The Zurich Node of the Planetary Collegium. Institute of Cultural Studies, University of Applied Arts, Zurich, Switzerland.

Awarded Dissertations

Brandon Ballengee
Title of Dissertation: Ecological Understanding through Transdisciplinary Art and Participatory Biology
Author: Brandon Ballengee
Supervisors: First supervisor: Dr. Jill Scott, Zurich University of the Arts and the University of Plymouth, Second supervisor: Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, ETHZ Zurich External advisor: Dr. Stanley K. Sessions, Hartwick College
Description: In this study evidence is presented that suggests transdisciplinary art practices and participatory biology programs may successfully increase public understanding of ecological phenomenon. As today’s environmental issues are often complex and large-scale, finding effective strategies that encourage public awareness and stewardship are paramount for longterm conservation of species and ecosystems. Although artists and biologists tend to stay confined to their professional boundaries, and their discourses largely remain inaccessible to larger audiences, arguments here are presented for a combined approach, which may disseminate knowledge about ecology to non-specialists through novel art-science participatory research and exhibitions. Moreover, historically several scientists utilized varied creative art forms to disseminate scientific insights to a larger populace of non-specialists, such strategies as engaging writings and visually provocative artworks may still be effective to captivate contemporary audiences. In addition such historic hybrid science-art practitioners may have laid a conceptual terrain for some of today’s transdisciplinary art and citizen science practices. Furthermore, seminal ecological artworks from the 20th Century by Joseph Beuys, Patricia Johanson and Hans Haacke utilized novel strategies to reach audiences with a message of wetland conservation, blurring boundaries between art, ecology and activism. More recently artists like Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, Helen and Newton Harrison and others have integrated biological research into their art practices, which resulted in new scientific discoveries. Through my own transdisciplinary artwork about frogs, data suggests that the visual strategies I employ were effective to increase non-specialist understanding of the ecological phenomenon of amphibian declines and deformations. In addition through my participatory biology programs, Public Bio-Art Laboratories and Eco-Actions, evidence suggests that non-specialists achieved an increased awareness of the challenges amphibians and ecosystems currently face. Likewise, that through such participatory citizen science research new scientific insights about the proximate causes for deformities in anuran amphibians at select localities in middle England and Quebec were achieved. Here laboratory and field evidence, generated with the aid of public volunteers, found that non-lethal predatory injury to tadpoles from odonate nymphs and some fishes resulted in permanent limb deformities in post-metamorphic anurans. From an environmental-education and larger conservation standpoint, these findings are very relevant as they offer novel strategies for experientially engaging non-specialist audiences while generating important insights into biological communities and wetland ecosystems.

Teresa Chen
Title of Dissertation: Between Selves and Others - Exploring Strategic Approaches within Visual Art
Author: Teresa Chen
Supervisors: First Supervisor: Professor Dr. Jill Scott, Zurich University of the Arts and the University of Plymouth Second Supervisor: Professor Dr. Therese Steffen, University of Basel External Advisor: Professor Dr. Elisabeth Bronfen, University of Zurich
Description: This body of research investigates how visual artists express ideas or meanings about Otherness and issues of belonging in their art. The focus of this study is on women artists with an (East) Asian diasporic background; however, the context of the inquiry includes other American and European artists of various cultural backgrounds. A further aim is to explore the artistic strategies and the historical circumstances of the works as well as to understand the theoretical correlations. The author of this study is a visual artist who has been exploring similar issues in her own artistic practice. In order to examine various themes of Otherness, selected pairs of artists – where at least one is awoman artist of (East) Asian diasporic background – are compared and analysed using the followingfour categories: literary devices (such as irony, parody, connotation or juxtaposition), reappropriation (cultural references which are reclaimed and transformed), anamorphic situations (distortion of conventional ways of viewing in order to become aware of other bodily senses and experiences), and theoretical correlations (connections between artistic practice and relevant theoretical concepts). The specific artists and artworks chosen are: Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece (1965) with Patty Chang’s Melons (at a Loss) (1998), Lorna Simpson’s work in the 1980s and 1990s with Nikki S. Lee’s Projects (1997- 2001), Guillermo Gómez-Peña with Fiona Tan, and Yong Soon Min with Mona Hatoum. In addition, the author presents critical social and cultural developments that influenced these works such as the historical background of representations of Asian women in America, the rise of the Asian American movement, and the shift in contemporary art discourse from concerns of ‘identity politics’ to a ‘postidentity’framework. Finally, correlations are made between the artistic strategies and relevant theoretical discussions about representations of race and gender, the role of power, knowledge, and truth in ethnographic practices of identification and categorization, and the function of place and ‘cultural identity’ in relation to concepts of origin and belonging. The results of this research confirm the significance of cultural, historical, and geographic experiences on both the conception and reception of visual art and indicate that various artistic strategies have the potential to expose and undermine culturally constructed meanings of difference. Despite the abundance of research conducted in this area, the scope and framework of this particular study are original not only because it is written from the perspective of a practicing artist, but also because the focus on artistic practices from women artists with (East) Asian diasporic backgrounds is located within a more wide-ranging investigation of artistic approaches that articulate and interrogate themes of Otherness.

