being at PARC history of computing is all around you! Seeing the original Ethernet cable, tapes from Alan Kay or Lucy Suchman, the Alto computer, one of the original laser printer, and different Ubicomp artifacts from Mark Weiser’s group really makes you feel that this is a special place for anyone interested in personal computing and ubicomp.

[1] Elizabeth F. Churchill, Les Nelson, and Gary Hsieh. 2006. Cafe life in the digital age: augmenting information flow in a cafe;-work-entertainment space. In CHI ’06 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’06). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 123-128. DOI=10.1145/1125451.1125481 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1125451.1125481

>PARC – touching computing history

>At PARC I had the chance to talk to people about some of our current projects. Les Nelson has done interesting work on public displays [1]. This work is highly relevant to ideas we pursue in the pdnet project and it was great to get a first person view from the researchers involved.

Being at PARC history of computing is all around you! Seeing the original Ethernet cable, tapes from Alan Kay or Lucy Suchman, the Alto computer, one of the original laser printer, and different Ubicomp artifacts from Mark Weiser’s group really makes you feel that this is a special place for anyone interested in personal computing and ubicomp.

[1] Elizabeth F. Churchill, Les Nelson, and Gary Hsieh. 2006. Cafe life in the digital age: augmenting information flow in a cafe;-work-entertainment space. In CHI ’06 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’06). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 123-128. DOI=10.1145/1125451.1125481 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1125451.1125481

PARC – touching computing history

At PARC I had the chance to talk to people about some of our current projects. Les Nelson has done interesting work on public displays [1]. This work is highly relevant to ideas we pursue in the pdnet project and it was great to get a first person view from the researchers involved.

Being at PARC history of computing is all around you! Seeing the original Ethernet cable, tapes from Alan Kay or Lucy Suchman, the Alto computer, one of the original laser printer, and different Ubicomp artifacts from Mark Weiser’s group really makes you feel that this is a special place for anyone interested in personal computing and ubicomp.

[1] Elizabeth F. Churchill, Les Nelson, and Gary Hsieh. 2006. Cafe life in the digital age: augmenting information flow in a cafe;-work-entertainment space. In CHI ’06 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’06). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 123-128. DOI=10.1145/1125451.1125481 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1125451.1125481

>Live experience – media consumption is social

>Before the dinner I decided to try a Chinese massage and it was astonishingly relaxing. It is one of those reminders that there are many things we need to experience and there is just no other way (at least so far) to gain a similar understanding…

The show after dinner showed to me how much a live presentation of artistic and musical performance transmits – it is so much richer than conserved/recorded media. Take as an example the shadow play – I really enjoyed it as live performance. In comparison to 3D animation movies it has little fidelity but it still works extremely well to engage people in the live presentation. But I could not imagine that I would watch it on TV – hence we probably miss something in creating the experience when playing/presenting conserved media. I would expect there is a lot potential in creating a social situation for digital media consumption that could improve the experience.