Workshop on Surprise, Opposition, and Obstruction in Adaptive and Personalized Systems (SOAP)

Current recommender systems leave a lot to be desired in terms of making suggestions that are out of the ordinary, inspiring and breaking new ground. This workshop, to be held in conjunction with the UMAP conference in Halifax on July 13-17, explores new approaches to designing recommender systems that can create suggestions which are unexpected and inspiring for the user. I have the privilege to be part of the Program Committee for this workshop.
Workshop Blog 

noisecabin Installation at HyperKult XXV

HyperKult XXV

At this last HyperKult, Andreas Otto and I had the opportunity to exhibit our noisecabin installation from 2006 again. Originally commissioned for the “5 Days Off” festival at the Melkweg club in Amsterdam, the installation is designed to add artificial sound reflections to spaces in which bustling activity is contrasted with times of almost silence. This is true for both club events and conferences, of course, and so the installation was placed in the back of the lecture room and the hall outside. Parts of the lectures were sampled, mashed up, and then replayed in the hall later when the sonic activity level started to decrease.

HyperKult XXV: Audio Panel

This year’s HyperKult at Leuphana University in Lüneburg was the last instance in a string of 25 extraordinary conferences. They were extraordinary because they provided room for discussions around the computability of cultural practice away from the bustling struggle for impact and ratings that we experience in the CHI community, for example. With the historic town of Lüneburg as the backdrop, discussions were usually able to slow down and get more thorough as they could be continued over beers by the river. However, this is over now, at least in the form of HyperKult. Aptly named “Shutdown”, this year’s conference was focused on the notion of closure, of endings, in the context of technology that is designed for always-on operation. At the same time, it also provided an opportunity to look back and reflect on the topics that had been in the focus over the years. I was invited to participate in a panel discussion moderated by Rolf Grossmann, and we were joined by Michael Harenberg from HKB Bern. My part concentrated on aspects of interfaces in audio production and performance as they changed over the course of the years, and how this was reflected in scientific and artistic contributions at the HyperKult conferences. The videos of the talks and the panel will be available soon in the HyperKult archive.

XIII. Conference “Culture and Computer Science”

The conference was held May 28-29 in Berlin’s Bode Museum. The museum’s Gobelin Hall provided an extravagant setting for a conference dealing with technology. My paper was titled “The Music of Machines: Investigating Culture and Technology in Musical Creativity”. It expands on the notion that musicians already collaborate with machines in various ways, but that machines will have an even greater impact in the future as they get more aware of the situations in which they are being used. In the paper, I propose four dimensions of situation-awareness that might play a role in this process.
Conference Proceedings at vwh
Full paper (Pdf)

Society as Constructed Ontology?

My commentary on the article “Ontology, Reality, and Construction in Niklas Luhmann’s Theory” by Krzysztof C. Matuszek was published in Constructivist Foundations issue 10(2). The article analyzes Luhmann’s theory of social systems in search of ontologies, while I try to move the perspective towards an unavoidable observer-dependent ontology in my commentary.

Constructivist Foundations 10(2)
Commentary as Pdf

Entropy as a Resource for Double Contingency

My commentary on Manfred Füllsack’s excellent article “The Circular Conditions of Second-order Science Sporadically Illustrated with Agent-based Experiments at the Roots of Observation” was published today in Constructivist Foundations’ special issue on Second Order Science. It is the journal’s tenth volume already, which is a great achievement. The commentary argues that the rise in entropy the article is postulating for systems of second-order observation is actually good for something, in that it adds to possible courses of action for participants in these systems, which equals to directly feeding into situations of double contingency. In short, more entropy means more possibilities to act (more degrees of freedom) for all participants in communication, thus ensuring that double contingency is maintained and communication is kept alive.
Full text (Pdf)