Monika Codourey
Title of Dissertation: Airport Territory as Interface: Mobile Work and Travel in Hybrid Space
Author: Monika Codourey
Supervisors: 1st supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jill Scott, Zurich University of the Arts and the University of Plymouth, 2nd supervisor: Dr. Mathias Vogel, Zurich University of the Arts, External advisor: Dr. Gillian Fuller, National Institute for Experimental Arts, University of New South Wales, Australia
Description: Global mobility, wireless technology and networked society are transforming the airport territory. These changes (hard factors) have been analysed in airport planning and transportation studies (e.g. Koll-Schretzenmayr 2003, Banister 2003, Schaafsma 2003, Knippenberger &Wall 2010, Salewski & Michaelli 2011, Convenz & Thierstein ed. 2014) and architecture and design (e.g. Edwards 1998, Blow 2005, Cuadra 2002, Uffelen 2012, Gensler 2013). But design strategies focusing on the passenger experience (soft factors) have not yet been thoroughly assimilated by architecture and design. On the theoretical level this dissertation spans the analysis of current methodologies in social studies (e.g. Castells 1996, Gottdiener 2000, Cresswell 2006, Urry, 2007, Elliott & Urry 2010, Adey 2010) and their relation to architectural and urban studies concepts for the airport. The latter includes the “Airport as City” (Güller & Güller 2000), “Aviopolis – A Book about Airports” (Fuller & Harley 2005) and “Aerotropolis” (Kassarda 2010). This dissertation also explores IT and aviation industry interests at the interface between technology and air travellers. In this light aviation industry research and solutions (Amadeus 2011, SITA 2013) are important to consider, as well the philosophy behind who travels and for what purpose (e.g. Sloterdijk 1998, Koolhaas 1998, Gottdiener 2000, Urry 2007, Birtchnell & Caletrio 2014). Here, the author’s previous field research at Frankfurt International Airport is relevant. We live more mobile lifestyles, we work in hybrid spaces (Suoza, 2006, Duffy 2010), and we consequently need to share information and collaborate differently. Using constant travellers as a case study, the impact of physical and informational mobility on perceptions of and behavioural patterns in the airport can lead to a deeper understanding of mobile work and the air travel experience. New design strategies can be developed from research about constant travellers, and the results may improve their work and air travel experience. The author’s combination of design approaches from architecture and social science (sociology and psychology) methodologies can better address the real needs of constant travellers in hybrid workspaces. It is hoped that this dissertation will inspire airport architects and designers, interaction designers and the aviation industry to pay more attention to users’ needs in their design processes.

