Malpractice Culture - click image for information
Malpractice Culture cycle 1

Malpractice Culture

T: INPUT – OUTPUT – FAILURE. Malpractice Culture
A: Staged Photography
D: 2006 - today

The acronym malpractice originally stood for euphemistic paraphrase of errors within the medical discipline. It was used at times where physicians (medical doctors) were still considered as impeccable. The recent years created many lawsuits and the human beings are put on machine technique. Input – Output – Failure. Just as humans were constantly comparing their bodies with machines during the Industrial Revolution, so are people misidentifying their bodies with computers in the new Information Revolution. The constructivist thinker and Viennese Heinz von Foerster explained that human beings do not behave like machines. Together with Warren McCulloch, Norbert Wiener, John von Neumann, and others, Heinz von Foerster was the designer of cybernetics. Von Foerster’s famous distinction between trivial (input-output) and non-trivial machines (input – not predictable output) is a starting point to recognize the complexity of contemporary belief in measurement.
Beautox for example eludes to the design of the perfect human body, especially woman are set under pressure.
The Trilogy Malpractice Culture engages with the possible errors that happen to human beings and how we can take different perspectives and how we may cope with it.

Mailboxes - click image for Information

L: Gallery Vienna Art Connection, 1130 Vienna, AUSTRIA
T: Loveletters
A: emails carefully transcribed on paper art works
D: 2001

2001 just 15 SMS could be saved on a smart phone. One had to separate soon of most beloved messages, where handwritten letters were substituted by short messages on smartphones. At the edge of this cultural change the artist revived the sentimental farewell of a cultural technology of handwritten letters. She transferred SMS into handwritten letters on handmade paper and designed graphics or little paintings on them.

Snapshots - click image for information
Snapshots of Design Patterns


L: Macy Gallery 525 WEST NY, Columbia University, NEW YORK, USA
T: Snapshots of Design Patterns
A: Photography
D: 11-12.4.2014

L: Kultur & Kommunikation: Designmuster für Interkulturelle Zusammenarbeit an Universitäten. Universitätenforum Alpbach (2012)
T: Mosaique des Vagantes
A: arts based Research
D: 22.8.2012

This project engaged with the questions of what symbols students use for their missing things, while studying in other countries. To identify the cultural semiotics we have to know our own frames and metaphors we live by (Johnson, Lakoff 2011). The earlier metaphor in diversity management were settings of  the “melting pot“ (assimilation, sameness). The identity metaphor or pattern, the “mosaic“ was used, where differences come together to create a whole organization. Each piece is acknowledged, accepted and has a place in the whole structure. The method to achieve equalities is not to deny individual inequalities but to extinguish individual inequalities derived through social organizations. Some believe that a certain inequality is ineluctable. Cross approval has to be negotiated and cannot be politically commanded. Autonomy means that we accept what we cannot understand and this shows true respect for human beings. Music is a good example: elements work in teams and exist in cross respect. Therefore the view on the identity of each element can be seen as the basic principle of diversity. The qualifications and competences of our students are becoming our central “raw material” and art & design take a different visual foci on problems in various settings of solutions. Our society is confronted with arising challenges of a society of people from disadvantaged, minority and migrant backgrounds as well as from culturally disadvantaged regions. Instead of counteracting tendencies to isolate or create parallel societies this lecture will analyze some case studies of our students at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, some best practice examples and problems in order to discuss design various solutions. It should be intensified that every person can meet his or her educational needs by ensuring the availability of adequately trained teachers as well as access to culture and the arts. Each individual supports with his or her experience and resources. Not only people speak different languages and derive from different cultures, also systems are part to debate a new literacy. What are the expectations, fears, prejudices, strategies of solutions, experiences of our students? Universities prepare the future employees and should support them in equal opportunity as possible. How is it possible to create a new common language for students, trainers, teachers? What kind of tools should be developed to support the process? What experiences can be used from similar sectors? What part art and design can take in these processes? The artist has been leading interviews with divers students and documented each question with one three dimensional object, “Snapshots of Design Patterns”.

