The waves hitting the Berlin Spree are fueled more and more by the rise and tide of digital technologies. Beyond startup pools, creative and design sectors of Berlin have upgraded to galleries, literature, and their tech has transformed into just that – a strong form. Multidisciplinary and interactive media churn applied art forms that unfold around the human eye, our personal footprints, and a meta-load of data to generate future dance steps onto the next social platform.
The co-founders Javier Soto and Moco Ziegler of NEEEU explain how tech has the ability to transport us into another reality: an augmented 360 XR experience. As you enter through the authentic UBahn doors, an immersive animation evolves alongside the audience, who are handed bananas controllers, an homage to the late Andy Warhol’s Factory, to navigate and unpeel through the different worlds of the network’s inner collective conscious. Located at the entrance of Factory Berlin Görlitzer Park, the interactive experience premiered at the Creative Code Launch earlier this summer and is now part of the on-boarding process for all members.
When People Ask What You Do, How Do You Respond?
MOCO: What I do is continually redefined and it has changed throughout my career. I really enjoy watching people’s strong emotions, observing them think – reflecting on their situation or their life. I like having an influence and change thought patterns through art. I was fortunate to grow up in a very creative environment where creating emotions was viewed as happy. My trick is to closely observe what people do in their everyday life and design them into a magical or wow moment.
JAVIER: I tell them that I focus on two core points. The first has to do with understanding people and what they enjoy and dream of. The second has related to design and technology. What I do is connect these two points through interactive installations designed to allow people to dream and have an immersive experience, where you can feel different after you leave.
“It's not unrealistic - just not realistic yet. You have to start it and starting is the difference. ”
What Do You Find The Most Interesting About Interaction Design?
JAVIER: I am fascinated by the human aspect of interaction design and the huge potential of technology to improve peoples’ lives. That sounds extreme, but there is a responsibility to understand this. And being aware of this responsibility improves our work every day. At NEEEU, we try to bring joy to people by influencing spaces and injecting them with a bit of wonder. Before beginning each project, we have to understand the aim of it and the hopes and fears of the people we’re working with.
How Do You Blend Technology With Art?
JAVIER: Cutting-edge technology is just a tool to create. Many of the old painters were technological innovators themselves, exploring and discovering techniques to deliver experiences.
MOCO: We constantly surround ourselves with passionate and fresh ideas – from there it all spirals. You find an extra energy that ultimately attracts the right talent for your project value to form a collective of talent, striving towards the same goals. It’s this forming of a consciousness within a community, gathering energy and harnessing it into something great together.
What Are Some Of Your Sources For Inspiration?
MOCO: Nature is a crazy big inspiration: shapes, colors, processes, tree structures – my favorite are nautilus cone shells. It’s sort of like Conway’s Game of Life. According to his rules, the colors of following generations are a direct configuration of patterns and properties. When translated this could be some LED pattern that covers an entire facade, similar to a lot of Islamic architecture.
“You have to change your environment and change the questions you're asking... and then all of a sudden you have a whole new world.”
What Is Your Favorite Interactive Design?
JAVIER: The mouse. It was developed in the late 70s, 80s. It may seem obvious now, but it’s just incredible. It’s a solution that has lasted through time despite the new technologies made available. It’s still the main way we interact with computers.
What Makes Interactive Design Truly Engaging?
JAVIER: Interaction design becomes truly engaging when it goes beyond visuals, and helps you transcend your current moment. Think about meditation, a heart-warming ceremony.
MOCO: Truly engaging art makes you reflect on your existence as a human being. Even if it enhances your life in the smallest way, you end up developing a relationship, and that’s what its been designed for: to be integrated into your life. This is different that immersing someone into a single experience, which is another form of engagement and its the difference between design and art. Physical contact has a very powerful interaction between people that is so intense. If you create that moment and put strangers in the dark, even more so.
As a motion perception installation that applies and reinterprets the modernization of network effects, its rays and colorful splices come to life within the curated community. NEEEU has combined their creative code sketches and intertwined the world of insane and profane through the new reality of a community and co-dynasty.
From their collective conscious comes inspiration, an inertia of empowerment, as the viewer transitions into the role of active collaborator while in the space. It is through this sense of autonomic agency and it’s emotive fuel that the magic engagement unfolds. The experience reminds us that understanding the motives and processes of creation are harvested from smart interactions, challenging us to make the first move and go for the fresh beacon.