Louis Phillippe Demeres
Title of Dissertation: Machine Performers: Agents in a Multiple Ontological State
Author: Louis Phillippe Demeres
Supervisors: 1st Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jill Scott, 2nd supervisor: Dr. Steffen Schmidt, Zurich University of the Arts (ICST), External Advisor:Prof. Dr. Rolf Pfeifer University of Zurich
Description: In this thesis, the author explored and developed new attributes for machine performers as well as merged the trans-disciplinary fields of the performing arts and Artificial Intelligence. The main aim was to redefine the term “embodiment” for robots on the stage and to demonstrate that this term requires broadening in various fields of research. This redefining has required a multifaceted theoretical analysis of embodiment in the field of Artificial Intelligence (e.g. The Uncanny Valley) as well as the construction of new robots for the stage by the author. It was hoped that these practical experimental examples generate more research by others in similar fields. Even though the historical lineage of robotics is engraved with theatrical strategies and dramaturgy, further application of constructive principles from the performing arts and evidences from psychology and neurology can shift the perception of robotic agents on the stage and in other cultural environments. In this light, the relation between representations, movement and behaviors of bodies was further explored to establish links between constructed bodies (as in Artificial Intelligence) and perceived bodies (as performers on the theatrical stage). In the course of this research, several practical works were designed and built as well as presented to live audiences and also to research communities. Audience reactions were then analyzed with surveys and discussions. Interviews were also conducted with choreographers, curators and scientists about the value of machine performers. The main conclusions from this study are that fakery and mystification can be used as persuasive elements that enhance agency. Also morphologies can be applied which tightly couple brain and sensorimotor actions and lead to a stronger stage presence. In fact, if this lack of presence is left out of human replicants it causes an “uncanny” lack of agency. Furthermore, the addition of stage presence leads to stronger identification from audiences even for dissimilar bodies than their own. The author proves that audience reactions were enhanced by building these effects into machine body structures and rather than identification through mimicry, this caused them to have more biological associations. Alongside these traits, atmospheres such as those created by a cast of machine performers, tend to cause even more visceral response. In this thesis, “embodiment” has emerged as a paradigm shift and within this shift; morphological computing has been explored as a method to deepen this visceral immersion. Therefore, this dissertation considers and builds machine performers as “true” performers for the stage; more than mere objects with an aura! Their singular and customized embodiment can enable the development of non-anthropocentric performances that encompass the abstract and conceptual patterns in motion and generate – as from human performers – empathy, identification and experiential reactions in live audiences

Hung Keung
Title of Dissertation: Re-appropriating Chinese Art in the Context of Digital Media: From The Chinese Past into a Mediated ‘Presence’ Through Creative Practice
Author: Hung Keung
Supervisors: First supervisor:Prof. Dr. Jill Scott Zurich University of the Arts (ICS) andUniversity of Plymouth Second supervisor:Prof. Dr. Thea Brejzek Zurich University of the Arts (Design)
Description: In this thesis, I argue that traditional Chinese thinking and its manner of approaching art can be successfully expanded onto a different platform: digital media art. My research (both in theory and practice) shows how this transformation expands the notions of time and space and forges new interdisciplinary correlations by addressing traditional Chinese culture in four different but interrelated manifestations: the philosophy of Dao, calligraphy, painting and sculpture. As a result, I claim that digital media can shift the notions of time and space from traditional Chinese thinking into contemporary digital art. Conversely, the digital concept of time and space can be interpreted by an analysis of (i) the traditional Chinese philosophy of Dao, so as to understand how ancient Chinese perceived the universe of time and space; (ii) four areas of Chinese art addressed in my theoretical and practical research (as elaborated in subsequent chapters). For example, a new understanding of ‘scroll format’, ‘playappreciation’ and Chinese digital art has been introduced through my own practice. As a result, I claim that digital media can shift the notions of time and space from traditional Chinese thinking into contemporary digital art. Conversely, the digital concept of time and space can be interpreted by an analysis of (i) the traditional Chinese philosophy of Dao, so as to understand how ancient Chinese perceived the universe of time and space; (ii) four areas of Chinese art addressed in my theoretical and practical research (as elaborated in subsequent chapters). For example, a new understanding of ‘scroll format’, ‘playappreciation’ and Chinese digital art has been introduced through my own practice. In fact, this direction has not been sufficiently dealt with in the past, and deserves more attention in the future. The thesis demonstrates how my practical research was heavily influenced and contextualized by my theoretical research, while the result of my practical artwork applies, expands and transforms that theory. The results of the present research contribute new knowledge while making a number of suggestions and recommendations for artists and curators in, for example, translating the traditional Chinese idea of ‘play-appreciation’ from visual (2D) to virtual (4D) experience. This research and the practical art projects associated with it will, therefore, effectively contribute to the making of a new digital art history.

