Interview with Maria Bürger:

 

You are a »Newcomer« Finalist at the German Design Award 2022. What does this award mean for you and your work?

 

For me, this distinction means that I can expand my horizons vis-a-vis the role and responsibility of design in today’s context. I’m really looking forward to the dialogue to come and new impetus, which will surely inspire my creative work.

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) plays an important role in your work. What fascinates you about this technology?

 

I’m interested in examining interactions at the interface between people and machines – both in an emotional and technical context. On the one hand, AI offers the potential to use technology as a tool in the design process. On the other hand, its development brings about a change that will have an effect on our social and, by extension, emotional coexistence. This area of conflict fascinates me.

 

Which projects of yours are particularly close to your heart and why?

 

The project »paradigm shift« is very close to my heart because I was able to work in a very interdisciplinary fashion. Together with a game designer, sound engineer, actress and actor, I was able to develop an experience that recounts the dialogue between a person and a virtual assistant system. Throughout the story, the influence that the assistant confers upon the person varies. In this way, control can turn into manipulation and power into powerlessness.

 

You are committed to initiatives like »Art Meets Education« and »Digital Peace Talks«. What exactly do these initiative stand for?

 

»Art Meets Education« is committed to helping children in the Philippines. Photos made by Filipino children in their day-to-day lives are sold in Germany to finance their education. »Digital Peace Talks« seeks to offer people a discussion platform in the digital sphere where controversial opinions can be exchange while maintaining a respectful dialogue.