School of machines, making & make–believe

What defines the relationship between art and science? How can a deeper understanding of the laws of physics alter our perception and interactions with the world around us? In which ways do light and sound influence our experience of being human?

  • / May 1 - 26, 2017

  • / four weeks, full-time in Berlin, Germany

  • / 10-15 participants accepted

  • / Based in SPEKTRUM


All elements of our world are composed of vibrating particles that pass through time and space. By exploring the different ways in which we experience vibration, paying particular attention to sound, light, and visuals, we'll be able to more effectively understand the web of relationships that together form our perception of the universe through our bodies, minds, and tools.

In this program we'll learn the fundamentals of how vibrations (energy) move through space by working with visual and experimental sound artists to navigate the world of vibration as a sensory experience. We'll also work with theoretical physicists to understand the fundamentals of vibrations, and how they influence every element of the world we live in.

Course Description

During this four-week program we will explore the notion of vibration from both the scientific and creative perspectives. Each week a group of scientists and artists will host a workshop that will highlight a different element of vibration. Working together, they will discuss the mechanical properties—how these aspects of vibration actually work and what their effects are— which will be matched with demonstrations of how these properties can be manifested creatively, primarily through light and sound.

We will start the course with the fundamentals, with things like string theory, harmonic oscillators, how sound and light waves are created and perceived by the mind/body. Working essentially from micro to macro, concrete to conceptual, we will then discuss notions of observational atmospheric oscillations: gravitational waves and seismic oscillations, illustrated with a more psychological relationship between movement and place/how we perceive the spaces around us.

We will end with conversations related to theoretical physics: the relationship between space and time, and how these concepts are explored visually and aurally. The final week will be focused on hands-on working time where students will be able to refine and realize their works, which will be featured in a one-night exhibition on the final night of the course.

Who is this program for?

This course is designed for anyone who has an interest in understanding how the world works from a functional, fundamental, scientific perspective, how these forces impact us on a day-to-day level, and then how to translate this into creative energies through light and sound.

You don’t have to have a background in physics to participate in this workshop. We have built-in the time for introductory lectures which will open-up into group discussions throughout the weeks.

We will begin at a basic popular science level and will advance along with the requirements of the group. This workshop is designed for people who are interested in making connections between the seen and unseen forces at play in our universe.

What will we learn?

We will begin with the general topic of vibration (its forms and mechanisms) and as we build a fundamental understanding we will engage the topic from a more conceptual perspective, exploring it through light and sound, gravitational waves, time, and space. Each weeks’ topic will be introduced by a physicist or astrophysicist and then will be complimented by visual or sound artists.

We will learn how to channel our conceptual ideas into realities (either through physical, digital, or auditory artworks), how to explore light and sound through architecture and the landscapes that we exist within, and how to observe and connect the myriad forces at play in our worlds.

Course Outline

Week 1: Introduction, fundamentals of vibration, how vibration is experienced within the body/unseen forces+body+object
Week 2: Vibration as sound, psychology of sound/sound+space(natural/architectural)
Week 3: Vibration as light, time+space/patterning
Week 4: Work time, processing and producing works for final exhibition

  • Regular fee
    €1350 (artists/students/freelancers)
    €1800 (professionals)

Women and persons from LGBTQ+ and other under-represented communities in the tech field highly encouraged to apply!



  • Florence To /

    Art Director and Installation Artist, Florence To designs and produces visual installations to create an awareness of the organized elements in architecture. After obtaining a Masters Degree in Design at The Glasgow School of Art, she began developing installations, working in a variety of disparate environments and tailoring each project to fit the space.

    To has a background in classical music which led her to collaborate with sound designers for commissioned projects and performances including The Society of Arts and Technology in Montreal, Budapest institute 4DSOUND and Unsound in Kraków. She continues to explore the effects of live performance, through researching the creation of physical presence with light and how different sensory arrangements can create an emotional and psychological impact on the audience.

  • Dr. Agata Kolodziejczyk / More info

    Originally from Poland, Dr. Agata Kolodziejczyk is a Research Fellow in the Biomimetics division of the Advanced Concepts Team at the European Space Agency, which is based in The Netherlands.

    What is biomimetics? "Under the harsh invisible hand of evolution, natural organisms have evolved for millions of years, in a continuous struggle for survival, and represent optimal responses to their environment. The biomimetic approach aims at inspiring developers for new and improved technical design.

  • Jem the Misfit /

    Jemma Woolmore aka Jem the Misfit is a Berlin based video artist.

