Media Installation

Course MD615 | Prof. Fetzner, Julien Schmid


A social organism is like an individual organism in these essential traits: that it grows; that while growing it becomes more complex; that while becoming more complex, its parts acquire increasing mutual dependence; that its life is immense in length compared with the lives of its component units; that in both cases there is increasing integration accompanied by increasing heterogeneity.
Herbert Spencer, Principles of Sociology (1876)

Media installations are no longer experimental set ups in artistic contexts but important factors in commercial contexts like trade fairs, show rooms etc. Concepts of tangible interfaces and ubiquitous computing are getting crucial channels in corporate communications.

Keywords: mediatecture, interactive media, exhibition design


One could ask why the use of media is so attractive to people. Why do we spend hours in front of computers and its so called "apps". Why can people get addicted by media?

One answer could be that media can be understood as a mediator between people and things that work through the physical experience of reality. Therefore intercorporal experiences* can become effective in medial processes, a feeling of closeness and physical relatedness through our whole body in which not just virtual places but real entities, places and objects get to play a supporting role.

Experienced places, formed social relations and the experience of one's own physicality are increasingly being witnessed through electronic interfaces. Thus the question of the construction of space and the nature of the body arises over and over again.   In the courses Media Installation and Interactive Design the physical experience and its produced knowledge of experience in relation to the use of electronic media shall be to the fore, which were formed throughout the events at Tahrir Square since the 25th of January 2011 in the center of Cairo. The location of Midan al Tahrir shall be discussed regarding its far-reaching symbolism, its history as a place of liberation, its medial appearance as a place of revolt and also its real physical state.

The construction of Tahrir Square as a key visual of the political upheaval began on the 25th of January 2011 through mass demonstrations and sieges. Simultaneously a new form of hyper-locality is built through the international television coverage and the intensive use of media applications such as Facebook, Twitter and mobile networks. Due to the five-day blockade of these channels people might have started looking for Tahrir Square, in order to realize the action for themselves and also to participate individually in the political process of liberation. In addition to the ubiquitous electronic media, the place itself, the objects like flags, tanks, the mobile phones, the barricades etc. act back to the people and have continued as an image in the consciousness. Thus it functions as a catalyst, the place is already symbolically charged in advance through its history as a place of change and its name. Medial phenomena of the above mentioned hyper-locality of the round square shall be described in various forms within the courses.

Therefore we will collect and work on the moods, vibrations and adaptions that take place around Tahrir Square. In the theoretical part of the seminars texts about the actor network theory by Bruno Latour will be read whereas in the practical part, students should describe how Tahrir Square oscillates as an inner-city intersection and roundabout between normality and the state of emergency and affects people's consciousness in the form of media installations. The best results will be presented at the symposium "Cairo Traces" in June 2011 in the form of interviews, photographs and media installations and discussed with expert speakers.

[1] the term "intercorporality" was introduced by the French philosopher and phenomenologist Merleau Ponty.

Course Outline Spring 2011

1 March 10 Introduction Media Installations and Sites * Discuss? around Marshall McLuhan "Media is an extension of our body"
* "Artists presentation" in groups of 2 (see names below)
2 March 24 Artists presentation Villa Invisible Presentation - Sara Sallam * Read about the Actor Network Theory and discuss? implications on the current Situation at Tahrir Square
* Study the project Ville Invisible
3 March 31
4 April 7 Artists presentation Harrald Kimmig, guest lecturer "composition, performance with space and sound"
5 April 14 Installations' concept presentation Harrald Kimmig, guest lecturer

6 April 21 ! course taking place on the Wednesday 20th! Installations' concept presentation Harrald Kimmig, guest lecturer

7 April 28 Artist presentations

(3 max, 2nd slot)

Group meetings (groups 1,3,6 - 30' meetings - 3rd+4th ) Please update the WIKI with group project ASAP!!!

8 May 5 Artist pres. 2 or 3 artist left

let yr colleagues know this is last day for these assignments!!!

Group meetings
gr.05 : 12h30
gr.10 : 13h00
gr.08 : 13h30
gr.02 : 14h00
gr.09 : 14h30
Yalla people time is running!

