Precise Ambiguities is a collection of self-critical Denkwerkzeuge (tools of thought).

As we model and understand reality with and through tools of thought they organise our capability to think and act. By their design they enable certain behaviours, structures and imaginations while making others impossible. In thinking about the complexities of today we carefully have to consider the conditions and blind spots of our instruments of thought.

This might be especially true for our digital tools as more and more of our experiences become computationally mediated. In their need for exactness and definite states they might tend to produce technically convenient abstractions of reality while at the same time the complexity of our lived experiences more than ever asks for models that allow to include and embody ambiguities, contradictions and multiple qualities of perception.

Precise Ambiguities circles around this opposition of order and disorder. The project consists of a number of metaphorical artifacts trying to reflect on our ability to relate to the world and its phenomena through the tools we create. As long as they work as expected our instruments usually remain unconscious and unquestioned. By irritations in their form or behaviour the project tries to shift the focus to the unmarked limits and conceptions of our tools of thought. At its best they are vehicles for thinking itself, trying to render speculative forms visible and imaginable.

Vage (Vague) is literally a water level. The common carpenters tool is altered in its materiality, seemingly made liquid. It becomes a metaphorical tool that is able to adapt itself instead of serving to adjust something to a linear order.

Skala (Scale) superimposes the dials of found common rulers to render visible the fuzziness of their minor variations. Merged together they form a new irritational tool. The effort of an exact measurement becomes a reflection on the condition of measuring itself. It tries to oppose the doubtful illusion of precision with the precise display of doubt.

A-normal is common office paper that questions its own format. It reflects on the omnipresence of one of the most ordinary paper formats – A4 – and with it the domestication of thinking and creation by standardized tools. It dissolves the norm in a multiplicity of different formats. By that it tries to keep visible the possibility of another normality in the design of the tool itself.
Semantic Camera

Semantic Camera with its lexical coded lenses seems to filter the perception of reality by semantic categories. It exhibits the tendency of digital technology to moderate our experiences by means of algorithms. Thus producing coded images and synthetic versions of reality on which more and more of our decisions and judgements are based on. As they are programmed our digital tools carry certain models of the world while hiding their categories behind a black box design. As a strange artifact Semantic Camera reflects the role of our digital tools in mediating our understanding and view of the world.

Irregler (Irregular Controller) is a series of fictional sliders known from computer interfaces. By searching for alternative models of this conventional interface element they evoke the imagination of unusual forms of interactions and data structures behind them. Data that might be ambivalent, indefinite, individual or chaotic. The silly behaviour each Irregler presents tries to provoke the logic of our digital tools.

Tick (Tic) tries to embed the notion of uselessness, extravagance and non-intentionality in programmed environments. The parasite application augments the interaction with your personal computer with arbitrary curly moves of your mouse cursor from time to time. The efficiency and accuracy of the machine is slightly infiltrated by generated quirk. Although beeing totally programmed itself it asks for how easily we allow for exceptions or irregularities in an increasingly programmed reality.

Download Tick 1.0 (Mac OS only)

Exhibition as part of the presentation of the diploma thesis at the gallery of the Berlin University of the Arts in December 2012.
A project by
Moritz Greiner-Petter

Diploma thesis in Visual Communication at the Berlin University of the Arts, winter semester 2012/13.

A selection of related projects and theory I assambled during the process is found on a blog that I continue to update:

Thanks to Isabell Kronenberger for some of the pictures of the exhibition.


© Moritz Greiner-Petter.
All rights reserved.