Boris Müller

Interface & Interaction Design





The Forest of Thoughts

Medium: Shockwave
Year: 2000
Client: Die ZEIT
Team: Boris Müller, Sven Voelker

The Forest of Thoughts was a constantly changing and self-developing art-space - a living exhibition - on the internet. It was initiated by Boris Müller and Sven Voelker in collaboration with the german weekly Die Zeit.

Fifteen personalities from different creative disciplines exhibited their work, ideas and positions in this public gallery (and discussion panel) that was explored by viewers through the internet. By constantly sending in their contributions during a six week period, the artists, writers, designers, theorists, etc. developed a number of conversations about (and along) the theme. The medium of the internet allowed everyone to show their individual positions and to respond to other artists at any time and from any place in the world. The contributors included Fiona Raby, Tony Dunne, John Warwicker, Karl Hoffmann, FAT,, N55, Marcus Gosling, Michael Saup and others.

The different artists and designers placed their contributions as a response to a previous contribution within a grid of the four themes: Body/Pleasure/Audience/Reality. These seeds were the starting and reference points within the forest, they were extended audiovisually through the conversations.

The contributors sent in their works in different media like image, film, text, sound, etc. Although it was the aim of the project to show the “conversations” amongst them, some followed their own lines and by doing so, they are giving the visitor an insight in their individual process of work.

With the Forest project we wanted to explore new, cheap and fast forms of exhibiting works of art and design despite their technical or cultural backgrounds. Further we were trying to find out how a common media platform would enable different creative people to share ideas and thoughts. We were also looking for an exhibition format that would allow a rather complex and chaotic number of exhibits to be visited by an audience, curated by curators and created by artists at the same time.

The Forest of Thoughts is a network of texts, images and sounds. Every contribution is a reply or reaction to a previous one.

We collaborated with Die ZEIT as mediapartner in order to reach an audience in very different age groups but with a relative openess for cultural and technological issues. Further we wanted to address the creative contributors themselves to test the “Forest” as a tool for exploring new forms of creative processes.

One of the most interesting aspects about the development of the Forest of Thoughts, was that the creation of the content was live. Every day during the six weeks, the Forest of Thoughts was growing a bit further, new submissions were added, new lines of conversations appeared. So the remote users could watch, how the Forest evolved.

The Forest of Thoughts received an Excellence Award at the 4th ACA Media Arts Festival 2001 in Japan and was exhibited at the Museum for Photography, Tokyo. The jury’s comment was: “This site is a skillfully interconnected renka (a song-like poem) of stills, videos, sound and text.”