9 May 12 Activity week... but... Group meetings
gr.04 : 10h15
gr.07 : 10h45
gr.06 : 11h15
gr.?? : 11h45
gr.08 : 12h15

10 May 19 Group meetings with
Prof. Fetzner. Please arrange appointments
via eMAIL
Project outline and documentation on the wiki

11 May 26 Group meetings with
Prof. Fetzner. Please arrange appointments
via eMAIL

12 June 02 Last day of course before the final presentation.
Group meetings with
Julien Schmid. Please arrange appointments
via eMAIL

Learning Outcome, Competences

The class will work on installation projects in order to get an understanding about the complexity and challenges of this field. The interplay of media, space, time and user will be examined. Tools will be introduced to develop concepts and solutions for setting up site specific and appropriate media implementations with photography, video, sound and interactive tools.

Course weights

Report (Theoretical) 30%

Final Exam (Practical) 70%


Pre revolutionary mashrabya by Aicha Mansour and Hadeel El Raie
                                                     Mahitab Ayoub & Farah Fayez
                                                     Mariam El Tonsy, Mariam Tawfik, Nadine Amr
                                                     Frederic Fendrich, Yacoub Yassin & Sara Sallam 
                                                     Dina Kamal, Doha Salah, Salma El Mahdy
                                                     Mennat Kheireldin, Hend Bahey, Shahd Galal & Esmeralda Mahmoud
                                                     Hazem Mahmoud, Nadia Wernli & Shady Magdy
                                                     Ranin Ahmed, Reem Sami, Amira Khaled & Maidaa Ismail
                                                    Heba Sherif & Salma El Mahdy & Noha Ayoub 
                                                    Mohamed Sherif Aggag, Hesham Ashour & Mohamed Alaa
                                                    Mennah El-Atroush, Lana Mohamed Ali & Farida Hassan Bassiouni
                                                    Christopher Mankarious

Example Projects



->Tahrir Comparison Videos?

List of artists for short presentations

Vito Acconci, Doug Aitken, Marcel Duchamp, Dan Graham, Mona Hattoum, Gary Hill, Myron Krueger, Anthony McCall, Bruce Nauman, Tony Oursler, Nam June Paik, Pipilotti Rist, David Rockabye, Martha Rosler, Marie Sester, Kurt Schwitters, Steina and Woody Vasulka, Bill Viola

Mahitab — 10 March 2011, 06:48

Mona Hattoum by: Farah Fayez and Mahitab Ayoub

Sara Sallam — 10 March 2011, 08:29

Bill Viola by Noha Ayoub, Heba Mohsen and Sara Sallam

Nadia Wernli — 10 March 2011, 19:16

Doug Aitken by Nadia Wernli

Shahd Galal — 11 March 2011, 09:34

Theo Jansen by Shahd Galal and Christopher Mankarious

Lana Mohamed — 11 March 2011, 09:50

Gary Hill by Lana Mohamed and Mennah El-Atroush

Yacoub Yassin — 11 March 2011, 10:46

Marie Sester by Yacoub Yassin and Hazem Mahmoud Ali

Mennah El-Atroush — 11 March 2011, 15:49

correction* Anthony McCall by Mennah El-Atroush and Lana Mohamed Ali

Farida Bassiouni — 12 March 2011, 10:05

Kurt Schwitters by Farida Bassiouni and Mariam El Tonsy

Mariam Tarek Tawfik — 12 March 2011, 10:31

Martha Rosler by Nadine Amr and Mariam Tawfik.

Ranin Atteya — 13 March 2011, 12:29

Steina and Woody Vasulka by Ranin Ahmed , Amira Khaled and Reem Sami

Mennat-Allah Kheireldin — 14 March 2011, 08:57

Myron Krueger - Mennat-Allah Kheireldin, Esmeralda Mahmoud, Hend Bahey

Doha Salah — 15 March 2011, 07:49

Pipilotti Rist - Doha Salah -Dina Kamal

Mohamed Sherif — 27 March 2011, 10:00

Tony Oursler by Mohamed Sherif Aggag, Hesham Ashour

Short Presentations Table

Date Artist Student Info
24.03. Anthony McCall Mennah El-Atroush-Lana Mohamed Ali PDF1
24.03. Bill Viola Noha Ayoub-Heba Mohsen-Sara Sallam PDF2
24.03. Pipilotti Rist Doha Salah-Dina Kamal PDF3
24.03. Kurt Schwitters Farida Bassiouni-Mariam El Tonsy PDF4
24.03. Steina & Woody Vasulka Ranin Ahmed-Amira Khaled-Reem Sami
24.03. Myron Krueger Mennah Kheireldin-Esmeralda Mahmoud-Hend Bahey PDF6
24.03. Doug Aitken Nadia Wernli PDF7
24.03. Tony Oursler Mohamed Aggag , Mohamed Alaa , Hesham Ashour , Maidaa Ismail , Reem Sami PDF8