For the first time in the history of our Hybrid Talks we had the difficult task to bring speakers and audience together without breaking the strict rules regarding the current COVID-19 situation. We decided to initiate a livestream, attempting to capture the event vibe albeit with only the speakers as audience.

Christoph Gengnagel, professor for structural design and engineering at UdK and project leader of the Hybrid Platform, opened the evening of the 40th Hybrid Talks with its subject “Transparency”.

Jürgen Schulz, professor for communication and strategy at UdK Berlin, was the first to step in front of the camera to tell us why you don’t need to rely on trusting uncertainty if you look for transparency. He examined the motto “trust is good, control is better” by outlining many philosophical theories and combining those with his communication research.

Next up was Meike Hopp, professor for digital provenance research at TU Berlin, who showed us how much intransparency there is inevitably when an institution like the Natural History Museum has to keep track of more than 30 million objects. Provenance is a societal mission and not an end in itself. Provenance research is the fundament to allow (simplified) access to information and adapting the language instead of only restaurating objects.

Stefan Eisebitt, professor for optics and atomic physics, took the term transparency literal and showed us how things are invisible because of either being too fast, too small or not illuminated the right way. Nevertheless, there is always at least one form of electromagnetic wavelength (better known as light) to make a contrast strong enough to see the object. Another intransparent instrument that has to be made visible is the magnetization of hard discs that we can’t perceive with our eyes but is read by computers and laptops.

Thereafter Valeska Schmidt-Thomsen, professor for fashion design at UdK Berlin, went on stage and tried to outline the mostly intransparent world of all: apparel. Fashion as a collective practice is not only determined by the creation but also by the usage, hence every designer should also try to view their product in a broader sense. Her call to action was that every participant in this interconnected ecosystem should act responsibly in order to create a sustainable and fair future of fashion.

Elena Schütz who founded with others the architectural collective “something fantastic” was the last one to present her ideas. She talked about how much CO2 emissions result from construction buildings and infrastructure which should make  architects reconsider their practise. Instead of always constructing new from scratch they should also be willing to talk about what you should or should not build, less or less expensive instead of only planning new stuff. To realize this endeavour it is necessary to change the current system where architectural fees are normally a percentage of the construction cost, thereby providing an incentive to create dispensable architecture.

Instead of coming together, discussing the talks and drinking a glass of wine we were only able to encourage our audience to let everything sink in and think about the interesting ideas alone or with their friends and family at home. We sincerely hope that we have the opportunity to invite you guys into our Hybrid Lab the next time and wish you good health until then!

For more details about the Hybrid Talks 40 check out our roundup.

- Aljoscha