(MEET) Multimediatheater Education Environments
MEET is a model project undertaken as part of the BLK (Bund-Länder-Kommission für Bildungsplanung und Forschungsförderung) program "Cultural Education in the Media Age" (www.kubim.de).
The program includes 17 individual model projects from 12 German states. The aim of the program is to develop and test innovative models for creative and competent handling of new media technologies in the area of cultural education.
New media in schools are often used to teach technical, but not cultural, media competence. Among other things, this has to do with the fact that computers are almost always used solely as an interface to databases and/or the internet. The possibilities associated with the new media- including interpreting and selecting information, promoting complex interactions by and with groups, forming media clusters, and integrating our spatial sense of orientation - are scarcely exploited.
The MEET project provides a platform for interdisciplinary cooperation between people with technological, artistic and pedagogical experience. It documents the important role played by innovative media and cultural centers such as the Animax Multimediatheater in extracurricular and school education.
The Animax provides an infrastructural basis for our model project, allowing us to bring together artistic endeavor and the development of media tools.
Each "Educational Environment" is based around an installation created according to an artistic idea. The productions created in the Animax are made available to schools and other educational institutions in the region, mostly as part of a media education program. Visitors are asked about various aspects of the installations and about their own reactions.
The next step is the further development of media environments together with pedagogues. These are a sort of construction kit for the forms of design and reception that each environment embodies.
In addition to the further development together with young people and children in the Animax , the project also aims to promote the creation of media laboratories in partner institutions of the model project. In the school projects carried out there, young people practice the organization of media environments, including the design of media clusters, and learn to employ interfaces whose development began on the experimental media stage.
In 2000, three different installations were realized and presented. The installations could be called "immersive environments."
Machine" is an audio/video installation that resembles an
open book. Projection surfaces moved by motors, vibrating elements
in the floor of the square action area, and a four-channel sound system
transform the whole installation into a spaceship. The children -
up to six children can enter the "Story Machine" at once
- decide the destinations together. The children have to carry out
numerous tasks before they can return. All of these tasks have to
be mastered through group actions. The spontaneous development of
cooperative strategies is the most important factor. The understanding
of roles in a social context is promoted by the way a rotating system
decides who takes over responsibility for virtual agents as helpers
or the job of pilot.
Other abilities are demanded by "Space Drum." Three players - for example, breakdancers - on an action area produce sounds by "touching" segments of the room: a "group instrument" that even satisfies the demands of percussionists through the use of high-speed cameras as an interface. Graphic elements/buttons on a floor projection mark the position of the segments; there are also buttons for a picture and sound recorder.
collaboration with the Bonn Music School, this installation tested
a pedagogical concept involving fixed presets for aural training,
basic rhythmic exercises and ensemble playing.
"Camera Musica" is concerned with the exploration of a spatially constructed composition. This is spread over a considerable area, but is nonetheless not experienceable in the real world: the musical parts of the composition are distributed around the room, lodged behind transparent walls. The walls can, however, be effortlessly flown through by the navigating visitor. "Camera Musica" is an immersive virtual environment, realized using the "Cave" technique. The common characteristic of immersive environments is that an exploration of a completely different sort of space takes place in them. They are an audio-visual "stage" that can be structured both spatially and temporally, where models/abstractions of a world are represented virtually in three dimensions and explored interactively through the "immersion" of the body. (click for more)