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“Come talk to me” – When Art meets Digitalisation

The Mayor of Bern as a hologram? In addition to Alec von Graffenried, around 70 people participated in the participatory video installation “Come, talk to me” by the artist Frantiček Klossners. The sculpture is being presented today at the BFH Wirtschaft summer festival. It deals with digitalisation in a playful and philosophical way BFH Wirtschaft is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and is also using the anniversary activities as a communication platform. As an internal measure, the department launched a participatory project that takes up the expectations and wishes for the repositioning and depicts them in the form of a work of art. The internationally recognised media artist and lecturer at the Bern University of the Arts, Frantiček Klossner, could be won for the project. His artistic work revolves around existential questions. The human image of the present is the focus of his works. Dialogue and participation are central components of his art.

70 voices on the digital future

An art project as an internal communication measure? The initial scepticism was followed by willingness and curiosity to follow the artist’s instructions. All employees were invited to give their personal expectations and wishes for the future of BFH Wirtschaft in a video statement. These filmed statements are part of an interactive video installation in the form of a sculptural seated figure that has been given a permanent place in the entrance area to the auditorium. It is waiting to be addressed in order to provide a variety of answers in an unconventional way to questions about the future of education and the influence of digitalisation on society. How does digitalisation change the way we think and act? What is education and how does it unfold? How do we shape our future? What do we expect from the BFH economy? The interactive video sculpture can be “addressed” via a microphone. Anyone who brings their voice into play will be surprised with multi-faceted answers. With each voice appeal, the sculpture begins to speak again. The entire video library comprises 77 different statements. The video recordings were made with staff, students and alumni of the BFH Business School as well as prominent representatives from politics, business and culture. We meet, among others, the Director of Economic Affairs of the Canton of Bern, Christoph Ammann, the Mayor of Bern, Alec von Graffenried, and Germany’s best-known freelance philosopher and best-selling author Rebekka Reinhard. With their incisive statements, they lend their voices to the sculpture and many inspired faces to the future.


About the project

The project was created as part of the anniversary “50 years of the BFH Department of Economics” and shows the department’s path into a digital future. Participants in alphabetical order: Benjamin Adriaensen, Christoph Ammann (Director of Economic Affairs of the Canton of Bern), Daniela Ambühl, Rébecca Baumann, Herbert Binggeli (Rector of Bern University of Applied Sciences), Nathalie Bourquenoud (Die Mobiliar), Manuel Fischer, Malika Garchi, Ruth Gilgen (external project management 50 years BFH-W), Alec von Graffenried (Mayor of Bern), Andrea Gurtner, Anja Habegger, Alexander Hunziker, Ingrid Kissling-Näf, Anna Knutti, Nino Müller, Alessia Neuroni, Claus Noppeney, Eric Postler, Alberto Rascon, Rebekka Reinhard (philosopher), Simon Schneeberger, Lynn Scholtes, Carole Schwarzenbach, David Seav, Ilja Steiner, Claudia Vogel, David Wiedmer, Bruno Wymann. Project management: Daniela Ambühl, BFH Department of Economics Artistic concept and realisation: Frantiček Klossner Camera: Tom Bernhard, Recycled TV AG for Film and Television Post-production: Adrian Perez, Project Axel Foley GmbH Software Engineering: Daniel Schwab, Substring GmbH 3D Modelling: Sven Zürcher, Peter Gaffuri AG 3D CNC Foam Carving: Thierry Ingold, Form AG


About the artist

Frantiček Klossner lives in Bern and works with video art, installation, performance, photo art, drawing and visual poetry. In his cross-disciplinary work, he deals with existential questions and focuses on the human image of the present. In video installations such as “Come, talk to me” and performative sculptures, Klossner uses the human body to depict the processes of psychological individuation and social interdependencies. He negotiates political and social issues in his aesthetic poetic works, engaging the audience in a direct dialogue. More information on his work can be found here.

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How digitalisation is changing the buying process

Thanks to the internet, consumers can now find out about products more easily and buy online as well as in traditional shops. An SNSF-funded study by the BFH Business Administration investigates how digital offers influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. In conversation with BFH researcher Lilian Laub.

Lilian Laub, research assistant at the Institute Innovation and Entrepeneurship

What do you focus on in the study ? At our institute, we deal with the changes in companies due to digitalisation. So it made sense to also investigate the changing buying behaviour of consumers. With the emergence of e-commerce, not only are more goods more easily accessible to the masses, but also the entire purchasing process has become more heterogeneous. We can inform ourselves about a product online before making a purchase, compare prices and then buy it in a shop or vice versa: we get advice in the shop and then buy online. In addition, there is the growing importance of ratings and reviews by online customers, which can also influence purchasing decisions. How do you study the buying process or the buying decision? We are investigating how digitalisation in the form of eCommerce and traditional purchasing processes influence today’s purchasing decisions. To do this, we are analysing the purchasing decisions of 90 test persons. Within four weeks, they receive two orders in which they are supposed to inform themselves about products with the intention of buying them later. In one of the assignments, they are allowed to use digital tools such as apps, forums and platforms. For the other assignment, however, they are only allowed to do traditional research, i.e. among friends and acquaintances, in newspapers, magazines, advertising brochures and in shops. They document their research in a real-time diary using WhatsApp. This gives us researchers the opportunity to ask questions directly and immediately. The test persons go through the entire decision-making process without pulling out their wallets at the end. So that it is not redundant for the test persons, we clarify in advance with a questionnaire which products would come into question for them. We evaluate the answers qualitatively. What is special about your study? The survey method is “new”, you can communicate with different means and pictures, texts, emojis and voice messages are allowed – the test persons have a lot of freedom in documenting their activities. This enables us not only to follow the structural course of the purchase decision process, but also to explore the influence of cognitive and emotional aspects – for example, when people feel overwhelmed or pleased. After completion of the study, the results will be presented at a symposium next year. This will give test persons and researchers the opportunity to exchange information about the results and to develop further research approaches. How long has the project been running? The project has been running for 18 months since December 2018 and is funded by the SNSF. Our goal is to complete the survey phase by the end of summer. Which group of test persons are you interested in? Basically, anyone aged 16 and over, or anyone who has WhatsApp, some time and may even be interested in how their own decision-making process works. So far, mainly interested people under 30 have registered, so we are mainly still looking for participants over 40. Interested people can register here and give their email address, then they will receive more detailed information from us. We also offer a small monetary compensation.


About the person

Lilian Laub is a research assistant at the Institute Innovation and Entrepeneurship at the Department of Economics at Bern University of Applied Sciences. Her research interests focus on digitalisation and sustainability.

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