Media Technology MSc

Workshop “Metamedial Swarms: The power of visualization in a complex world”

This workshop aims to use visualization to make the complexity that rules our planet come alive. Together with Taconis Stolk (ArtScience Interfaculty), environmenal science communicator Joost Vervoort (Wageningen University) and ecologist Diederik Keuskamp (Utrecht University), you will be exploring new forms of visual communication about the interactions between humans and nature. This workshop is open to students from MediaTechnology and ArtScience.


What is the truth behind the media screaming about polar bears drowning and conspiracy theories about the green lobby? The future of our planet is uncertain, and behind the media stories lies a complex reality. Because of this, communicating about our relationships with the natural world is a challenge. This challenge should not only speak to scientists, but especially to people who truly know the principles of communication, people who speak the language of the visual.

The goal of the opening lecture is to give students an intuitive sense of what complexity means for the natural world, why human systems are different, and the consequences of a deep interconnectedness between humans and nature. We will explore the future of our planet in this context. We will also investigate the problem of communicating this complexity, and how visual arts and design can be very powerful in overcoming the communication challenge and contribute to better societal understanding and positive action. Then, students are given an open assignment to visualize the basic sense, or concept, of complexity in human and natural systems in a way that is powerfully engaging.

After this first session, students work on their visualizations through their preferred medium. There will be a second session to evaluate and discuss ideas in development with the workshop scientists. In a final session, ArtScience and MediaTechnology students will present and discuss their work. After the final session, the communicatory power of the visualizations will be explored with different international audiences. The best projects will be proposed to be used in environmental science communication and education.


The workshop is open to all students registered at an institute of higher learning, anywhere. You can register by sending an e-mail to


No programming skills required bring your own laptop if possible

When and Where

Thursday, September 9, 13.30-17.30 in room 413 of the Snellius Building
Friday, October 15 11.00-16.00 at the KABK, Prinsessegracht 4, The Hague

Credits, Level, Grading

1 EC, level 400. Full attendance is required to obtain a grade! Grading is based on student participation in class and results of the homework assignment.


26 - 15 October 2010