Aviva Rahmani
Title of Dissertation: Trigger Point Theory as Aesthetic Activism: A Transdisciplinary Approach to Environmental Restoration
Author: Aviva Rahmani
Supervisors: 1st Supervisor: Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, ETHZ Zurich 2nd Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jill Scott, Zurich University of the Arts and the University of Plymouth External Advisor: Dr. R. Eugene Turner, Louisiana State University
Description: This dissertation presents a new approach to environmental degradation. It explores how and why ecoart practice is essential to restoring resilient bioregionalism. It introduces the author’s own heuristic perspectives and methodologies and demonstrates how they may be integrated with technology and science. Today, we live in the Anthropocene, and our environments require solutions that come from a transdisciplinary analysis of anthropogenic activities. The problems of accelerated loss of coastal (littoral) zone biodiversity, degraded water quality, and habitat fragmentation need critical attention. Furthermore, the loss of coastal resiliency affects the survival of 40 percent of the humans who live there. The author’s research goal was to present a replicable set of rules for a wetlands littoral zone restoration model based on a case study called Ghost Nets, scaled to a second case study, Fish Story. Her approach combined art and environmental science in novel ways, including establishing parallels from quantum physics and acupuncture to compare functional energetic systems. Additional specific analogies were explored from visual arts, theatre, music, dance and performance art to discover a holistic and integrated point of view. By extracting viable rules from these parallels and analogies and interrogating the two case studies, the author intended to model and catalyze healing for larger landscapes. One of the main aims of the study was to examine how the restoration practice of nucleation could be scaled up to the bioregional level and integrated with a special theory, Trigger Point Theory, so that systemic resilience might be re-enforced. This included an analysis of how restored upland ecotones and a different relationship to other species could contribute to nuclear restoration in the littoral zone. This analysis not only critiqued how anthropocentric considerations often fail to protect vulnerable water systems, but it also created a new approach to modeling rules. These rules proposed environmental justice for vulnerable human populations as well as ethical concerns for other animal species. Such approaches might also support community relationships between endemic species. Through an ethical analysis that can inform “our” collective point of view, conclusions were drawn about how ethics and heuristics may determine “our” choices. These choices can determine attribute tables and algorithmic queries for Geographic Information Systems science (GISs) mapping. The author claims that when artists work with the quantitative potential of GIS mapping, their qualitative potentials may propel a new transdiscourse. This, in turn, could eventually cause heuristic information to become more scientifically useful. Using the Ghost Nets case study scaled to the Gulf of Maine, GIS mapping was used to analyze relationships between finfish abundance, eelgrass, and invasive predatory green crabs for the purpose of considering where to apply nucleation to resilient coastal and fisheries management practices. The author used performative approaches to contribute expert witnessing for her modeling. Questionnaires were used to determine how much community awareness was accomplished with the case studies to assess effects on future behaviour. By combining art and science methodologies, she revealed insights that could help small degraded sites that have been restored act as trigger points towards restoring healthy bioregional systems more efficiently than would be possible through restoration science alone. Current restoration methodologies from science are overwhelmed and challenged by the emergence of ecological novelties. Therefore, contributions from ecoart should be combined with scientific systems. In scaling up and applying these innovative practices for landscape ecology, the author assembled a set of recommendations for other researchers and constructed modeling rules to further explore and implement these ideas in the future. Those recommendations included the formal engagement of ecological artists as equal partners on environmental restoration teams.

Trebor Scholz
Title of Dissertation: The Internet as Playground and Factory
Author: Trebor Scholz
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Jill Scott. ICS ZHdK and Prof. Dr. Matthias Vogel ICS ZHdK
Description: Currently, there is very little to no awareness of the expropriation of "interactivity labour" among the people who populate the Internet. "Free Labour" is, in fact central to the Internet. Traditional exploitation of labour was complemented by the monetization of attention between the 1880s and 1950s and then by the commoditization of networked publics starting in the 1980s. Today, commercial interests have colonized the Internet and “labour” is being performed online by hundreds of millions of people. Without being recognized as “labour”, it turns profits for corporations. Playful, virtual volunteerism, and social production, driven by the desire for praise, entertainment, and peer recognition, has become a significant driving force of consumer capitalism. In this dissertation I discuss the complex phenomena of “free labour” online. New social media have made people easier to use! Corporations have learnt to profit by appropriating the behavioural templates, social norms, and expectations of people that used communication system that preceded the Internet. Today, even what looks like casual play and spontaneous interaction makes money for the owners of the “playgrounds” of the Web. From the global “participation gap” to government and corporate surveillance, the newly gained freedoms and visions of empowerment have complex social costs that are often invisible. Exploitation surely exists but it is rare in the context of social milieus of the Internet. In this thesis I am unpacking some historical roots of the mechanics of this placement of people in a position in which they can be used and in relation to which they mount little resistance. I am proposing an analysis of the instruments with which value is created and captured and I am discussing motivations behind the widespread participation. Situated within the larger field of Internet Studies, this thesis contributes an approach that is deeply sceptical while also being celebratory and optimistic. One-sidedness, either on the techno-utopian or on the dystopian side is a limitation of many studies in this area.

