Wenzel Mehnert
Research Assistant for “Building better Worlds”
Fachbereich D: Audiovisuelle Kommunikation

Vita

After studying social and business communication, Wenzel Mehnert has been working as a research assistant at the Berlin University of the Arts since 2016. He works in the department for time-based media at the professorship of Prof. Ingen-Housz and researches, writes and teaches experimental methods of future studies at the intersection of science and art. His PhD is on “The practice of speculation in literature, design and foresight”.

In his research and teaching, Wenzel Mehnert focuses on the intersection between Speculative Fictions (e.g. Science-Fiction Literature, Speculative Design, Design Fictions, Speculative Performances) and the assessment of New and Emerging Science and Technologies (e.g. A.I., SynBio, Internet of Things, etc.).

In a eclectic movement he combines disciplines like Science and Technology Studies (STS), Critical Future Studies (CFS) or Technological-Vision Assessment with creative practices of Worlbuilding, the deliberate process of creating a coherent Storyworld, and philosophical approaches to Speculative Thinking and Possible World Theory to reflect upon current future images. Therefore, his interest towards Futures is not a predictive one. Instead of looking into the future  he is interested in looking at the present futures, meaning the current assumptions of the future – where they come from and how they can be reshaped through narrative means.

During his studies, Wenzel Mehnert ethnograpically explored the world of record lovers in his B.A. and analysed current assumptions about the future within the framework of his master’s thesis. In addition, he dealt with the structures of the new music market, developed participatory strategies for sustainable urban development, and critically examined heterodox conspiracy theories in an exhibition at the UdK.

Appointments:

Mondays, please contact me via mail.


Current Classes

  • [Designing Post-Athropocene worlds]
    in cooperation with Gosia Warrink-
  • [Playing God – For better or worse] in cooperation with Dr. Bernhard Kegel
  • [Forgotten Futures]
  • [Performative Storytelling]

Previous Classes

  • [Visions and Values in Design & Technology]
    in cooperation with Prof. Sabine Ammon (TU Berlin)
  • [Doing Design Fiction]
  • [Dreamscapes Of Modernity]
    in cooperation with Tom Kolombe
  • [Otherworldlessness]
    in cooperation with Prof. Stephan Porombka
  • [Things to come]
  • [Future Bodies] in cooperation with Gudrun Herrbold & Işıl Eğrikavuk
  • [Speculative Futures Club]
  • [Visual Research]
  • [Media research yesterday and tomorrow]
  • [Media Format Workshop] in cooperation with tov Spiekermann
  • [Software classes]

Talks, Projects and Publications

Rethinking Futures (2020)
Organising a workshop at the Futures Conference 2020 in Helsinki – canceled due to Corona.
With Nele Fischer.

Futureworld Cafe (2020)
Invited as a speaker on the Meta Marathon event in Düsseldorf – canceled due to Corona.

A.I. against Extinction II (2020)
At the re:publica 2020 in Berlin – canceled due to Corona.
With Bernd Hopfengärner

Prototyping Sociotechnical Systems through Worldbuilding
At the “Cybioses | Prototyping Futures” symposium in Berlin, organised by the Nordic Summer University.
With Nele Fischer.

What desert smells like? (2020)
At the Hybrid Talks XXXIX – “Speculation” in Berlin.

Worldbuilding & Speculative Fiction (2020)
At the Speculative Futures Meetup Berlin.

A.I. against Extinction I (2019)
At the Blackmarket of Knowledge in Dresden.
With Bernd Hopfengärner

Speculative Performances (2019)
At the Future Slam at the FU-Berlin.

A Plea for Speculative Thinking (2018)
At the Solarpunk Festival in Berlin, Germany.

Speculative Foresight (2018)
At the Huddle of the Mastercourse Future Studies at the FU-Berlin.

Objects of Uncertainty (2018)
At the Drone Dancing Festival in Stockholm, Sweden.

Business Science-Fictionalized (2017)
At the Re:Publica in Berlin, Germany.
With Joachim Haupt.


Projects

Berlin Ethics Lab (2020)
A forum for the ethical development of A.I. In cooperation with the Technical University, lead by Prof. Dr. Sabine Ammon.

Shape of Things to Come (2019)
Exploring the future of A.I. through performance art. A project by Replica.
Funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung.

Fictional panel discussion: Let Nature Rule (2018)
A fictional talk at the Bits & Bäume Conference in Berlin, Germany.
Developed by N O R M A L S.

Objects of Uncertainty (2018)
A Speculative Design piece about Smart everyday Objects and the Internet of Things.
For the Drone Dancing Festival in Stockholm, Sweden.
With Rosa Berndt, Julia Daher, Leyla Sünnenwold & Rosa Zumbusch.


Publications

Fischer, N., Mehnert, W. (2020). Building Possible Worlds. To be published.

Mehnert, W. (2019). Dystopische Möglichkeitsräume — Near Future Science Fiction als Schnittstelle zu möglichen Zukünften. In K. D. Haensch, L. Nelke, & M. Planitzer (Hrsg.), Unheimliche Schnittstellen / Uncanny Interfaces. Textem Verlag Hamburg. Hamburg: textem Verlag.

Kolombe, T., & Mehnert, W. (2019). What Desert Smell’s Like. Self-Published anthology of Sci-Fi Short-Stories developed at the University of the Arts.

Haupt, J., & Mehnert, W. (2017). Business Model Futures. In M. Heidingsfelder, S. Kaiser, K. Kimpel, & M. Schraudner (Hrsg.), Shaping Future. Stuttgart: Frauenhofer Verlag.