    Jem’s carefully crafted performances create spatial and textural landscapes, merging digital 3D design with hand-made sculptural objects to blur the boundaries between real and virtual. Her work often involves everyday materials transformed through light refraction and film techniques to become fantastical environments.

    Her unique artistic vision has seen her illuminate festivals and galleries across the world, including performances at MIRA (ES), Convergence festival (UK), Mapping festival (CH), Sonos Studio (USA), Berlin’s Krake festival and Mutek Mexico.

  • Katarzyna Krakowiak /

    Krakowiak is a sculptor who uses various media, especially sound, to explore the limits of architecture; she creates large-scale installations involving existing city buildings or structures.

    In 2006 the artist graduated from the Sculpture Transplantation Studio, at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, defending her doctorial dissertation at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Following her project titled “Making the walls quake as if they were dilating with the secret knowledge of great powers”, Krakowiak received special mention at the 2012 edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale.

    Among other projects, Krakowiak is the author of the “Radio all.FM” project that was carried out in several cities all over the world (e.g. Tel Awiv, Tallinn, Mexico City, Wroclaw), in which she used a radio transmitter to “borrow” frequencies from various radio stations and then to broadcast through a hidden transmitter to completely unaware recipients. Her works have been presented at numerous solo exhibitions and internationally.

  • Krzysztof Topolski/

    Electroacoustic improviser, author of sound-art projects, drummer, field recordist, curator. Key concepts in his work are noise and soundscape. He explores the area of percussion and live electronics, improvisational, and electroacoustic music. He composes with the use of computers, creates interactive sound installations, organizes presentations, and lectures on contemporary music and sound art, and also runs workshops. He is a member of PSeME (Polish Society for Electroacoustic Music) In 2009, together with Mariusz Waras, he created installation Fabryka (Factory) in CSW “Znaki Czasu” (Signs of Time) in Toruń and also presented the piece Folk Science as a part of Pandemonium project in AC Institute [Direct Chapel] in New York. He was awarded a scholarship of Museums Quartier in Vienna, artist-in-residence program (2004), Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (2007/2010), CCA “Kronika’, Bytom (2006) and Visegrad Fund residence program at Skolska 28 Gallery, Prague (2011). Took part in many festivals: Unsound, Line_in : Line_out, Wien Modern ’03 , Stimul ’05, Echofluxx ’11, Prague, Jazz and Experimental Music from Poland, ’11, London.

    Krzysztof Topolski is supported by city of Gdańsk, cultural scholarship.

  • Paul Prudence/

    Paul Prudence is an artist and audio-visual performer working with generative video environments and acousmatic sound. His work, which has been shown and performed internationally, focuses on the ways in which sound, space and form can be cross-wired to create live-cinematic visual-music experiences.

    Paul is a contributing writer to both Holo and Neural, printed magazines that explore the intersections of media art, electronic culture and computational creativity. He also maintains the weblog Dataisnature exploring the interrelationships between natural processes, computational systems and procedural-based art practices.

  • Piotr Suffczynski/ More info

    Piotr Suffczynski is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biomedical Physics, University of Warsaw whose research is dedicated to understanding brain function through development of computational models. Topics of his lectures include the nervous system and sensory systems detecting vibrations, demonstrations and usages of EEG waves.

  • Sabio Janiak/

    Composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, one-man band based in London, Sabio Janiak has associated himself with music and art since early childhood. His musical education (Academy of Music – classical percussion, London Centre of Contemporary Music- music production )and interest in spirituality, sound therapy, science of sound, has opened his mind to the realm of mystical world of frequencies and vibration. An ability to play more than 150 instruments and his experience of working together with world famous artists have contributed to enhancing his rare musical sensibility. His openness and creativity have enabled him to break the stereotypes and intensify his pursuit of new means of musical expression.

    Sabio has worked with artists such as Roger Waters (UK) , Peyoti for Persident (toured many European countries along side Massive Attack, Ojos de Brujo, Manu Chao, Ozomatli), Michael Feinstein (US), Gary Guthman (US), and Boris Sihon (Israel), and organizations such as Hagit Yakira Dance, The Place, Trinity Laban, Roehampton Uni, RAD , Richard Alston Dance Company, New Adventures, Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London College of Fashion, International School of Costume and Fashion Design in Warsaw, LCP dance theatre ,YLE.f i-Finnish Broadcasting Company, SYD-Shoreditch Youth Dance, Deborah Galloway(Needlefoot), Victor Fung, Nuno Silva, STDM, Arts Odyssey, Dance Digital, Alchemy Project, Darren Ellis Dance - Arts Trust.