Hybrid Talks XXXIX - Speculation (Review)

Thursday last week, we opened our doors for the final Hybrid Talks of the winter semester 2019/20. Prof. Kora Kimpel, the professor of Interface and Interaction Design at UdK and project leader of the Hybrid Platftorm, opened the evening of the 39th Hybrid Talks on the subject of „Speculation“. Our five speakers presented various points of view and celebrated a variety of speculative thoughts in their ten-minutes talks. The talks were splendid and we speculated about their respective contents while having a glass or two of wine.

The evening began with the talk of Prof. Dr. phil. Dipl.-Ing. Sabine Ammon who teaches at two faculties of the TU Berlin. In her talk she underlined challenges of programming and training rescue robots. It was a great kick-off and provided already much food for thought. She analyzed the significance of speculation and elaborated on the impact of possible ethical consequences.

Similar dangers of speculation were stressed by Prof. Dr. Dieter Scherer, head of the climatology department at the Institute for Ecology at the TU Berlin, who also focused on the negative aspects of speculation in the first part of his talk. His talk was very palpable through the usage of various graphics which gave an intriguing introduction to the science behind climate research and scientific processes behind the work in the field of climatology. 

Prof Dr. Kathrin Peters from the history and theory of visual culture department at the Berlin University of the Arts focused on antipodes: history and present. She based her talks on two films by Pier Paolo Pasolini and by Sharon Hayes and spoke about a historic aspect of speculation delivered through video art. The excerpts of the movies she showed cheered our audience.

Content-wise a sharp contrast to the subject of the movies was given by the fourth talk. Insights about speculation from an economic point of view were delivered by Prof. Dr. Martin Gornig (Deputy Head of Department in the Firms and Markets Department and Research Director Industrial Policy at the German Institute for Economic Research). With his talk, which was packed with information, he provided a vivid insight into the driving force for growth and crisis.

Yet another aspect of the topic was highlighted by Wenzel Mehnert, a research assistant at the department for time-based media at the University of the Arts. He spoke about his practice on the nexus of speculative fiction and the assessment of new and emerging science and technologies. He furthermore delivered an example of his practice while presenting the work “What desert smells like?”.

All in all, we had a great evening with a large variety of inputs. And we are looking forward to our next Hybrid Talks on the topic of “Transparency” on April 23, 2020!

- Tanita