The Reading School
Title: Human Interconnection
Location: Melbourne (AU), Cairo (EG), Copenhagen (DK), New York (US), and Montréal (CA)
Participants: Zenobia Ahmed, Josefin Askfelt, Hanna Bergman, Mark Foss, Seif Hesham, Mélissa Pilon, Matilde Maria Rasmussen
In April 2020, while the world faced the pandemic outbreak of Covid-19, our group consisting of seven people from around the globe connected online for this workshop. By using a reactive reading and writing method; and through discussions; we shared our inner thoughts and different perspectives on work related experiences of living under lockdown. This text is a collection of some conversations and a series of essays published in Parole. (1)
1. Parole describes contemporary phenomena through the eyes of design; design as discourse, design as intentions, design as materialized manifestations of ideas.
Title: Across reading and writing in the virtually temporal
Location: Sharjah (UAE), Chicago (US), and Copenhagen (DK)
Collaborators: Elham Namvar, Pouya Ahmadi, Hanna Bergman
Credits: Karin Eckerdal (research), Signe Boe (research)
In order to explore different languages, in the physical space as well as in the digital, The Reading School went initially on a research trip to Sharjah and Chicago. Our intentions were to investigate the digitisation process of several languages. This documentation included images and objects such as mosaic scripts, handwritten notes, and pictorial signs.
During the following research, together with Elham Namvar and Pouya Ahmadi, we used a reactive writing method in the assemblance of texts and images. By thinking in plural, our collective writings combine a different metageological narrative, an inner dialogue between two dismissed punctuation marks, and another speculative text about our cross-culture collaboration.
To carry out parts of the research we have contributed with an essay in Amalgam Op.II (1) and with an assemblance of texts and images that was mediated as a reading installation at Post Design Festival (2) in 2019.
1. Amalgam is an ad hoc transdisciplinary journal that explores the intersection of typography, language, and the visual arts
2. POST is a non-profit, explicit critical and collaborative design festival
Installation view at Post Design Festival
>>> Amalgam Op.II
Title: The reader, the writer and the robot
Location: Bibliothek Andreas Züst (CH)
Collaborators: Marie Raffn, Annett Höland, Simone Koller, Hanna Bergman
Credit: Annett Höland (photography)
Our workshop, The reader, the writer and the robot, was about reading, writing and the potential to create new stories based on present technology: What happens when the physical book meets the logics of a smartphone? Drawing inspiration from radical methods of text production such as those of the Oulipo group, we explored experimental ways of reading based on technological constraints and opportunities.
Around twice a year a workshop takes place at the Bibliothek Andreas Züst. For each workshop, a guest is invited to select a book from the collection of the library, which she or he will then use as the starting point for a two-day workshop. Incorporating book excerpts, discussions and associative journeys through the library, the basic idea is to approach a topic together. The workshop series is organized by Annett Höland and Simone Koller.
Title: The reader, the writer and the robot II
Location: Frösö Skrivarforum (SE)
Collaborators: Theres K Agdler, Hanna Bergman
Our second workshop, The reader, the writer and the robot, took place at a writers forum in the green surroundings of Jämtland.
Skype talk session and screening
Title: Microbes I Have Known and Loved
Location: Annual Reportt, Copenhagen (DK)
Collaborators: Jenna Sutela, Annual Reportt, Hanna Bergman
Credit: Mikko Gaestel (photography)
Microbes I Have Known and Loved is a reading session that explores artificial intelligence (nonhuman) in connection to human communication. How ‘natural’ is artificial intelligence today and how do we communicate through machines?
The title of the talk Microbes I Have Known and Loved refers to self-exploration through embodied substances and concerns the bacteria that make us who we are. It also evokes the protagonist of Sutela’s ongoing research, Physarum polycephalum: the single-celled yet ‘many-headed’ slime mold that is considered a natural computer and ingested as a form of artificial intelligence in Sutela’s recent performances.
Jenna Sutela lives and works in Berlin and Helsinki. Her installations, text and sound performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology.
Title: VR reading
Location: Khora VR, Copenhagen (DK)
Collaborators: Khora Virtual Reality, Hanna Bergman
In order to explore VR vision, in connection to reading, we visited the Khora production house.
“As the the majority of content on the net in the 90s was text and images, the browsing experience adopted the analogy of books, as one kind soul explained it to me. Ergo, the early web had “pages.” Links directed you elsewhere, similar to footnotes. And don’t forget to bookmark. It all starts to sound pretty dry in that context. And yet the shape and dimension of the net are much richer and Gibsonian than its bookish interface would have you believe.” –The future of the internet is coming, and it’s in VR, Jason Johnson.
Title: Spatial Reading / Metamorphoses
Location: Copenhagen (DK)
Collaborators: Vilma Luostarinen, Barbara Amalie Skovmand Thomsen, Hanna Bergman
Credits: Vilma Luostarinen (photography)
Metamorphoses was a series of sensory and material explorations beyond the human and non-human divide. In this workshop the relationship between language and matter was investigated. We reflected on the feelings, thoughts and images between the intellectual and ‘bodily’ ways of reading.
Round table discussion
Title: Reading with Rapid Reader
Location: Copenhagen (DK)
Collaborators: Mette-Marie Zacher Sørensen, Hanna Bergman
Video: Spritz Reading / 7:51
I invited Mette-Marie Zacher Sørensen (Assistant Professor at the School of Communication and Culture – Aesthetics and Culture, Aarhus) to talk about the Spritz technology, a tool that facilitates a total concentration from the eyes, hands, head and body to sync and to stay in one position, a huge contrast to how these elements work when reading a physical book conventionally. Collectively, it only took us one and a half hours to read an entire book, staring at one point on the screen, without any frantic eye movements whatsoever. One can choose between a reading speed of 300, 700 or 1000 words per minute depending on the speed you feel comfortable with.
Please feel free to contact us for further information or to initiate a collaboration.
Supported by THE DANISH ARTS FOUNDATION