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Michael Rodemer


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A&D Professor

Professor Michael Rodemer spent the 2009-2010 academic year in Germany as a Fulbright Senior Scholar, teaching a course on interactive art each semester at the University of Siegen in the new Human-Computer Interaction graduate program and consulting on research projects in the Institute for Business Informatics and New Media. He may be reached at rodemer@umich.edu.
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~rodemer



Posts by Michael Rodemer

Berlin Blog 3

Berlin blog. Entry 3. June 5, 2011

There’s nothing like work to bring a person back down to earth.

Since the first Berlin blog entry, with its fantasies of a polychromed pate and an illustrated epidermis, I’ve been very busy: the workshop for a group of Gymnasium students was followed by preparation for an installation at the “Long Night of the Sciences” event on May 28th. Our host, the Helmholtz-Institut of Berlin-Wannsee, commissioned Berlin artist Franz John and me to make a piece related to their scientific focus, which includes materials and energy research. (They are not technologizing scientific discoveries, but doing fundamental science research.) A report on the event can be seen at my blog entry on the Über-Lebenskunst website. Franz John produced the layout, I wrote the text.

http://www.ueber-lebenskunst.org/contents/projectblog_view/262

Since the Long...

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Berlin blog 2

Berlin Blog 2            May 20, 2011

Twenty-two years later, it challenges belief that there could have been a long, high, heavily guarded wall that split this city in two, isolating both halves, in different ways.

 

I cross this line of stones every day; it’s between the apartment where I stay, and the S-Bahn (commuter train) stop Wilhelmsruh, which is the starting point for most of my travel within the city. (The plaque says, "Berlin Wall 1961 -- 1990.") Note that the Wall split the sidewalks and the street in two.

The Wall still exists in many ways: as a tourist attraction, yes, but also as a wound in the consciousness of millions of people, as the ghost of an injustice and affront to human dignity that is finally, forever gone. Subtle signs of the long separation of the two parts of the city are everywhere, if one knows what to look for. I’ll show some of...

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Berlin Blog 1

May 17, 2011

Barely 24 hours after getting off the plane at Tegel Airport in Berlin, I wanted a tattoo; the desire for tutti-frutti hair wasn’t long in following. 

 

Now, the urge to get a tattoo was just an atmospheric thing, and had nothing to do with the myriad posters in Kreuzberg, the hippiest-dippiest quarter of the city.

 

But now it’s been more than a week, and my epidermis is as yet unadorned, and the sparse protein strands on my top story are still bleakly grey, dreaming in vain of their chromatic transmogrification.

I’ve been busy (uh, has the semester ended yet?) teaching a workshop in a Berlin Gymnasium and preparing an artwork for the “Long Night of the Sciences,” on May 28, during which I’ll show a piece developed by Berlin artist Franz John and me, along with the projects my pupils from the Andreas-Gymnasium made. (Report with photos forthcoming).

 

Below,...

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Stone Carving: Part Five

Working Outside

Limestone blocks recycled from the Michigan Union have inspired a unique Art and Design class for the Winter 2011 semester. Under the guidance of Professor Michael Rodemer, the six students in this course are learning the stone carving process, from making clay models and forging their own tools to the techniques of carving and finishing limestone sculpture. The class, a unique opportunity for both philanthropy and learning, is intended to teach students more than just the techniques of stone carving: proceeds from the sale of the sculptures created will be used to give financial support to A&D students.

This post is by Michael Rodemer.

A warm day - let us work outside!

 

Eric peels off the stone, looking for the Möbius  form. Chip by chip, Courtney makes progress.

 

Having split the stone, Max takes a quick path to smoothing it.   Lindsay releasing a...

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Stone Carving: Part Four

Closing In

Limestone blocks recycled from the Michigan Union have inspired a unique Art and Design class for the Winter 2011 semester. Under the guidance of Professor Michael Rodemer, the six students in this course are learning the stone carving process, from making clay models and forging their own tools to the techniques of carving and finishing limestone sculpture. The class, a unique opportunity for both philanthropy and learning, is intended to teach students more than just the techniques of stone carving: proceeds from the sale of the sculptures created will be used to give financial support to A&D students.

This post is by Lindsay Balfour, a student in the Stone Carving class.

 

With less than a month left before the auction, our hands have never moved this fast. Many of us are still trying to work the kinks out of the limestone before the actual sculpturing process...

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Stone Carving: Part Three

Romancing the Stone

Limestone blocks recycled from the Michigan Union have inspired a unique Art and Design class for the Winter 2011 semester. Under the guidance of Professor Michael Rodemer, the six students in this course are learning the stone carving process, from making clay models and forging their own tools to the techniques of carving and finishing limestone sculpture. The class, a unique opportunity for both philanthropy and learning, is intended to teach students more than just the techniques of stone carving: proceeds from the sale of the sculptures created will be used to give financial support to A&D students.

This post is by Eric Harman, a student in the Stone Carving class.

