reDesigning Affect Space #1: Like Space, Berlin February 2 – 4, 2018

A masterclass by Dutch artists Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum in Berlin (February 2 – 4, 2018) marks the start of a new international design theory, practice and research project initiated and coordinated by the Cool Mediators Foundation, titled reDesigning Affect Space. This project follows on from the Technology / Affect / Space public research project conducted by Eric Kluitenberg and Open! – Platform for Art, Culture & the Public Domain, in 2016.

Below is more information on the masterclass and its context.

reDesigning Affect Space #1: Like Space
Masterclass by Esther Polak & Ivar van Bekkum in cooperation with Hybrid Space Lab.
Berlin, February 2 – 4, 2018.

“Like Space” is a research by Hybrid Space Lab on the emotional and affective dimensions of hybrid (combined physical and media) space.

In their work, Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum (PolakVanBekkum) are investigating mobility and the (urban) landscape. In recent years they have explored the possibilities of location-specific binaural sound recordings. To enter a physical identification with mobilities and moving objects, they connected their recording equipment to those objects, instead of the human head.

To radicalise this work method in scale, PolakVanBekkum proposes to apply it to a building. As a result, one ear would hear the eastern side of a building, while the other ear would hear the western side.

During the workshop we are going to find out together what spatial listening could be. We want to end with listening as a building, but to get there we have to start listening over greater distances: with our ears one meter apart, 2 meters, 5 meters, 20 meters. As if we are enlarging our heads. We will achieve this by using mics and extension cables or phones and live streams. Input on any level, from architectural point of view to sound or digital is heartily welcomed!

At the end of the workshop, we will expose two buildings to this experiment of sound recording and “deep listening.” In consultation with Elizabeth Sikiaridi and Frans Vogelaar (Hybrid Space Lab), Esther and Ivar chose Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) and the reconstruction of Berliner Stadtschloss. (This building, located at the Unter den Linden, will in future house the Humboldt Forum).

In the workshop, the following questions will be addressed: If we can bodily identify with objects and buildings, what kind of corporal knowledge do we acquire? Can we approach the urban landscape from this position with a different view, or rather a different ear, so that the differences and similarities between the two locations can be experienced? We are thinking of contemporary positions such as a flaneur in the form of (mass-) tourism, or the utilitarian user of the city, the accidental passer-by? And what is the influence of mobile technologies on this experience?


This masterclass is part of ‘reDesigning Affect Space’, an international design- theory, practice, and research project initiated by lead-researcher Eric Kluitenberg, which consists of a series of masterclasses and conferences in Berlin, Madrid, Rotterdam and The Hague. The project aims to develop a more differentiated design agenda for the increasingly dense connections between public space, mobile media, and wireless networks, and the shift to affective relations in public space that results from this densification.

binaural recordings of moving objects:
car recording
vorkheftruck recording
caterpillar recording
trolley recording


Essay reDesigning Affect Space (Open! Platform for Art, Culture & the Public Domain):

Workshop: Friday & Saturday February 2 & 3, 2018
Location: tba.
Panel discussion @ Transmediale: Sunday February 4, 13.30 – 15.00
Location: Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Workshop3 Workshop1 Workshop2

reDesigning Affect Space is generously supported by the Netherlands Creative Industries Fund.

Cool Mediators Foundation is transitioning

The Cool Mediators Foundation was created in 2009 to host public events and develop web based software tools for interactive discussions in the public domain about art, culture, politics and society.

The foundation is currently working on a new series of projects that investigate the relationship between media culture, art & design, and social and political urgencies. Cool Mediators acts as an organisational logistic unit and an editorial catalyst between public interest organisations and engaged citizens.

Our current project (2014-2016) is called Tactical Media Connections, a research trajectory that includes expert meetings, the editorial preparation of an international anthology on Tactical Media to be published by the MIT Press in the first half of 2018, the redesign and further extension of the Tactical Media Files online documentation platform, and a series of public events in the first half of 2017 in The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

For more information on this project series please check the Tactical Media Files blog and this article about the Tactical Media Connections research trajectory, while our website awaits its redesign.


Cool Mediators is an independent not for profit organization registered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and has been supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL, the Democracy and Media Foundation, the Digital Pioneers program, Knowledgeland foundation, and De Balie, centre for culture and politics in Amsterdam.

Cool Mediators Foundation