Viennese Rumor - click image for information
Viennese Rumor
Viennese Rumor


L: MUSA (Museum auf Abruf) Vienna
T: Why lilac and concer will be expelled from Vienna? (Warum Flieder und Rosskastanie demnächst aus der
Bundeshauptstadt entfernt werden.)
E: eop ( VIENNART: Wiener Geru?cht
A: smell installation, space installation
D: 8.-15.10.2009

The artist and design researcher Ruth Mateus-Berr developed this art-work on olfactory patterns of identity of Vienna, biased on research results. She raises questions on the myriad of identities permeating the urban domain, the cultural norms and codes, mainstream clichés and lifestyles – and constructed prejudices, and how politics manipulate with medias. What represents Viennese identity? Which olfactory pattern is the original Viennese? She uses various cubes, which serve as hidden smell dispensors (sponsored by profumoverde), which distribute smells, which are associated with Vienna but represent exotic migrants, neophyts: For example Lilac: is the so called Turkish elderberry.

The artist researched most beloved olfactory plants by Viennese landscape architects: Lilac and concer, which are so called neophytes, biological immigrant population of plants from the east and Arabian countries. For the exhibition “Viennese rumor” by the artist group eop, she played with the scientific result of expert interviews (Lilac and Concer) and designed four smell installations: with lilac, concer with mossy forest impressions as well as a Viennese sausage stand and a Kebab stand. The smell impressions were readily perceptible and sometimes mingled within the exhibition hall. The installations were subtle installed within the hall and one was covered with paroles of the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party (“Austria should not become Istanbul”). WHY LILAC AND CONCER WILL BE EXPELLED FROM VIENNA? refers to a “rumor” of rising xenophobia in Austria, which consists of variety of Nations, and even concerning plants. Do they know? The exhibition was accompanied by “little dog signs”, which can be found in parks and green spaces in Vienna to remind dog keepers to pick up the dog shit, but with sayings “Fliedern bei Strafe verboten” (with images of blue lilac flowers) and “Weiterwursteln” (with images of a sausage with mustard), which are typical Viennese word-plays: Fladern means to steal and Fliedern is an invented word for Lilac and stealing. So it means: It is forbidden to steal Lilac, and weiterwursteln means muddling along, containing the Austrian word for Viennese sausage and synonymously dog shit. All in all the installation is an allusion to Viennese characters of dealing with serious problems.

Malpractice Culture 2
Malpractice Culture 2
Collaboration & Coffee & Zen - click for information
Collaboration & Coffee & Zen - click for information
Zen and Coffeehouse


L: MAK (Museum of Applied Arts Vienna)
T: Zen & Coffee
E: Essence/Angewandte
A: installation
D: 2008
G & students

The essence of the studies (WWTF) on haptic and olfactory design of coffeehouses in Vienna respresents a quarter from the original Zen garden in Japan. Austrian Coffeehouses invite to meditate and relax.

Socialdarwinism - click image for information
matter of distance
matter of distance

T: Numbers and Mismeasurement. Socialdarwinism and rascism of today. Zahlen und Vermessenheit.
E: EvoEvo. 200 Jahre Darwin 150 Jahre Evolutionstheorie. Zeitgenössische Beiträge aus Kunst und Wissenschaft. 200 years Darwin 150 years of
Evolutiontheory. Contemporary contributions from art and science, curated by. Ingeborg & Peter Braunsteiner.
A: staged photography
D: 4.9.-11.10.2009

T: Numbers and Mismeasurement. Socialdarwinism and rascism of today. Zahlen und Vermessenheit.
E: EvoEvo. 200 Jahre Darwin 150 Jahre Evolutionstheorie. Zeitgenössische Beiträge aus Kunst und Wissenschaft. 200 years Darwin 150 years of
Evolutiontheory. Contemporary contributions from art and science, curated by. Ingeborg & Peter Braunsteiner.
A: Performance
CoP: Dirk Huylebrouck/Sint LucasUniversity Gent/Brusseles
D: 11.10.2009