 

With our sculpture designs set in stone so to speak, we continued our efforts to shape our rugged blocks. The progress is slow, small chips flying off with each hammer blow, it feels like one bicep...

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Stone Carving: Part Two

Start Chiseling!

Limestone blocks recycled from the Michigan Union have inspired a unique Art and Design class for the Winter 2011 semester. Under the guidance of Professor Michael Rodemer, the six students in this course are learning the stone carving process, from making clay models and forging their own tools to the techniques of carving and finishing limestone sculpture. The class, a unique opportunity for both philanthropy and learning, is intended to teach students more than just the techniques of stone carving: proceeds from the sale of the sculptures created will be used to give financial support to A&D students.

This post is by Courtney Harring, a student in the Stone Carving class.

 

Many of us are in the finishing stages or finished with our clay models and we are ready to start chiseling.

 

But before we can begin we needed to do a little mapping out on the stone...

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Stone Carving: Part One

Making the Tools

Limestone blocks recycled from the Michigan Union have inspired a unique Art and Design class for the Winter 2011 semester. Under the guidance of Professor Michael Rodemer, the six students in this course are learning the stone carving process, from making clay models and forging their own tools to the techniques of carving and finishing limestone sculpture. The class, a unique opportunity for both philanthropy and learning, is intended to teach students more than just the techniques of stone carving: proceeds from the sale of the sculptures created will be used to give financial support to A&D students.

This post is by Sean Watts, a student in the Stone Carving class.

 

This week we learned to forge stone carving tools out of steel.  Each student was tasked with making a set of tools for themselves. 

 

 

The process required intense heat and the students...

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A look around Bonn

The sun shone gloriously today, inviting one to go outside despite the never-ending cold.

The structure below juts up in the center of Bonn-Dottendorf, where we live. As mentioned in an earlier post, Dottendorf ("Dotten Village") got swallowed up as Bonn expanded. 

So, is it a castle?

No, it's a bunker! In many German cities these things were hastily erected as places of refuge after Allied bombs began to hail down with regularity. This is one of the less troglodytic-looking ones, since they tried to make it look like something else. I'll try to get some photos of other bunkers; there's at least one more in Bonn that I've seen. Most are too massive to dynamite, so have been made into various useful things, like places for heavy metal bands to rehearse. (Well, useful in a way....)

Some of the bunkers, usually in railyards, look like rocket nose cones, pointed...

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a blogger’s haiku

bloggers' pain...

so many keystrokes

sent into the lofty void

who is listening?
 

   C'mon, folks! Bloggers LIVE from comments! We haven't seen ANY here yet!

 


 

Update from Germany No. 3

The “Finissage” was this weekend, pretty good turnout. Peter and I got a couple more sculptures done beforehand, and cleaned the gallery, reducing all the visual clutter, scrubbing footprints off the floor, vacuuming tangerine peels out from behind the space heater, etc. The place was immaculate.


We made a two-part interactive sculpture using motors, two light sensors, and two microcontrollers; the idea was that there are two rotatable bridge-like parts – users can manipulate them via the sensors – sometimes, in just the right moment, the two spans line up and form the arc of a bridge structure. Opportunity knocks. Or it doesn’t.
 

The right moment
 

For the next image composite, either turn your computer 90 degrees, or your head, whichever is easier. The piece is by Peter J. M. Schneider, and bears the title “A difficult discussion.”



 

 



...

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Update from Germany No.2

The work on the bridges in Aachen is going slowly, but steadily, forward. Peter Schneider, the German artist with whom I’m doing the exhibition, is making a construction out of “Riesen-Bärenklau” (“giant bear claw” -- heracleum mantegazzianum) that you can see in some of the photos below. (This picture gives no idea of the size of these things – the stalk is as thick as your wrist in parts! The flower is nearly a foot across! And it feels lighter than styrofoam.) He’s building the arc of a bridge from each side: from one side with (very aggressive!) blackberry brambles, from the other with feathers that seem to float in air. (for more photos, see: http://www.pjmschneider.de/aktuelles.html and click on the dates at left to see pix.) 
 
 
photo by Peter Schneider
 
I’ve made a couple of meter-long bridges out of 5x5mm wooden sticks, triangulating them like the...
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Update from Germany

My present coordinates are:
Latitude 50.703237°
Longitude 7.111069°

If you put these numbers into Google Earth, you should see the top of the little urbanized village of ‘Dottendorf’ (engulfed long ago by the city of Bonn) in which we’ve found an apartment for the year that I’m here with a Fulbright Fellowship.

Rodemer: Studio

A fellowship like this means that multiple people and institutions are trusting you an enormous amount to do something productive. Alas, one can’t google an answer to the question of what to do. Consequently, I’ve been spending time in my attic studio thinking and trying things out; some of the first experiments are materializing.  I’ve been painting a good bit (no, I’m not really a painter, but it feels so good, and I LOVE the colors! )


Rodemer: Painting

And I’ve been tearing apart motorized model cars to give them behaviors using microcontrollers and...

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