NMI 2006 – the conference

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From July 19 to 21 the annual conference “New Media and Technologies of the IT Society” (“Neue Medien und Technologien der Informationsgesellschaft”) took place under the title “Film, Computer and TV”.
The program was quite packed. Unfortunately I had to zip for and back between the talks and between guarding our installation “seidesein”, as my equipment was uninsured. Luckily Sabine was helping out with guarding the installation: Many thanks Sabine! However all this means: I couldn’t attend everything, likewise this summary will be uncomplete.
The conference took place in the building of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (seems they have no english website :-O) – successor of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, which is located at the “Gendarmenmarkt” opposite of the Berlin Konzerthaus. The conference was from morning till night:

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Konzerthaus Berlin on Gendarmenmarkt — day and night

The programm commitee consisted of Prof. Klaus Rebensburg from TU Berlin, Uni Potsdam (Computer Science), Prof. Dietrich Sauter from the IRT -Research and Development Institute for the public Broadcasting Organisations in Germany (ARD, ZDF,DLR), in Austria (ORF) and in Switzerland (SRG/SSR), Prof. Ulrich Weinberg from the media academy Potsdam (multimedia) and Alexander Schulze (research fellow Computer Science). The first three people gave lectures. Prof. Rebensburg did the intro and a lot of the moderations, he also gave nice overviews:

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Introduction by Prof. Rebensburg in the Leibniz Sall of the academy of Sciences

The themes of the conference/workshop were covering a lot of very different areas, reaching from film and animation over perceptional questions and juridicial or social demands to finally technical issues regarding multimedia and networks. However all talks were related to one clear issue: How do we navigate in our new augmented virtual world?

After the intro of Prof. Rebensburg coorganizer Prof. Ulrich Weinberg gave a talk about the multimedia scene in China. Since 2004 he is Visiting Professor at the CUC Communication University of China in Beijing.

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Prof. Ulrich Weinberg reporting about the chinese multimedia scene

After this Prof. Wolfgang Coy spokesperson of the DFG research unit “Bild-Schrift-Zahl” – a research unit which investigates the formation of symbols and signs in conjuction with cultural development -gave a talk on images in scientific reasoning. His talk was very in favour for the fundamental role of mathematics and in particular of geometry.

I missed the talks of Dr. Klumpp about Searchtainment as User Generated Content and Peter Krieg about paranoid machines. Unfortunately I also could attend the talk of coorganizer Prof. Sauter only partially. Among others he demonstrated major differences between 35mm films and new HD digital cinema formats, which was suberbly visible with the giant video projector they had for the conference. He also pointed at the different needs for the handling of these different formats, like e.g. that the extreme depth of field of digital formats may lead to an informational overflow, which he exemplified at the opening game of the world championchips in Munich. He also showed small excerpts from the new film ping pong by Mathias Luthardt which makes use of the new format in an artistic manner. ping pong by the way was called “a french film done in german”.

After this I unfortunately also missed big parts of the games section organized by Jens Allerdissen and Peter C. Krell, the latter was also having a stand promoting the german game developpers magazine gameface, where he is chief editor. The magazine is very informative -e.g. the current interview of the month in that magazine is with Cevat Yerli of Crytek- creators of the game Far Cry.

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Stand of german game developper magazine GAMEFACE

Part of the games section was also the bob block machinima show with Klaus Neumann – a documentary filmer and also creator of the website machinima deutschland and Alex Scholz – graphic designer- creator of the magazine SCEEN for digital extravaganza. The bob block show is a show in virtual space, where some main “virtual marionettes” (avatars) like e.g. bob -a voxelman- are functioning as showmasters. The virtual marionettes were animated in real time by Klaus and Alex. The show has been created with the upcoming new software moviesandbox by Friedrich Kirschner. moviesandbox is a machinima authoring tool using the game engine of the ego shooter Unreal Tournament 2004. I could imagine that may be with the moviesandbox students could produce TU’s math machinima more easily (also if they used sofar the Far Cry engine (which seems to have already some kind of sandbox: see above mentioned interview with Cevat Yerli)).
While Klaus and Alex held the performance, Friedrich had to fly over to Amsterdam to start working on a machinima exhibition to be presented sometime mid-september at mediamatic. He arrived later and we had a good discussion about jreality – the underlying graphics engine behind seidesein.

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Klaus Neumann and Alex Scholz moderating the Bob Block Show

The first day ended in a marvelous dinner on the roof terrace of the academy building, which can be reached only with an old paternoster, which is always a source of fun:

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Riding the paternoster

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Views from the roof terrace

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sunset over Berlin



The next day started with a talk by Dr. Verena Metze-Mangold – german representative in the IFAP -information for all programme of the UNESCO. Her talk was concerned with new treaties and politics concerning cultural goods. Her objective was that free market tendencies (like for the case of the WHO) are very bad for small countries and in particular for Europe with its high diversity of cultural niches and languages. She exemplified this with statistics of film imports and clear simple arguments, like the one that a film which is half-way successful in the US is already paid and every export to Europe is seen as a nice addition.This doesnt work the other way around – i.e. lets say a super successful film in Luxembourg wouldn’t be paid even if all of Luxembourgs inhabitants would watch it in a cinema.