2009 was the “Darwin Year”. In Austria one only art exhibition (Künstlerhaus, Vienna) took place related to this topic. In her work of art MISMEASUREMENT, which was part of the show at Künstlerhaus, Ruth Mateus-Berr refers to Socialdarwinism, which was used as pseudoscientific justification for imperialism and rassism at the time of the Nationalsocialism, and which today represents an essential feature of right-wing radicalism. Socialdarwinism is a tendency within sociological theory, which transfers pricipals of biological evolutiontheory from Charles Darwin to societal relationships. Darwinism does not implement a certain political theory. But eugenicists and racists at the end of the 19 th century and at the beginning of the 20th century referred to the Theory of Evolution to kind of “proof” their demands scientifically. In Germany and Austria this attitude led against the right to life for people with psychological illnesses or genetic diseases, to avoid “genetic degeneration”. This position extended to mass murder, Euthanasia, not only of people described above, but also races, which were considered as inferior to justify genozid. At the same time the Nazis undertook the foundation of “Lebensborn”, a “breeding institution” for the Aryan Elite. Historians, bilogogists and medical doctors developed theories about skull shape, color of hair and eyes and differed in “good” and “bad” human beings, “worth living”, or “worth of extinction”. Hair samples, fingerprints, measurement inaccuracy, biological genetic measures, plaster masks and fotographs assisted pseudoscientifical argument and supported until now not reflected history of prejudices against strangers. The title MISMEASUREMENT therefore has a dual meaning: First it alludes to pseudoscientific technology of racistic scientists at the Nationalsocialism, who “measured” people according to their scale on “high grade” or “inferior” race, on the other hand the title means to be wrong or outrageous. In her photographies Austrian National team members (black colored) or a sport teacher (who was mistaken in Viennas subway with a drugdealer and was hit until disability) are posing with instruments of measurement and confront the viewer with measurement.

Sysipha - click image for information

SysiphA. A MYTH

1999L: Verein Begegnungen in Kärnten KRASTAL, CARINTHIA/AustriaT: SysiphA. A Myth E: Sommersymposium für Bildende KunstA: Objects, Paintings, InstallationsD: 1999G: Richard Frankenberger, Takashi Kondo, Elisabeth Melkonyan, Christiane Neckritz-Ranacher, Petra Suko, Heliane Wiesauer-Reiterer

Password Project - click image for information
Password Project
4 Layers of Sari - click image for information
4 Layers of Sari
4 Layers of Sari


L: 12. ELIA Biennal Conference Vienna, MQ
T: 4 Layers of Sari
A: Performance
D: 10.11.2012

2007 The artist received a contemporary art award for her project 4 layers of sari, which was developed further since then. Her students asked
her to co-laborate. Since 2012 they started to work on the topic: “4 layers of sari”, which is a scientific result of the microbiologist Rita Colwell and her team (Colwell 2003) to reduce 99% of the pathogens of cholera, the Vibrio Cholerae. The Lab covers a broad range of problem domains from pattern making to fashion for buildings with inflatable membranes. Recent experiments reveal new perspectives for fashion and, additionally, bring up educationally fruitful methods for working with mathematical topics using a creative base. Interim results are presented through performative lectures at international conferences. Art and design based research is biased scientifically and applied practically at once. Ruth Mateus-Berr aimed to develop beyond the work of fotography, a fashion brand, co-developed with fashion design students from Austria and abroad, dedicated to women from Bangladesh and sold by them via web. The project did not mean to advertise “4 Layers of Sari” in Bangladesh but to make a simple but great scientific finding known all over the world.
The artist is member of the water initiative of Uwe Laysiepen.

Generation conflicts_Lonelyness
Generation conflicts_Lonelyness
Cool City - click image for information
Cool City


L:  Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2013, F
T: COOL CITY VIENNA. Empathy for climate-Hangovers in a city
A: Staged Photography; Conceptual, Social Design
D: 14.3. - 31.3.2013

L: MAK (Museum of Applied Arts Vienna)
T: Cool City Vienna: Cool Design
A: implementable concept art, staged photography, installation, mixed media
E: Project Vienna: A Design Strategy. How to React to a City? MAK, Departure Call; Design Award MAKCo
P: Hashem Akbari & Architect Michael P. Schultes
D: 30.06. - 12.09.2010G

L: Galerie 18/Franz Morgenbesser/Vienna
T: 100 coolest cities. Global Cooling 1/100 Vienna, 2/100 New York.
A: implementable concept art, staged photography, installation, mixed media
D: 10.2. - 19.2.2010

