Art.CHI 2017

Interactive Media Works

A CHI2017 Exhibition

The Multiple Lives of Walter B.

A Biographical Exploration

Hartmut Koenitz

Walter Benjamin is one of the most intriguing characters of the 20th century. His lasting contribution to art and media theory, his lucid essays, his published exchanges with contemporary intellectuals like Adorno, Kracauer, and others, are enough to make Benjamin interesting. However, his life story is also full of excitement and mystery, from his university days to the tragic suicide that is still surrounded by unanswered questions to this day. The project uses this material for an interactive exploration of decisions and consequences, while simultaneously exploring Benjamin's era and contemporaries.

The work allows participants to explore how a number of interrelated decisions change a character's biography. The participants engage with the piece by physically interacting with objects and locations. Inspired by motives from the life of media theorist and philosopher Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), the work is simultaneously an exploration of history.


Visualization of the physical installation. It features a number of small objects, a suitcase, a map drawn on the floor, and a projector.


Hartmut Koenitz
Assistant Professor, University of Georgia
Hartmut's research interests are at the intersection of art, society and technology, with a focus on new forms of narrative expression in video games and other digitally mediated forms as well as serious games and physical computing. His artistic work is a critical technical practice, which allows him to explore how to present choices to an audience as participants and allow them to explore different the consequences through replay.