Tiffany Holmes
Title of Dissertation: Eco-visualization: Combining art and technology to reduce energy consumption
Author: Tiffany Holmes
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Jill Scott. ICS ZHdK and Dr. Angelika Hillbeck ETHZ/ICS ZHdK
Description: Artworks that display the real time usage of key resources such as electricity offer first, new visual strategies to conserve energy and second, new site-based environmental learning experiences. My own eco-visualizations—or artworks that creatively visualize ecologically significant data in real time—represent a substantial contribution to new knowledge about dynamic feedback as a tool to promote energy conservation in the related fields of art, design, and human computer interaction (HCI). The aims of this research endeavour were to locate and debate answers to the following questions: Can art trigger more environmentally responsible behaviour or merely raise awareness via site-based learning? Can art possibly make energy conservation fun, and more importantly, vital to everyday life? Might dynamic feedback from data-driven artwork create a better understanding of resource consumption patterns? Can creative visualizations that translate energy consumption data of some kind inspire not only ecological awareness but also a reduction in a community’s carbon footprint? What kinds of visualization strategies are most effective in communicating energy consumption data? These questions generated a four-year research project that involved an extensive literature review that culminated in three different practice-based case studies that resulted in new findings about the specific nature and effectiveness of eco-visualization as a novel conservation strategy. The three primary claims proven here were: Goal 1: Eco-visualization offers novel visual ways of making invisible energy data comprehensible, and thus encourages new forms of site-based learning. Goal 2:Eco-visualization that provides real time visual feedback about energy usage can definitely increase environmental awareness and possibly increase the conservation behaviour in the viewing population. Goal 3: Eco-visualization encourages new perceptions of linkages between the single individual and a larger community via site-based dialogue and conversation. Made with the philosophy of sustainability as a focus, my own artworks or eco-visualizations are used as case studies to illustrate how improved attitudes toward nature, increased environmental awareness, and stimulated interest in conservation concerns were raised.

Andreas Schiffler
Title of Dissertation: New Game Physics: Added Value for Transdisciplinary Teams
Author: Andreas Schiffler
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Jill Scott ICS and Prof. Dr. Daniel Bisig, The Artificial Intelligence Lab, University of Zurich.
Description: This study focused on game physics, an area of computer game design where physics is applied in interactive computer software. The purpose of the research was to provide a fresh analysis of game physics in order to prove that its current usage is limited and requires advancement. The investigations presented in this dissertation establish constructive principles to advance game physics design. The main premise was that transdisciplinary approaches provide significient value. The resulting designs redacted combined goals of game developers, artists and physicists and provide novel ways to incorporate physics into games. The applicability and user impact of such new game physics across several target audiences was thoroughly examined. In order to explore the transdisciplinary nature of the premise, valid evidence was gathered using a broad range of theoretical and practical methodologies. The research established a clear definition of game physics within the context of historical, technological, practical, scientific, and artistic considerations. Software implementations of several elements were developed to examine the practical feasibility of the proposed principles. This prototype was exposed to practitioners (artists, game developers and scientists) in field studies and documented on video. The findings from this research demonstrated that standard game physics is a common but limited design element for all computer games. The principal conclusion drawn from this study was that „new game physics“ can advance game design and create value by expanding the choices available to game developers and designers, enabling artists to create more scientifically robust artworks, and encouraging scientists to consider games as a viable tool for education and research. This study established a state of the art research into game physics including constructive principles for future investigations and new material to address the observed discrepancies in game theory and digital media design.

