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Projektmodul / Project Module
Unplugged - exploring the artistic potentials with Energy Harvesting
Instructor: Prof. Martin Hesselmeier
Credits: 18 ECTS, 16 SWS
Capacity: max. 16 students
Language: english, deutsch
Date: Plenum: Tuesdays, 09:15-12:30; Consultations by appointment
Location: Online/Marienstraße 7b,104
First Meeting: 18 April 2023, 09:15
(More information regarding the first meeting will be sent to accepted participants by email.)
BISON Course ID: 323120025


The project module deals with the topic of energy. This is necessary when something is set in motion, accelerated, lifted, heated or illuminated. It is explicitly about its extraction, storage and the experimental creative and artistic handling of it. Literally, if we consider natural resources, we are surrounded by energy.

Every mass around us, regardless of its form, has energy and everything that has energy vibrates. Energy harvesting is the collection and storage of small amounts of electrical energy from sources such as light, movement, heat and vibration. A topic that could not be more relevant. The focus is on discussing, questioning and discovering this technical development from a design and artistic point of view, rather than on its efficient use and conversion into electrical energy. We want to work on and realise this in an exemplary and prototypical way. The term in the seminar title - Unplugged: exploring the artistic potentials with Energy Harvesting - can be understood to mean all things, objects, items, modules, artefacts and installation works and their interfaces that deal with the topic of Energy Harvesting.

In this project module, there will be space for creative and artistic concepts and their implementation that deal with the omnipresent existence of potential energy in our everyday lives. Various energy potentials will be investigated and experimentally transformed into new forms of expression. In this way, projects can emerge that pursue very different approaches and take their own positions.

Following teaching formats are offered:

Lecture A lecture series is offered to accompany the Bachelor's and Master's projects of the professorship. This deals with different design and artistic positions and gives an insight into tools and methods for the conception and design of objects, artefacts and installative works and their interfaces, which deal with the topic of energy harvesting. In addition, we will receive visits from interesting designers and artists who will give an insight into their work and working processes. The language of the course will be English.

Workshop Ralf Schreiber will offer a three-day workshop to accompany the project module. “WILD WEAK ELECTRONICS“ minimal-energy concepts & underpowered electronic circuits

A workshop using only the weakest energy sources based on light, motion, electromagnetism and electrochemistry. By this I mean: tiny-solar-cells, electromagnetic waves, piezo-electronic, DIY potato batteries..

All these low energy sources are hardly usable for our everyday devices, because they need quite high, constant and stabilized currents for their reliable operation. Nevertheless, the study of low energy circuit design is rewarding because it reveals the primal, wild and chaotic nature of electricity.

In this hands-on workshop, we will craft and solder minimal electronic modules and electro-mechanical objects. These work with the weakest energy sources and create sounds or movements with a unique natural flow. Everything you build yourself can be combined with each other and thus invites you to experiment.

The workshop is also a basic introduction to analog and digital electronics. In addition to elementary oscillator and charging circuits, simple µ-controller circuits (based on Arduino) can also be built.

Consultation By appointment, the individual projects as well as one's own professional development can be discussed. At least 2 consultations should be attended.

Excursion To sharpen the view and to get further impulses for the development of the project, we will undertake an excursion over several days in June 2023. All students from the project module are invited to participate.

Admission requirements

Enrollment in MKG/MAD MFA or MediaArchitecture MSc programs, or with instructor permission.
Please attend of the accompanying modules in Interface Design
Physical Computing II: Energy Harvesting by Brian Larson Clark
Paper, Ink and Electronics by Clemens Wegener

Application and registration procedure

Registration via the BISON Portal

Please send a one-page letter (deutsch, english) of motivation outlining your interest in the course, as well as your level of knowledge and background to : martin.hesselmeier@uni-weimar.de

Eligible participants

MFA Medienkunst/-gestaltung, MFA Media Art and Design, MSc MediaArchitecture candidates

Syllabus (subject to change)

in-person: 09:15-12:30h, Marienstraße 7 B - Seminarroom 104
online: 09:15-12:30h, BigBlueButton

18.04.2023 in-person / Welcome, Introduction, Course Organization

26.04.2023 - 28.04.2023 Workshop by Ralf Schreiber, Marienstraße 7 B - Room 002
26.04.23 15h-19h
27.04.23 10h-16h
28.04.23 10h-16h

02.05.2023 in-person / Energy Harvesting I, Solar Power

09.05.2023 online / Energy Harvesting II, Movement and Vibrations

10.05.2023 online Time: 16h–17h / Artisttalk: Pascal Glissmann, Martina Höfflin

16.05.2023 in-person / Artisttalk: Lyoudmila Milanova

23.05.2023 online / Energy Harvesting III

30.05.2023 in person / Midterm Presentations

05.06.-09.06.2023 in-person / Excursion, Information: TBA

13.06.2023 self-study

20.06.2023 online / Project work

27.06.2023 in-person / Project work

04.07.2023 online / Project work

11.07.2023 in-person / Final Presentations

13.-16.07.2023 summaery 2023


  • Energy and Civilization: A History / Vaclav Smil 2018 Link
  • Solar Futures : how to design a post-fossil world with the sun / van Aubel, Marjan 2022 ISBN 9492852659
  • Advanced Energy Harvesting Technologies / Zhu, Dibin 2022 ISBN 9783036538297
  • Micro Energy Harvesting / Briand, Danick, Yeatman, Eric, Roundy, Shad 2015 ISBN 3527672931
  • Energy harvesting technologies / Priya, Shashank, Inman, Daniel J. [2009], © 2009 ISBN 9780387764641
  • A History of Solar Power Art and Design / By Alex Nathanson 2021 ISBN 9781003030683
  • Waves - the Art of the Electromagnetic Society / Hartware MedienKunstVerein 2008 ISBN 9780387764641
  • Vom Experiment zur Idee : die Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts im Zeichen von Wissenschaft und Technologie ; Analysen, Dokumente, Zukunftsperspektiven / Davis, Douglas 1975 ISBN 3770108116
  • The design of everyday things / Norman, Donald A. 1990 ISBN 0385267746
  • Uncanny Interfaces / Hg. Konstantin Daniel Haensch, Lara Nelke, Matthias Planitzer, 2019 ISBN 9783864852176
  • Parasitäre Strategien / Kunstforum, 185 Link
  • Joseph Weizenbaum / Die Macht der Computer und die Ohnmacht der Vernunft 1978 ISBN 3518278746
  • Jeff Johnson: Designing with the Mind in Mind / 2014
  • Gerhard M. Buurman / Total Interaction – Theory and Practice of a New Paradigm for the Design Disciplines 2005 ISBN 9780123750303

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