• Berlin, Germany
  • Fine Arts, Media Art & Interaction Design
  • schnellebuntebilder

Ann-Katrin Krenz

Ann-Katrin Krenz is an interaction designer and media artist, based in Berlin. Her work ranges from rich interactive installations and environments to generative design and visual explorations with pixels, pen and paper.

Since February 2016 she holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of the Arts Berlin in the field of Fine Arts with the focus on New Media. The class was lead by Prof. Joachim Sauter and Prof. Jussi Ängeslevä. She has worked for studios like Art+Com or schnellebuntebilder.

Parasitic / Symbiotic
The relationship of humans and nature seems to be out of balance. The human, as a being defined by technology, is harming its environment and the very nature on which its existence depends. The focus on advancing technology seems to be contrary to a sustainable, responsible relationship to nature.
But what kind of role does the human being occupy in this area of tension between nature and technology?
The human being does not see itself as part of nature, but at the same time has the desire to be close to nature and to become part of the natural persistence. In the project “Parasitic / Symbiotic” this area of tension between nature and technology is addressed.

A scenario is created in which the human being makes use of a technical device, that is sitting like a parasite on a tree. It contains a milling machine, which moves along a tree to carve encoded text into it. For the content of the carving a poem from romanticism („Abschied.“ von Joseph von Eichendorff) is used, which expresses the natural thoughts of unity and oneness and depicts the relation of nature and culture.
The question, whether this act can be considered as natural or artificial and where we as humans are situated, is posed with this action. The project critically discusses this area of tension, as the act of carving into a tree is a paradoxical one on several levels: The forest, in which the act is performed, is actually created artificially for forestry use. But the tree itself still describes nature in its purest form. The human-made technical device interferes with this natural atmosphere. By carving into the tree it even harms nature. This forms a contradiction to the content of the poem – the romantic thought of oneness and the desire of the humans for nature. By using this technical device the human can realize parts of this thought. The result is an encoded form of the poem, which clearly refers to digital aesthetics and at the same time becomes part of the living tree.

The project describes a partly parasitic symbiosis between the technical act and the natural tree.
This picks up the current troubled relationship of humans to nature and illustrate it. The project shows, that humans can create something aesthetically valuable and permanent through moderate and thoughtful technical interventions in nature. Even if the procedure is invasive, the damage remains low and it never comes to a fatal disturbance of the natural system; the tree lives on unrestricted and will grow together and merge with the artificial carving and so the artwork becomes one with nature.

Kepler’s Dream
A project with Michael Burk.
Kepler’s Dream is an aesthetical investigation, exploring analog projection technology in the combination with computationally created content that is given a physical shape through 3D printing.

Inspired by obsolete projection technologies like the overhead projector, and especially the episcope, an installation was designed that generates unique imagery and a fascinating experience. Mixing digital aesthetics – parametric and generative shapes – with the qualities of analog projection creates an otherworldly look that seems to be neither digital nor analog. Interacting with the installation creates a deeply immersive effect, as the instant reaction of the projection and the “infinite frame rate“ let this fantastical world come to life.

In the design process it became clear that a shallow depth of field of the projection invites to explore and decipher. A spherical object was chosen to allow for a seamless exploration with the freedom to move in all directions.

The formal aesthetics of the first prototypes evoked associations with the model of the solar system in “Mysterium Cosmographicum”by Johannes Kepler, who thought to have found the geometrical basis of the universe in the platonic bodies. Picking up the mysticism created by Kepler, who also saw the platonic bodies as representations of the elements (fire, water, earth, air), the projected world embodies an abstract story. Each element is represented by a platonic body that transforms into parametric shapes and landscapes. For example, the tetrahedron breaks apart into jagged structures which resemble fire. The dodecahedron, the ether containing the other platonic bodies, seems to have crashed into the rigid landscape, leaving holes in the mountain sides matching the shapes of the octahedron, icosahedron, tetrahedron, and the cube.

This abstract world can be explored in a non-linear way. Following the path of the structures back to the initial platonic bodies, one can find the conclusion in the all connecting dodecahedron.

STIMMEN is a participative installation which gives the visitors a voice in the ongoing discussion around German-Russian relationships of the past and the present. It was developed for the exhibition“Russia and Germany. From Confrontation to Cooperation” at Martin-Gropius-Bau.

The speech is analyzed and visualized in various information graphics that give visitors an oversight of the diversity of opinions and showed coherences and tendencies in the discussion. The spoken words are played back as an atmospheric soundscape, that let the visitors engage with the subject and each other on a personal level.
Through the course of the exhibition, the visualized content was growing into a broad catalog, that was filled by the visitors themselves, creating a platform for discussion and exchange.

Visitors were given a spoken statement or answer to one of five questions about German-Russian relations in politics, sports, art and culture. The speech was then recognized and analyzed by an automated system.
The grammar and semantics of the words were identified by the system, using several analysis tools based on machine learning. The algorithms were customized to recognize special words and phrases relevant to the exhibition, enabling us to visualize the quantity and relationships between relevant politicians, organizations, places.
This gave us new insights: Which verbs and adjectives are most commonly used to describe a given topic? Who are the most important actors and which properties are assigned to them? What are the overall tendencies of a certain question?
Additional information was gathered from the internet in real time and integrated into the visualizations to give context to the discussion. For example, all mentioned locations were placed on a map to place the relationships in a global context.

The interface was built as a custom web app powered by modern HTML5 features and the speech recognition was realised using Google’s Web Speech API.
After being collected, the speech data was sent over the network to a VVVV application, which handled the database connection, stored and retrieved the data, and served as the central hub to integrate the different text analysis tools like Text Razor and Tree Tagger. All visualizations were generated in real time with VVVV.

The entrance-installation welcomed visitors in the form of a large wall covered in photographs of iconic moments in German-Russian relations. A projection map highlights each photograph in a logical sequence.
Through this introduction, visitors were given a taste of the visual and audio exhibition that was to follow. The photographs in the entrance hall later became jumping off points for the discussions and topics they would dive into.