Screen Life



#StudioIntegrativeDesign #Master-Thesis

Screen Life explores the boundaries between materiality and technology. We find ourselves in a changing environment in which our near senses are increasingly less affected.

What is Screen Life about?

In a play between coded form and traditional material, Screen Life explores this new quality of experience. Tableware, as objects of our daily experiences, undergo an unexpected transformation in virtual space. They then return to our tangible environment as symbols of the digital's entry into our everyday lives, raising questions about human nature in a technologized environment.

How is Screen Life structured?

The film: The first part of the project forms the bodily distant: digital-visuals, modelled as a cinematic scenery with 3D-generated objects as main actors. The project scene, which was designed with the open source software Blender, tries to create a sense of reality through digital textures and light. The recipient is invited into a room, through whose affordances (=inviting character) he or she can form his or her own experience of the table scene, which, through the tableware itself, suggests an absence of people, but not a void of people.

Apparently by a wind, as a physical force, the mirabelle plums lying on the table, appealing to the senses, are first set in motion until, through the collision of the wind and the fruit, the tableware seems to come to life. In the process, however, only the principles of a previous digital choice of properties are revealed. In terms of phenotype, the objects are similar, but their respective genotypes exhibit different characteristics in terms of stiffness, mass, gravity and inertia and the characteristic of being a collision object.

ScreenLife (Master-Thesis) by Valerie Pohlmann

3D printing and ceramics: In a second step, 3D printing was used to bring selected objects into the tangible and thus near-body environment. A container is fundamentally defined by an inside and an outside, with the crucial function of holding a content. By translating the tableware into the virtual, in which it was quasi reinvented with different properties according to the principle of unlimited possibility, decisive functional features were lost in the course of the animation. Some objects have been turned inside out and a level floor as a prerequisite for standing is no longer given. By combining clay and traditional pottery techniques, a new functional tableware is created on which the digital forms have left their imprint.The ceramics modulated by the digitally created forms are symbolic of our changed everyday life. On the resulting relief, a glaze forms the interface between the natural, hand-shaped material and computer-generated objects from another reality.

What is the idea/theory behind Screen Life?

Through experiences with the body and the resulting body knowledge, we can make predictions about how objects that surround us in our everyday life feel, smell, taste and how they behave in an environment with other objects. We know the feeling of the coldness of marble, we have the ability to evoke the softness of a cloth in us and we can predict the fragility of a porcelain cup that is dangerously close to the edge of a table. Pictures have the power to activate past experiences and put our bodies in a state of readiness to interact, even in the absence of material objects.

3D models do not have physical properties, but are based on data which, depending on their purpose, aim to create the most authentic as-if experience of our physical reality possible. By means of physical metaphors, the user interface of 3D software makes it as easy as possible for the designer to create a parallel world which apparently functions under similar conditions as we know it from our environment close to our bodies. What is missing, however, is the material and the associated resistance that matter creates. An object generated by a 3D software has only pretended boundaries and any reaction to supposed forces is pure simulation. In the end, the question arises, how do we ourselves - since our thoughts and feelings are essentially based on physical interaction - change.


Armin Blasbichler

, Studio Integrative Design

Prof. Dr. Jörg Wiesel

, Institute of Aesthetic Practice and Theory