Andrea Polli
Title of Dissertation: Communicating Air: Alternative Pathways to Environmental Knowing through the Experience of Geosonification and Other Ecomedia
Author: Andrea Polli
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Jill Scott ICS ZHdK and Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, Institute for Integrative Biology, ETHZ, Swiss Federal University.
Description: This dissertation presents an extended argument for greater public engagement with weather and climate science, greater public and private support for long-term collaborations between media art and climate science, and increased public open access to global weather and climate monitoring and computationally modelled data. The author’s references her direct creation and presentation of location-based ecomedia and art projects in Antartica, USA and Taipei. She claims that production of geosonification and other ecomedia can open alternative pathways to environmental knowing in this time of urgent climate crisis. The role of aesthetics in enhancing environmental knowing and the potentials of visual and the affect of sonic stimuli are examined. Although the primary area of science addressed here is atmospheric science, this dissertation also references the geographical, geological, and biological sciences from a social, political, scientific, and theoretical perspective. It also presents an analysis of a series of projects by the author and others in relation to what human-computer interaction expert Paul Dourish calls “environmental knowing” (2006, p. 304). Here computing is the shared practice that connects scientific understanding to place and content-based creation. The author strived to explore and generate a different kind of data and to shift the structure of the work in the context of this data. For example in Antarctica in a collaboration with weather and climate scientists, she presented art projects have interpreted various kinds of data, build mechanisms for generating new data and interdisciplinary collaboration, and include the voices of various data gatherers, modellers and users. In this thesis, the art projects serve as proof that the tools and ideas of environmental science and information technology can intersect between disciplines and create alternative pathways towards a deeper understanding of weather and climate, specifically in locations with extreme climate and those environments that are at high risk due to anthropogenic climate change. The author created a new term, „geosonification“ to contextualize this analysis.

Karmen Franinovic
Title of Dissertation: Amplifying Actions: Towards Enactive Sound Design
Author: Karmen Franinovic
Supervisors: Prof Dr. Jill Scott ICS ZhdK and Prof Dr. Daniel Bisig, Artificial Intelligence Lab, University of Zurich.
Description: This doctoral dissertation aims creates a foundation for Enactive Sound Design by creating mutually enriching holistic creative methods and specific scientific ways of working. The author investigates sound that engages sensorimotor experiences, a scientific practice, that has been neglected within existing design practices. This required an analysis of transdisciplinary methods from design, psychology and human-computer interaction that bring together scientific and design approaches, practical workshops, theoretical research and project analysis. First, a basic design approach was used to engage in a reflective creation process and to extend the existing work on interaction gestalt through hands-on activities. Second, psychophysical experiments were carried out and adapted to suit the needed shift from reception-based tests to a performance-based quantitative evaluation. Last, a set of participatory workshops were developed and conducted, within which the enactive sound exercises were iteratively tested through direct and participatory observation, questionnaires and interviews. The author explored the fertile ground between basic design education, psychophysical experiments and participatory design. Combining creative practices with traditional task analysis further developed this basic design approach, resulting in sonic artefacts that can allow psychologists to study enactive sound experience and produced a new methodology for the evaluation of sensorimotor performance with tangible sound interfaces. By using holistic perspectives, the author fostered a subjective experience of self-producing sound. These performance experiments have revealed that sonic feedback can support enactive learning. Therefore, the role of designer, as a scientific collaborator within psychological research and as a facilitator of participatory workshops, has been evaluated. Thus, this dissertation recommends a number of collaborative methods and strategies that can help designers to understand and reflectively create enactive sound objects.

Ellen Levy
Title of Dissertation: Image and Evidence: The Study of Attention through the Combined Lenses of Neuroscience and Art
Author: Ellen Levy
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Jill Scott ICS ZHdK and Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, Institute for Integrative Biology, Swiss Federal University, ETHZurich.
Description: This study proposed that new insights about attentioni, including its phenomenon and pathology, would be provided by combining perspectives of the neurobiological discourse about attention with analyses of artworks that exploit the constraints of the attentional system. To advance the central argument that art offers a training ground for the attentional system, a wide range of contemporary art was analysed in light of specific tasks invoked. The kinds of cognitive tasks these works initiate with respect to the attentional system have been particularly critical to this research. The implicit tasks of artworks and explicit tasks used by neuroscience to assess and train attentional performance activate the neural circuits used in alerting, orientation, and executive control function. As a result, the kinds of informal learning that take place during engagement with art can provide training for real-world tasks (e.g., categorisation, conflict-resolution). The author explored Attention through transdisciplinary art practices, varied circumstances of viewing, new neuroscientific findings, and new approaches towards learning. Research for this dissertation required practical investigations in a gallery setting; contextualised and correlated with pertinent neuroscientific approaches. She concluded that art could enhance public awareness of attention disorders and assist the public in discriminating between medical and social factors through questioning how norms of behaviour are defined and measured. The research encompassed, a comparative analysis of several diagnostic tests for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the adaptation of a methodology from economics involving patent citation in order to show market incentives and examples of data visualisation. The authors exhibition allowed participants to experience first-hand the constraints on the attentional system, provoking awareness of our own “normal” physiological limitations. The embodied knowledge of images, emotion, and social context that are deeply embedded in art practices appeared to be capable of supplementing neuroscience’s understanding of attention and its disorders.

