de-othering machine


De-Othering Machine from Stefanie Wuschitz


Untitled from  Stefanie Wuschitz 

coop KunstRaum Goethestrasse xtd

11.11.2011, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Berlin (DE), Krakow (PL), Wels (AT), Vienna (AT)
Linz (AT) – location on map


The De-Othering Machine is a pretty special video conference platform. Communicating with one another at a distance is possible; seeing each other while it's going on, however, isn't. Instead, the participants—unemployed young men and women from Linz, Wels, Vienna and Krakow—can control animated images of animals. In fact, they can do so with their own facial expressions. These proxies known as avatars make it possible for them to meet and experience each other anonymously in a cross-border network that gets beyond typical prejudices. People in Linz who are interested in this can try it out at KunstRaum Goethestraße xtd.

With support from Project Suburbs – Academy of Fine Arts Kraków (PL)

Concept for a project supported by the
︎︎︎ Exchange Radical Moments Festival

The De-Othering machine is a device, a coercive structure or microstructure, that acts to channel basic human capacities: perceiving the other, reacting to the other and relating to the other.

At the same time it leaves space for tactical fantasies, creative projections and productive misconceptions of who the other might be. The De-Othering machine is a temporary online communication platform with a self-organizing dimension. Urban spaces in two different cities will get connected through two projection screens that display abstracted animal characters. Each character can get synchronized and controlled by one user. This way a passerby can start controlling an animated character, speak in order to give the character a voice, move in order to trigger the character's movements.

It is open to the user if he/she wants to go along with the role suggested by the animation or simply engage in a conversation while encounting a person in a different city. Since the two animated characters on the two screens in two different cities mask the real faces of it's users, each encounter opens the possibility to new behavioral practices, 'silly' games and experiments. In disguise, the two people communicating can choose to either improvise a new persona to enact their character or find out more about the person at the other end of the installation.

Technical realization:


*Animation : Processing (
*Face Recognition : Open CV (

An animated video conferencing platform


PHILIPP LAMMER (programming)

A digital interface invites young people from suburbs in Linz, Vienna and Krakow to get in touch with each other.

The "De-Othering Machine" is a video conference platform that enables communication over a distance but does not allow the interlocutors to see each other. Instead, the participants can control animated animal figures (avatars) and experience and get to know each other through these anonymous figures in digital space. The avatars are controlled by facial expressions. The playful and creative use of their own animated character enables the participants to find out more about the people behind the other animal avatars that are also involved. The interlocutors from Vienna, Kraków and Linz are randomly thrown together.

The multi-player game addresses questions about online identity. The young people have the opportunity to exchange ideas and deconstruct prejudices using the “De-Othering Machine”. New, transnational networks can emerge.

The target group are young people of all genders who are interested in digital media and are looking for an apprenticeship. In all cities (Vienna, Linz and Kraków) interested parties are first invited to a workshop. Cooperation partners are: Spacelab (Vienna Favorites), the association production school (Linz) and a youth center in Kraków. The workshops deal with questions of proximity and distance in digital space. Video tracking is being experimented with, the basics of the programming language Java are taught and the use of the "De-Othering Machine" is entrusted to the young people.

The project is made possible by the EU project Exchange Radical Moments and the EU project Suburbs.

De-Othering Machine – Workshop in Vienna
Video documentation (3 min.)
Vienna "Spacelab" on July 18, 2011
Linz "Workbox" on July 25, 2011


Aug 03, 2011


Stefanie  Wuschitz