Dietmar Offenhuber: Diagrammatic Reasoning

Sunday, May 8th, 2011 at 9:34
MIT Media Lab [E14], 6th Floor, Room 633, 75 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA

dietmar_offenhuber[Media Lab Map]

Abstract: Charles Sanders Peirce conceived the notion of diagrammatic reasoning as a method of inquiry through diagrammatic operations, emphasizing the fundamentally spatial and sensory nature of language and thought. This talk will show a selection of my projects that employ diagrammatic principles in a variety of time-based, spatial, and software formats.

Dietmar Offenhuber is a media artist and research fellow in the Senseable City Lab at the Department for Urban Studies and Planning, MIT. He has backgrounds in architecture, urban studies and digital media and works on the spatial aspects of cognition, representation and behavior.

In his artistic practice, Dietmar frequently collaborates with the sound artist Markus Decker and composers Sam Auinger and Hannes Strobl under the label stadtmusik.

His work has been extensively exhibited internationally and been shown, among other places, at ZKM Karlsruhe, Ars Electronica, the Sundance Film Festival, Secession Vienna, the Seoul International Media Art Biennale and Arte Contemporaneo, Madrid.

Projects include:
mauerparkmauerpark with Sam Auinger and Hannes Strobl: The winter landscape of mauerpark in berlin turns into a theatrical stage, populated by pedestrians and cyclists following various, sometimes mysterious activities. What seems like a slice of daily life is in fact heavily digitally manipulated. The soundtrack creates a second space, sometimes contradicting the visual events in the picture. The travelling focus directs the visual attention and is controlled by subtle acoustic ambience. Its unnatural strength has a miniaturizing effect on the whole scenery.

mauerpark (excerpt) from stadtmusik on Vimeo.

Dust Serenade – with Markus Decker and Orkan Telhan – is a reenactment of an acoustic experiment done by German physicist August Kundt. Inspired by the Chladni’s famous sand figures visualizing sound waves in solid materials, Kundt devised an experiment for visualizing longitudinal sound waves through fine lycopodium dust; a setup that would allow him to measure the speed of sound in different gases. Dust Serenade intends to remind us the materiality of sound. Tubes filled with scraps of words and letters –- cut-up theory –- interact with sound waves and turn into figures of dust. Visitors can modulate the frequency of the sound emitted by moving a rod and create different harmonic sound effects. As sound waves figure, refigure, and disfigure the text, we invite visitors to rethink about the tension between their theoretical knowledge and the sensory experience.