Juergen Moritz
Title of Dissertation: Towards the Affect of Intimacy - Identity in a world of smart objects
Author: Juergen Moritz
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Jill Scott ICS, ZHdK and Dr. Mathais Vogel, ICS ZHdK
Description: This thesis explored if developing technological in the fields of Ambient Intelligence and Persuasive Technologies introduce new intricate relationships beyond fundamental use and availability. Instead the author claims they urge us to rethink our capacity to act. Hegel (1927) once posited that primarily technology is a mediating factor between people and the world, therefore our efforts to understand technology often promotes a form of alienation. This old interpretation of the relationship between a person and his or her tool emphasized how the person is active whilst the tool is passive, a distinction that fails to grasp the complex interaction between people and technology in the contemporary world. Today, technology mediates the relationship between people and the world in increasingly complex and often collective ways. As Greenfield (2006) and Fogg (2002) also posit, certain Ambient Intelligence and Persuasive Technologies are in-principle shaping everyday human behaviours. For example, Artificial Companions can shift our understanding of intimacy and identity and may play the role of real or imaginary reference groups whose standpoints are being used as the frame of reference for the human actor. (Shibutani1987). ‘Being seen’ and ‘being judged’ are also central themes in this construction and expression of identities. Because these technologies reconfigure identification and profiling practices, the insight of philosophers like Paul Ricoeur (1990), George Herbert Mead (1959) and Helmuth Plessner (1975) are used to trace how: The construction of our identity is mediated by how we profile others as profiling us! Thus, new technologies encroach on our everyday activities and even affect our moral decision-making processes. They are destined to play a larger formative role in people’s lives in the future. Latour once framed the wider social role of technologies as res publica or ‘public things’ (Latour 2005). He pointed out that the old German word ‘ding’ did not only infer ‘material object’ but also ‘that which brings together’. Therefore, technological ‘things’ do not only mediate our existence, but are places where these mediations are made explicit. This thesis discusses and criticises the ways in which these “things” help to shape our daily lives and attempts to offer a new approach to this criticism through theoretical comparison and transdisciplinary analysis.

Kirsten Johansen
Title of Dissertation: Off the Orbit: Works of Art for Long-Term Space Travellers
Author: Kirsten Johansen
Supervisors: Prof Dr. Jill Scott, ICS ZHdK, and Prof. Dr. Stephan Guenzel, Berlin Free University
Description: This thesis combines the disciplines of art and human spaceflight. The aim of the investigation is to identify the aesthetic parameters for display in works of art on extended crewed missions. The research claims that within the research about human spaceflight, novel working methods should be developed that can integrate the artist into the scientific process. However, the extraordinary challenges of extended space exploration often impair any kind of art production in human spaceflight. These challenges concern technical and human-bodily aspects, psychological and psychosocial restrictions for the spacefarer. These limitations included unusual distance, long timeframes, confined isolated habitats, distant environments, sensory deprivation, the emptiness of outer space, the effects of social monotony and limited contact with home. Many cultural techniques for recreation and stress mitigation are already in use or will be tested in human spaceflight in the near future. It is in this context, that the author evaluates the implementation of works of art. Artworks have the potential to change isolation and confinement, because works of art differ from other objects of daily use. They have a unique appearance, which generates a correspondence between the recipient and the artwork and combine different concepts of thought, which step out of the momentary present. Art also has the ability to create a virtual closeness between the space traveller and his/her home planet, stimulate the human senses and influence individual feelings. First, the author establishes an interdisciplinary working method, which defines the integration of works of art within the indoor environment of space habitats as a stress-mitigating countermeasure against isolation and confinement. Second, she identifies relevant design parameters for works of art for future prolonged space travellers by summarising them in a Book of Principles, a book for other artists who wish to develop significant metaphors for this context. Like every scientific experiment, these works of art must follow the particular demands of verifiability, safety, and reliability. So the artist has unique level of responsibility to make the artwork a part of the spacefarers life-sustaining system. Therefore specific artistic and scientific conditions will make an interdisciplinary mode of operation necessary.