Mara Weber | BA Interaction Design | HS 20 | Zurich University of the Arts


Session 01
What is the Action?
Sweet Dreams


//01 What made an impact on your life?

People! It sounds cheesy but it is the truth. People with all their ideas and different perspectives, unique ways to live and failing. People from everywhere with amazing skills and personality. I learned from the people from my studies (the old and the new ones), from my co-workers in my internship which came from everywhere, from my friends and family who have nothing to do with design and still are so creative. It's the people, it will always be the people...

//02 What impact did I made?

It's hard how easy I can think of what made an impact on myself, but are not sure on what I had an impact. Hopefully I made an impact on the people I've met, as much as they had on me. Talking with them, about my vision of the world, how it should be, but never will. Being a friend, an aunt, a designer. Being a partner in crime. It's not much, but maybe enough for somebody. Maybe enough to rethink established ways and get to know something new which will changes their lives, or at least their day.

//03 Act up

Trough out my studies we always talked about a solution, we bring the ultimate solution to that problem. But maybe it really isn't so much about the solution, than more about a contribution you can make to solve a bigger issue. Same is with awareness, most of the time the awareness was already raised. What happens after that? What can we do?
These Act up activism played a big part in empowering themselves. Getting the knowledge and stand for the convictions. The word conviction is very interesting for me, because I would consider myself as somebody who tries to include all opinions, but that's the thing with opinions, everybody have different. So how far can you go? What are you willing to risk? To support your standpoint. A question I stumble over again and again. How far does conviction justify your actions (der Zweck heiligt die Mittel)?


Session 02
In Formation


//01 Context

This poster was made from my father who was in his 20s around that time and shows a plastic ammunition which was shot against the protesters. Translation of the text: Sculpter, Cultural contribution of the city police of Zurich.
It was made in the time of the youth riots in Zurich. The demonstrations, which lasted two years, began with the city of Zurich's commitment of 60 million francs to renovate the opera house in May 1980. Back then Zurch was a very sleepy and elite city. For longer the youth (mostly from the creative) fighted for a more open and active scene. The harder it hit them that so much money was given to the opera house, which was reserved there even more than today for the rich. The first demonstration was unplanned and chaotic. Several young people met at the opera house. The police were prepared and standed in formation. At the same time, several people who were attending a Bob Marley concert at the Hallenstadion joined in. The situation escalated. The gathering ended in violence. This was the starting point. Again and again there were riots, most of which ended violently. And once again the question arises how far you can go for your convictions. Very popular was the activist action of "Mr. and Mrs. Müller". Invited by swiss television, two representatives of the youth movement met the police president and the city chairman. Instead of presenting and defending their arguments as expected, the two decided on an act. They exaggerated the opinions of their opponents, leaving them speechless.

//02 Why I took that...

I thought it would be nice to take a riot which really changed the world and was known for that. In the end I liked the idea of a demonstration which shaped the city i live in today and my parents took part in. I spoke a lot about this time with my father who was a young designer at that time. It was interesting to hear history I've already read about from him who really experienced it. And all the elements I saw while watching the clips in the last session, played part in here as well. The playful activism, organizations, gatherings, violents, endurance. He told me how he got angry because friends of him jumped on cars at an actually peaceful concert. The question how far one may go. But he is sure in the end the 2 years of fighting changed the city, shaped it, made it to what it is today. And that is pretty impressive.

//03 Where I started...

Just three parts that shaped my life and got me to this exact moment. That is a taff one.
01. I would say failure is one of them. And I have to admit I didn’t often failed. It’s something I know I have to learn and at the same time I can already tell the few times I failed, changed my life to the better. Excepting this as part of life, will make so many things easier. And at the same time it is an enormous incentive to become better.
02. Growing up with an unconventional and artistic father get me two the second part: creativity. He was my role model, since I was a child. There was never a moment in which he was not crafting, screwing or painting something. He never came to our school events, but he produced many stories and fairy tales with us on audio recordings. He never stood up in the morning so we could ate breakfast together but he worked all night on the craziest ghost railroads in our basement. He was never the dad with the white shirt and briefcase, he always smoked and had color on the hands. The creativity I learned from him, stays with me forever and is decisive for many of my decisions.
03. And the last one is probably about learning, not learning the classical way in books (of course this is also very helpful, but not really my thing), more about learning from people. I was always very curious about the people around me, where they coming from, what they doing, what they wish for, what they regret. And one day I started to ask them. And since then never stopped. It’s just so fascinating for me hearing what they experienced and what they saw or what they want do see some day. It just shaped the way of how I am thinking and defensively influences me as the person I am today.


