Post-digital materiality in theory and praxis

Stones that calculate

On the occasion of the Climate Semester 2020 at FH Potsdam, we taught the course “Stones that calculate - materiality in the post-digital” for Master’s students of EMW and Design. The result of the students Till Rückwart, Annika Gassebner and Dario Iannone is the film “Can Dancing Change the Climate?”.

The website Stones, that calculate is a continuation of the course: a syllabus, a research framework, a course documentation and an experiment, as an alternative to the usual publication of a paper.

The site itself reflects the topic in its technical implementation: How can websites be resource-poor but still attractive? The site deliberately does without images, is delivered as a static page with minimal JavaScript, is optimised for a wide range of browser sizes, is designed with screen readers and people with limited vision in mind, and is printable. All source code for the page is also open-sourced on Github. So not only does the site try to be inclusive of many voices from different backgrounds in terms of content, but it also tries not to exclude anyone technically.

The site also functions as a map and does not give a clear reading direction. The interconnectedness of the subject matter is reflected in the cross-references within the page, which are differentiated from external links by colour coding. The archive view with search also functions as an access point that makes it easy for us as designers to add content.

The project was also presented at the New Materialist Informatics 2021 conference.