Steven Chu, Minister of Energy at the cabinet of the US government Energieminister encouraged at a Symposium in London to paint streets, pavements and roofs white in order to counteract global warming.  This idea was biased on a research done by Prof. Hashem Akbari (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), one of the leading climate researcher of the USA, consultant for the EU. He calculated that each 20 m2 white or  COOL* designed horizontal surface in Vienna would provoke a reduction of 1 Ton of CO2 for this collaborational project. Aim should be to receive reflected radiation of 10%. If 100 big cities of the world would receive bright surfaces, the world would receive a time to breath and reduce CO2. The artist invited Hashem Akbari in this project. In this Soloexhibition divers artworks of Ruth Mateus-Berr were exhibited, so f.e. a big foto of New York, which siplayed the floor of the gallery that evening, with white painted surfaces, city parts of Vienna painted with reflecting coulour and a model of the City were the public was invited to paint the surfaces white, as well as tiny paintings of some of the biggest cities of the world, reminding to portudiese tiles, because the MIT already invented a reflecting tile for roof tops. The artist aimed, when continuing the project, to start a collaborational research project with Universities and Industries to develop colours and tiles, beyond the American market.

Santa Barbara - click for information
Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara

L: St. STEPHANS CATHEDRAL/Stephansdom/Vienna
A: smell/sound installation, pendulum, steel
CoP: Composer Rupert Huber
D: 4.12.2009

Foucault pendulum presented the Enlightment by a simple object to demonstrate the rotation of the earth. Ruth Mateus-Berr initiated four performances at St. Stephens Cathedral. The two penduli, designed by the artist were designed as smell and sound pendulums and the suspension of the vault complied with the original Foucault pendulum at the Pantheon in Paris (1851). The musician and composer Rupert Huber composed a piece for each performance and a different odour was set up, which represented divers cultural backgrounds, too. The penduli also reminded the artist to a pendulum clock and the transience of life (time) and smell (ephemeral character). These two penduli of different sizez were moved and also used from time to time as part of the composition. The two penduli synchoronized after a while and a sense of simultaneity was sensible.

ReMember Your Heart - click image for information
ReMember Your Heart
Remember Your Heart

ReMember your Heart

L: MUSA (Museum auf Abruf) Vienna, AUSTRIA
T: ReMember your Heart
E: eop ( Ausstellungsparcour
A: space installation, staged photography
D: 11.-12.10.2008

To empathise with one´s heart … the artist refers to Bruce Mau: ReMember your Heart. Heart means feeling, power, rhythm and life. When the heart stopps beating, one is dead. Our society changes similar to human organism. The social and societal organism is a system of non-terminable interdependence. Two important parameters of our increasingly risky zero defect strategy are our fast acceleration and the including anaesthesia of the senses. Information, lacking experience increases, meanwhile imagination, established through practical experience, is deprived of power. The object derives from a sectional medical drawing of the heart, has a volume of 2 meter and is designed by various materials and fillings. It allows tactile experience of the tissue, the object is understandable, tangible, “sittable”, and invites for changing perceptions.

Collaboration & Blind - click image for information
Collaboration & Blind
Collaboration & Blind

2011 PlayDecide for blind and elderly people (Science & Art)

Grant Funders: EU microFUND “brain doping”

TIME: 2011


How can we offer DECIDE for elderly people who are blind or can hardly see? This was a challenge we took on when word-of-mouth about our microFUND “brain doping” DECIDE series prompted the Austrian Association for Blind People to invite us for this very special target group.                                               
Ruth Mateus-Berr developed the Workshop for the blind and elderly people with haptic elements and conducted this workshop part.
Project Partners: University of Applied Arts Vienna (AT), Science Center Netzwerk (AT)
Project Lead: Science Center Netzwerk (AT)

Trance-it - click image for information


L: Senator Lounge, Airport Schwechat, Vienna, AUSTRIA
T: Trance-it
E: 2005
A: Performance, Photography
D: 09.2004-01.2005

Waiting in the transit-zone for somebody for something. What kind of expectations do we have concerning towards those arriving? Who are we waiting for? Ruth Mateus-Berr raises the question by her performance. Provoking different projections and expectations until there is a void.

Post your own message here