Digitalisation back

Dr. Stein: "We don't want to squeeze anything here" 

Dr. Stein: "We don't want to squeeze anything here" 

On Thursday, the new digitization series "Art Production goes digital" will start from the Kulturförderpunkt Berlin. The focus will be on the question of how digitization is changing art and culture and how cultural actors are changing society through digital means. On this day, Dr. Christian Stein from at Humboldt University will present new projects at the interface of dance and virtual reality. We asked ourselves: Mr. Stein, what is it all about? 

INTERVIEW   Jens Thomas


CCB Magazine:Hello Mr. Stein, it's nice that the interview is happening so short notice. Please, tell us who you are, what you do at HU Berlin and what is. 

Dr. Stein: Hello, my name is Christian Stein and I work at the Humboldt University in the excellence cluster "Matters of Activity". Together with Thomas Lilge, among others, I manage the, which we also founded together. The is a research and development platform at the Humboldt University of Berlin. We have been conducting interdisciplinary research and development on the game age for years. The questions we raise are: How can we use games to transfer knowledge? What role do games as a cultural technique play in society?

The is a research and development platform. The questions we raise are: How can we use games to transfer knowledge? What role do games as a cultural technique play in society?

CCB Magazine: And, what's the answer? 

Dr. Stein:First of all, the possibilities are almost limitless. As researchers, we have a very broad concept of the game and understand the game in an overarching sense. Today, games can be found in all areas of society and are therefore one of the most important cultural techniques. We don't share the media perception that games can be reduced to the ruse in teenage bedrooms. Many social forms, which are not necessarily recognizable as games, contain game techniques and function according to game mechanics. Of course, the whole thing always has its two sides: On the one hand, we must develop an awareness of what games and game mechanics can achieve. On the other hand, it is about how the player perceives the game for himself or herself, i.e. what he or she makes of it. But I am firmly convinced that there is actually no other area or medium that is so well able to motivate people - for better or worse. That's why media competence for games is more important today than ever.

CCB Magazine: On Thursday you will present at the Kulturförderpunkt. What will visitors be offered and what do games do for art and culture? 

Dr. Stein:We present three concrete practical examples from the field of VR and dance. The first one is "Playing with Virtual Realities", for which we worked intensively with professional dancers for several months. The question was how they can create new and very own worlds together with the technical imaging of Virtual Reality and how these worlds relate to their own imagination. In the end, we created a performance in Studio Dock 11. The second project is called "Golem", led by Carly Lave. Here, during the performance, the audience was able to see a virtual version of the dance piece in VR headsets that were passed around the audience, which was generated in parallel. Dancers were tracked using motion capturing, i.e. they were projected onto virtual avatars, which in turn enabled the interconnection of physical and virtual performance - an incredible experience. In the third project "Entering Virtual Realities" we took the whole thing even further: In a weekend workshop, dancers were playfully confronted with a whole range of new technologies. The whole thing worked via a live broadcast with a stereoscopic 360-degree camera, the image of which was streamed to ten mobile VR headsets in the room - this made it possible for dancers to see themselves from the outside and interact with themselves in the form of an externalized version of their own dance. We then made this possible for the audience in exactly the same way: dancers approached visitors, put headsets on them and created a new infrastructure for their performance - the real and the virtual became one. Confusing - but also very fascinating. 

CCB Magazine:Can the virtual replace the physical? 

Dr. Stein:No, I don't think so, that's not the point. It is about the question of how new combinations and possibilities of experience and processing can be created. This can be adapted in many other areas: for example, we currently have a workshop to develop content for the playful development of resilience. The aim is to find out how to deal with oneself better in stressful situations in order to somehow get the whole stress under control. Of course you can say: Especially the digital world creates new stressful situations because everything is moving forward so fast. At the same time a game creates techniques of processing. As a rule, games are designed to keep the players "in the game", to make them the end of the game - it is therefore a matter of checking one's own behaviour patterns, learning new behaviour patterns, without getting caught up in the information overload. Playing is always self-experiment. It is a fundamental component of our problem-solving. 

Playing is always self-experiment. It is a fundamental component of our problem-solving

CCB Magazine:The Gamelab is an interdisciplinary project. It has been bringing together actors from science, art, culture and research for years. To what extent can barriers between the individual cultural sectors be overcome? Let me put it this way: the visual artist often doesn't want to deal with the advertiser, while the one or other performing artist has little to do with all the digital gimmicks of the gaming scene.  

Dr. Stein:That's probably true, but we don't want to somehow squeeze anything that doesn't want to come together. But I am firmly convinced of the power of interdisciplinarity. The Gamelab is itself the product of perhaps the world's largest interdisciplinary project of all time, the Cluster of Excellence Image Knowledge Design, which is the only institution that has actually succeeded in bringing together more than 40 disciplines - from the natural, technical and social sciences to the humanities and design. This maximum heterogeneity of knowledge cultures is what is actually new and exciting: It is about overcoming habitual positions, exploring new boundaries and meeting at eye level. For example, if you look at what VR can already achieve now - in the field of medicine, in museums - we are only at the beginning of what will be possible in the future. In the beginning there was only a television in the room, there was no color and no remote control in the living room. In eight to ten years, the VR headset in the living room will perhaps be taken for granted, just like the fusion of technology and dance. But the one should not replace the other. It should connect. And such progress has harmed humanity in the rarest cases. 

Profile of Dr. Stein at Creative City Berlin


Category: Innovation & Vision


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