After this Prof. Sauter was talking again about technics and power changes in film and TV. After him Bettina Brinkmann gave a survey on Game/Reality/Event etc.-shows, both talks I could only attend very partially.

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Bettina Brinkmann displaying british favorites

Luckily I could attend the talk of Prof. Siegfried Frey – a psychologist from the University of Duisburg-Essen about perception based animation of virtual characters. He gave a very good overview about the possibilities to use results of research of mimics and gestures for animation etc.

He was followed by Julean Simon – a musical performer playing parts of Bachs Cello Suites with his wind controler. Unfortunately I could hear the performance only from far away, because I had to deinstall seidesein. I had to leave the conference at that point and missed the video conferencing with the digital cinema society and a discussion about market, power and media society.


The last day started with a talk by Wolfgang Strauss of the MARS media laboratory speaking about media art and some of the MARS projects, like netzspannung, semantic maps and PointScreen. He and Monika Fleischmann remarked that it is false to look at media art only as a creative source for economically sucessful multimedia applications. In particular they claimed that it is shortsighted to fund media art projects only if they have some “use” (like e.g. their PointScreen, which is used on trade fairs etc.). Media art should be also treated as an important cultural contribution. Well I think they are very right.

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Bildmatrix and PointScreen from MARS media lab



The talks continued with Dr. Wolfgang Ruppel head of the section “Media Services &Broadcast Systems” of T-systems at Deutsche Telekom who gave a talk on IPTV plans of the Deutsche Telekom. Starting in May the Deutsche Telekom currently tests IPTV on their new VDSL-optic fibre network. The VDSL is a new network which is providing highspeed network connections mainly due to reducing the copper cable length of ordinary DSL connections down to 100-200 m from the home user. According to Deutsche Telekom the investments for VDSL are approx. 3 billion Euros. There are currently arguments with the EU about the exclusivity of the network.
Deutsche Telekom chose Microsoft for their IPTV software. As it seems it is not only me who considers this desicion to be unwise. Besides the fact that I can’t call myself a fan oft Microsoft software it is clear that the secrecy of Microsoft protocolls is in conflict with the demand of open public control and handling of broadcasting services. And hence the public broadcasting companies ARD and ZDF already indicated that they may not make use of the software, as it is missing out essential standards. Unfortunately I didn’t attend the discussion after Dr. Ruppels talk, but I would have loved to hear, whether Prof. Sauter from IRT made a comment to that. In addition the federal state agency Bundesnetzagentur demands that Microsoft should lay open their coder in order to guarantee free choice for the end user. Whatever – at the moment there seem to be in addition also technical problems.

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IPTV plans of the Deutsche Telekom

After that I missed the talks by Alexandra Pohl about multiple use of digital content for broadcast services, Henrik Pantle about podcasts, Karin Wehn about the history of short animations in www, and Viola Stephan about digital film art and likewise most of the little satellite talks which took place afterwards in the Leibniz hall and the Einstein hall. (Where I have to remark that the Einstein hall is a wooden panelled historical room under the roof with no air condition and it was 38 degrees Celsius this day…the Leibniz hall had air condition…). I was in particular sorry to miss Ahmets talk about mmporpgs. I shortly zipped into Daniel Michelis talk about his mirror installation at he SAP building, since we had a nice discussion earlier about mirrors.

Daniel also liked our “distortable 3D-mirrors” in seidesein. All in all we were very happy that seidesein was so well perceived by the conference participants. There is also a certain project which would like to use seidesein and this application would be very interesting for us.

It was very great to watch people using seidesein and watch them dancing and moving with it. It was also very very interesting to see how differently it was perceived and for what people would like to use it. Like e.g. photographer and multimedia man Garvin Nolte would have liked to distort his photographs with it, brazilian coworker Elaine in Klaus Rebensburg organising team would have liked to dance with her family in Brazil…

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…and last not least Prof. Ulrich Weinberg missed the gameplay in seidesein, but quite exensively played around with it – and when finally Julean Simon joined in with his coffee cup they both created this ingenious übernerdy seidesein-reinterpretation of Michelangelos creation of adam:

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creation of what? by Prof. Ulrich Weinberg and Julean Simon with seidesein

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the real thing

2 Responses to “NMI 2006 – the conference”

  1. garvin Says:

    hey nadja,

    garvin hier .. war bei euch mit peter vom gameface ..
    melde dich mal bitte, geht um das seidesein-projekt…
    ..hab euer projekt soweit ich es konnte gezeigt,
    brauch jetzt mal telefonischen kontakt oder so ..

  2. randform » Blog Archive » paper Says:

    [...] I finally managed to translate my article for the conference proceedings of the NMI2006 conference from german into english. There are a few additions, which are not included in the german version. [...]

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