Ariel, you have worked on diverse projects around the topic of listening -either in urban or rather isolated natural surroundings. During your residency at Aalto University Helsinki for example, you constructed a complex public architecture in the centre of the city that could be experienced as a sculpture, but that was in fact built for entering and having intimate, self-reflexive conversations around the question, Why Do We Do the Things We Do?. During your time here at Platform 12, you constructed another conversation room which had a completely different shape, as well as a new concept behind. Can you tell me a bit more about your initial idea behind "Conversation Room" at Bosch and how if differs from your previous project in Finland?.
Considering the fact that the conversation partners normally work in very rational and production-oriented contexts, this setup must have been rather unusual for them. How did the people react to your invitation? Didn’t they first doubt or mistrust you when being introduced to "Conversation Room"?
It sounds like the "Conversation Room" attracted even those who had doubts about creating a conversation or relationship with the computer. Would you therefore say that the concept you had developed for this special context worked for everyone?
I remember you also told me that you felt like an "alien" sometimes. Interestingly, this description connects to Bosch’s description of the artists coming to Platform 12 as WimmelResearch-Fellows: they are often called "strange agents". Can you explain what this feeling of being like an »alien« or "strange agent" meant for you?
Can we get back to this word »strange«: if we read it as a description for something or someone (a person, a computer, nature etc.) that is different from what is known or familiar, your work often implies listening to "strangers". To understand this better, could you explain what listening means for you in your work and if you understand listening to these diverse »strangers« as the basis of connecting and, in the end, overcoming the existing alienness?
Thank you so much for your answers so far. Let me try to summarize this, and correct me if I’m wrong, please: maybe one could say that the idea to your conversational encounters starts with the curiosity or optimism that there is something in common, some connection between you and the other, even if you haven’t met or spoken before. Now, as a last question, I am wondering if you’ve developed specific techniques to enable this connection and familiarity that you’re speaking about or if you were inspired by any existing techniques – like person centered approach or nonviolent communication or anything else. Basically, I’m asking: how do you do the things you do?