MEDIAFLOW :BROWSER AAND INSTALLATION 2006
Thoughts in the flow, that's what the Media Flow Interface stands for. The entire content of an archive, here netzspannung.org, is visible at a glance. Parallel streams of images and words run along the projection screen. Images of projects and people pass by the viewer. They include titles, authors and keywords. Documents in the database are brought to life in a visual and acoustic sphere. A large touchscreen interface translates images and words into scrollable tapes ready to select. Related documents are visually linked to one another and are highlighted in color. Media Flow's visual and acoustic realm creates the impression of a walk-in data room. Static and passive quantities of information are set in motion by the motif of flow. They flow out of the archive as if around the visitor and take on a narrative position.
The formal structure of the Media Flow installation is reminiscent of Aby Warburg's art historical concept of a thinking space - his Mnemosyne Picture Atlas. In the 1920s, he developed his "Denkraum," a collection of photographs, documents, and texts arranged on panels, into a thinking space. These wooden panels were not meant to appear in a fixed order, but rather to continually evoke new insights through the arrangement and rearrangement of the documents. Instead of Warburg's variable image panels, the MediaFlow consists of streams of information that can be freely selected and rearranged.
Art historian Daniel Becker elaborates: “MediaFlow like Mnemosyne are correspondingly (…) fragmentary and therefore only the source or origin of a body of knowledge; the actual formation of knowledge arises through decisions in the interaction, reception or (re)configuration of the existing content by the user over the course or, or better, in the flow of time. Similar to Warburg, but algorithmically controlled, the fluid interface allows for arrangement and rearrangement, thus initiating a dialogue between viewer and content. This method explicitly allows for mind games, and so the digital archive becomes a space for thought movement. (…) “The work of Fleischmann and Strauss thus enriches the discourse around collections of knowledge, because here it is not about – like a classic archive search, which is connected with previous knowledge - about targeted searching, but about browsing and ?nding. This a?rmation of media-savvy sur?ng in the data pool of an online database is inscribed in a long history of concepts for storing, archiving and collecting data.”
The Media Flow interface is a visual search tool and research browser that provides a quick overview of the contents of the archive and direct access to individual documents. Through the openly visible creation of relationships between works, texts and lectures, a form of learning is practiced as thinking in contexts. Part of the Knowledge Archives exhibition at the Edith Russ House for Media Art in Oldenburg, Germany (2008) was to use the Media Flow interface for teaching and learning. Between the large installation screens were intimate research stations in the exhibition space, set up like workstations for archivists. Students visited the installation with their teachers to deepen their knowledge of contemporary media art and theory. They browsed the Media Flow, learned about comparative works, and gained insight into the media art they were discursively discovering.
The synopsis of overview, context, and detail allows for comprehensive orientation in the archive, combining classic keyword access with newer approaches of associative conceptual networks and visual search. Media Flow has been awarded the IF Communication Design Award 2007.