Kjen Wilkens

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Sensor Poetics

What if we would use a weather ‘camera’ instead of a photo camera to capture and remember special moments?

Sensor Poetics proposes the idea of a fictional gadget and uses this as a scenario to pose questions about storytelling, data narratives, personal memories, our relation to weather and the possibility of a digital product long-tail.


OpenThings is a cloud platform for open source hard- and software such as the Arduino micro-
controller and the Processing programming language.

The goal of the project is to provide a platform to invent, design, prototype, connect and share networked devices. Through creating an open experimentation lab for an internet of things, I hope to enable a long-tail of internet connected devices that can talk to each other and possibly solve problems that are usually not commercially viable.

Art Center College of Design

While being a researcher in residence at Art Center, I led a research project on storytelling and sensor data with students from the Graduate Media Design Program and the product design department.

ARUP / World Economic Forum

For ARUP I designed and programmed a Web based data visualization that displays the connectedness of various topics and allows to explore a set of knowledge cards. The client was the World Economic Forum.

Microsoft Research

I worked with the Socio-Digital Systems Group at Microsoft Research Cambridge (UK) on a project about personal data and the use of data visualisation in domestic environments.

Fraunhofer MEVIS

At the Institute for Medical Image Computing I worked on redesigning the way 3D liver surgery planning data is viewed in the operating room.

The project went from analysing the context through ethnographic studies and designing gesture based interfaces to building a working software prototype in Java.

Kjen is an Interaction Designer & Technologist interested in future applications and implications of emerging technologies.

Kjen is currently working on commissions and research projects in Berlin and London. His previous experiences include founding a design consulting firm as well as working with various industry and research institutions such as Microsoft Research, the Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing, ARUP and Art Center College of Design.

He holds an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art (RCA), a BS in Digital Media / Computer Science from the University of Bremen as well as certificates in entrepreneurship and global leadership from the London School of Economics, Beijing University and Imperial College London.

Selected Awards & Exhibitions

2011 Research Residency, Art Center, Pasadena, CA, USA
2011 IN/CONCLUSIONS 2011, Art Center, Pasadena, CA, USA
2010 Royal College of Art Degree Show, London, UK
2009 Design London Fellowship to join MBA program at Imperial College, London, UK
2007 Visualizar Exhibition at Medialab Prado, Madrid, Spain
2004 Mediale Bildwelten Award
2003 Siemens Join Multimedia Award
2003 Mobile-U Contest (T-Mobile) runner-up
2003 Mediale Bildwelten Award
2002 Siemens Join Multimedia Award
2000 MakeMedia Award

Selected Talks & Participations

2010 Invited to Mediamatic Dev Camp (NL)
2010 Talk (Microsoft Research, Cambridge)
2010 Invited to THNK Lab (PICNIC ‘10 conf.)
2008 Researcher invitation to PICNIC Conference, NL
2007 Visualizar Workshop at Medialab Prado, Madrid, Spain
2007 European Summer School on Film Making, Eger, Hungary

Recent Press

2011 R Banks: The Future of Looking Back. Microsoft Press
2011 De:Bug Magazine: Issue 152 – Science Dreaming


Sensor Poetics Exploration. ACM TEI, Funchal Portugal. 2011

Wilkens K. 2009. Design, Futures, Interactions: An Exploration of Future Orientations in Design. Dissertation. Royal College of Art, London UK

Ritter, F. and Hansen, C. and Wilkens, K. and Köhn, A. and Peitgen H-O.2009. User Interfaces for Direct Interaction with 3D Planning Data in the Operating Room. I-COM: MCI im Operationssaal

Wilkens, K. 2008. Interaction Design for Intra-Operative Contexts. Bachelor Thesis. University of Bremen

Wilkens, K. and Blasco López, C. and Gürel, Y. and Pérez, V. 2007. A Collaboratively Produced Do-It-Yourself Newspaper. The Second Nordic Design Research Conference 2007, Stockholm Sweden

Thanks for stopping by.

Please don't hesitate to contact me, if you would like to talk about any of my projects, commissions or just chat. I'm always happy to get to know new people.

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