Session 03
Positioning in writing
Hugo Ball


//01 Context

«Dada ist eine neue Kunstrichtung. Das kann man daran erkennen, dass bisher niemand etwas davon wusste und morgen ganz Zürich davon reden wird.»/«Dada is a new art form. This can be seen in the fact that no one knew anything about it until now, and tomorrow all of Zurich will be talking about it». With these words begins the "First Dadaist Manifesto" by Hugo Ball, which he presented in Zurich on July 14, 1916.
In that time the First World War raged almost all over Europe. There was little room for art. Many artists and intellectuals therefore went to Zurich in neutral Switzerland, where they could create so-called exile art. At that time, Zurich was the epicenter of the European avant-garde. It was there that Hugo Ball and his wife opened the Voltaire artists' tavern in 1916.
Dadaists protested in their own way - with nonsense, wit and irony - against the inhumanity and cruelty of war. They were looking for an art that would heal and liberate people from the madness of the time. With Hugo Ball's first lecture of «Verse ohne Worte»/«Verses without Words», they also created the performance art that later became the foundation of surrealism and today's slam poetry. The Dadaists caused a sensation in Zurich with their non-conformist art and crazy actions. They liked to publish false reports in daily newspapers, or ripped open the doors of taverns, shouted "Dada!" and then quickly disappeared again.

//02 Why I took that...

I know I am 6 years late, but I found this Manifesto (1916) so contemporary and Dadaism so fascinating that I had to take it anyway. Again, it is a very local event that I have chosen. But apart from a few individuals, the artists were anything but local, they came from everywhere. Their creativity with which they tried to fight against the cruelty of the time I find fascinating and wonderfully entertaining. With a lot of comedy and wit they took on a crisis that was the pure opposite. I find the manifesto but also the movement as such still relevant today, because they rebelled against norms and protested with abstruse actions. Sure, the implementation would be a little different today, but especially now, when insecurity and injustice reigns again, I find humor and sophistication the best weapon.

//04 Who am I?

I am a human. A woman. The youngest of three daughters. What ever that means. I am a friend, hopefully, or at least I try. I am a girlfriend. i am supportive, a listener. I try to make other happy, sometimes to hard, sometimes even if I am not. I give my best to be understanding, even if I don’t like their opinions. I am funny, because to laugh is easier, then being sad. But I am also jealous, even if I give my best not to be. I am crying, if I watch Forrest Gump. I am angry, but mostly about myself.

//05 What is my ambitious as a designer?

I want to try out new things. I am not an almighty hero and probably are not a genius that can solve world problems. But I like the playfulness. I want to experience and achieve new thing that maybe are helpful for others. Funny implementation, to make people marvel. Maybe another gimmick or gadget, just for fun and without greater propose, is not needed… But I don’t want that my work life will take so much of myself with expectation i could never reach. I want to try out new things. Make things with and for people, talk with them. That would be nice. Trying new tools, methods, programs. I am not sure if I see working as my life goal. For me being a Designer is just a small part of who I am and I am not defining myself though it. I want to find something to work which I like but not taking too much of me. Not sure if I will earn enough money with that… But I want to try out…

//06 Pick a topic of interest, what can you say about this, that no one ever heard befor?

I don’t even really know what I am interested in, so it is hard for me to answer that question properly.
I am interested in contraceptives, in the sense of why are there birth control pills for women but not for men? Is there a research going on in that field? Why not? What does the pill really do to your body? How can you show what’s going on? How save you are at the moment? We just trust that it works, and of course it works, but how can I see that on my body? Why do women have to pay for it and it’s not part of the health insurance?
I am interested in that but didn’t really dig deep into the topic yet.
Another topic is about a guideline for social media, sounds very vague and big, and that is it. I just saw „social dilemma“ on Netflix and as a take away I saw, there are rules missing. Rules on how much the organisation can manipulate people, on how they should treat our data, on how to deal with inappropriate content (what is inappropriate content?). This kind of stuff, I think the awareness it’s already there, maybe for some more than others. But I would find it interesting on picking one thing in this system (like sharing picture, chat function, audio messages, ect.) and design a way on how every social media have to use this tool in order to „protect“ the users.
Probably this was also already discussed…


Free Flow Retreat
Atelierhäuser am Waldrand


//01 What I was thinking...

Let's start with the book review. Choosing 3 books I didn't know and had never read before turned out to be more difficult than I thought. I wandered around the library, strolled from shelf to shelf and picked up countless books. Why I chose exactly these 3 in the end I can't say for sure, maybe it was the title, the pictures, the content that fascinated me more than the others, or maybe I just wanted to go home after 2 hours of straying around.
The more enthusiastic I was about the meeting the next day. Our group talked for a long time about books we had never read, we digress from the topic, came back and deepened our conversation. One book followed the next, always matching the discussion we had before. In the end, books about the "Needle Park" in Zurich were combined with a tiny meditation book, a connections that we did not know existed. Not very conducive to limiting a bachelor topic, on the contrary, quite horizon widening. But I did enjoy discussing topics freely, even if only superficially.
As a general and roughly all around conclusion. It was a great time, but has not yet produced a specific topic for the Bachelor. I talked to Luke for a long time about an idea that I found interesting at first, but the more I told others about it the more stupid and boring it seemed to me. In the end, I just repeated the same concept over and over again, not actively iterating and developing it further with someone else. So I was afraid to focus too much on something that I might not want to do in the end. In this moment it was very clear to me that I would like to do a group work and that the partner is almost more important than the project. Since I am still very open-minded and I think I can get enthusiastic about many topics, a reliable partner is more important to me.
What I have to mention is, the location was awesome! and the food was very inspiring. With the animals and the forest in front of the house, a beautiful place was created to collect thoughts and let them wander.