The Max Planck Institute visits the Merz Akademie

The team of the Max Planck Institute visited the Merz Academy and the current semester project of Prof. Mario Doulis and Prof. Joost Bottema

On May 4, 2022, a delegation from the Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour and the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior visited the Merz Akademie for the first time. Rector Maren Schmohl, Prof. Mario Doulis and Jörg Frohnmayer from the New Media department and Prof. Joost Bottema from the Visual Communication department spoke with the researchers about the continuation of the partnership and the successful development so far. The current works from the Re-Shaping Nature project were exhibited at the University of Konstanz in May 2022.

Since 2019, the Merz Akademie has been cooperating with the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and the Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behavior at the University of Konstanz to visualize movement records of various animal species, e.g. empirical data from crabs, flocks of fish or birds, using the tools of design and art. After initially smaller workshop week projects and a joint design course, the students, under the direction of Prof. Mario Doulis and Jörg Frohnmayer, are transforming the scientific data into interactive installations, animated posters, VR installations and publications in the semester project Re-Shaping Nature, which make animal behavior tangible in different ways. The projects were publicly exhibited for the first time in May at the University of Konstanz and presented at the Long Night of Science.

Hemal Naik (Max-Planck-Institut) and Jörg Frohnmayer (Merz Akademie), Foto: Elisabeth Böker, CASCB, Universtität Konstanz

This semester, the cooperation continues in the project “Documentary Palaces,” which is offered jointly by the New Media and Visual Communication study areas. The title is composed of “Documentary Theater,” which uses existing content and sources to tell stories about real events, and “Memory Palace,” a mnemonic technique that uses familiar spatial images to better recall information. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute and the University of Konstanz will work with students to share their empirical data on how animals come to decisions in their natural environment.


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