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Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity« - Image, Space, Material

Principal Investigator:
Research Team:
Nov 01, 2019 — Dec 31, 2025
Contact Person:
Prof. Dr. Claudia Müller-Birn
Matters of Activity Logo

Matters of Activity Logo
Image Credit: Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity. Image Space Material

Project partners

Project partners

The Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity« aims to create a basis for a new culture of materials. The central vision of the Cluster is to give meaning back to the analog in the age of the digital. The focus lies on the interdisciplinary development of sustainable, energy-efficient artifacts and technologies that reflect the inseparable linkage of active images, spaces, and materials.

In the Cluster of Excellence, the humanities, natural sciences, and design disciplines cooperate as equal partners. Experimental and design approaches are combined with historical analysis and form the basis from which practical and theoretical conclusions are drawn.

The HCC Research Group is particularly involved in the Cluster projects "Filtering" and "Cutting".

The project “Filtering” investigates filters using historical, experimental and computational approaches. With the advent of digital media, searching and filtering information on a large scale has become an essential cultural technique. At the same time, digital filtering processes are multilayered, dynamic, and ubiquitous, and hence increasingly impossible for humans to grasp. The HCC Research Group’s contribution to the project “Filtering” examines three main processes in corresponding use cases. In these use cases, opaque filtering processes within machine learning pipelines are investigated from a human-centered perspective. The HCC Research Group explores this topic with a focus on creating transparency and explainability in interactive intelligent systems that facilitate two-way communication between the machine learning model and the users’ (mental) model.

As part of the project "Cutting", the HCC Research Group contributes to the experimental research setting "Virtual Dissection", which is carried out in cooperation with the Charité. This setting aims to conceive a prototypical toolbox for experiencing anatomical information in extended virtual environments. The significance of the connection between image, space and material is particularly evident in the area of robot-assisted surgery. Here, the control of the instruments replaces the direct access to the body. Within this research setting, we investigate the resulting spatial separation, or rather decontextualization, and explore different forms of guided action (guidance) in the context of unpredictable situations. The HCC Research Group's focus, here, lies on the design of novel interaction concepts in the medical field by combining active images, spaces and materials.

Project partners


  • Interactive Machine Learning
  • Interpretability
  • Neo-analog Design Practice