“Re­pulse the Beat: Teach­ing Cast and the Strat­egy Of De­cel­er­a­tion” presented by Kraemer


Session Title:

  • Slowness: Responding to Acceleration through Electronic Arts

Presentation Title:

  • Re­pulse the Beat: Teach­ing Cast and the Strat­egy Of De­cel­er­a­tion




  • Panel: Slowness: Responding to Acceleration through Electronic Arts

    “Why, you might just as well say that I see what I eat is the same thing as I eat what I see?” _said the Hat­ter to Alice.

    Re­cently we eat more what we see than we see what we eat. Hun­gry for in­for­ma­tions and seek­ing any kind of va­ri­eties we are going to loose the dif­fer­ent mean­ings of per­cep­tion and re­al­ity. Mean­while a movie the­ater is a bet­ter place to show Media Art than a mu­seum. Our stu­dents pay for a 140 min­utes 3D ex­pe­ri­ence, but they are not will­ing to in­vest 90 sec­onds for a mas­ter­piece of Elec­tronic Art. Ask­ing my stu­dents why they are not in­ter­ested in works of art, they an­swer­ing: “Works of art are so slow and there­fore so bor­ing.” And: “It looks so an­tique.” Talk­ing with them about works of art often sim­ple state­ments and com­par­isons are mis­taken for in­sight. So the ques­tions are: How can we de­cel­er­ate the dy­namic of the stu­dents’ user at­ti­tudes? And how can we sim­plify the com­plex­ity of works of art for a „mul­ti­tasked“ gen­er­a­tion who is un­able to con­cen­trate in one item? In my sem­i­nars in CAST, a new study course at the De­part­ment for De­sign at Zurich Uni­ver­sity of the Arts, I teach my stu­dents how to de­cel­er­ate their daily speed, learn the power of slow­ness and how to dis­cover their abil­i­ties in find­ing „the right mo­ment.“ So we an­a­lyze the „self-de­struc­tion“ in Di­eter Kiessling’s mas­ter­piece „Con­tinue“, dis­cover the prin­ci­ple of si­mul­tane­ity in the dis­si­mul­tane­ity in the work „Fo­cus­ing“ of Tamas Wal­iczky, and we feel the rhythm in „Les larmes d’acier“ of Marie-Jo La­fontaine. By dis­cussing movie scenes of Hitch­cock, Cro­nen­berg, Peck­in­pah, and Bres­son, the stu­dents learn that dra­maturgy in a film is the cor­rect ap­pli­ca­tion of pac­ing, of rapid pulse beats and then to pause for a mo­ment.

    This means that the story is not only used as a nar­ra­tive but also as a way of de­sign, and fur­ther­more also that the story serves as a means for the re­cip­i­ent to iden­tify with the con­tent. Retelling the story of a comic book by using only 6 im­ages is an­other strat­egy to re­duce the ar­ti­fi­cial com­plex­ity. And they have to ex­press them­selves by writ­ing „Haikus“ about paint­ings of Ed­ward Hop­per, Hoku­sai, Her­bert Starek, and about pic­tures of Taryn Simon or Chris Ware’s Jimmy Cor­ri­gan but also about TV com­mer­cials. On hy­per­me­dia clas­sics like Vi­enna Walk, Sig­mund Freud, and Vir­tual Trans­fer Musée Su­isse they learn how to ac­cel­er­ate and de­cel­er­ate the flow of in­for­ma­tion at the right mo­ment, as well as learn­ing to un­der­stand how to lead the user with a sto­ry­line and in equal mea­sure through a nav­i­ga­tional de­sign. Thus by fol­low­ing the phi­los­o­phy of „Fes­tina Lente“ („Hurry slowly“) – and al­ways re­main­ing con­sid­er­ate of the needs of the user – it should be pos­si­ble to cre­ate a story which is at the same time com­plex yet still in­tu­itive. And to pro­duce high qual­ity „short sto­ries for the small screen“ is the aim of CAST. But those who wish to tell sto­ries, will have to learn to lis­ten first.