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The New Real: Past, Present and Future of Computation and the Ecologization of Cultural Techniques

NOMIS Project 2021

— 2024

In the 21st century, the cultural technique of computation has turned into a multilayered digital infrastructure that gives rise to an agential environment of our lifeworld. Thus, a new elemental space, the “technosphere,” is formed, in which elemental and technological media become recursively coupled to each other and produce so-called “medianatures.” Climate is a prominent example for these medianatures. Climate change but also the nature of the new media objects that we deal with in our algorithmitized lifeworlds represent a challenge to our understanding of “what is real.”

The New Real: Past, Present and Future of Computation and the Ecologization of Cultural Techniques project reacts to this challenge by attempting to define a third way beyond the traditional dualism of realism versus constructivism. To achieve this, the project aims to develop a new conceptualization of cultural techniques, based on the conviction that it is time to ecologize the concept of cultural techniques, on the one hand, and to technologize the concept of ecology, on the other. What is real is no longer what is “objectively” given. But The New Real is also not just epistemically or socially constructed. The project explores therefore an ontology by which everything that concerns us–as living beings, as social beings, as scientifically and politically acting individuals–becomes climate-like.

To achieve this, the project involves the collaboration of scholars from the computer sciences, life sciences, media studies, and philosophy. Subprojects address HCI (human-computer interfaces) as ecologies; the question of how the rise of the IoT (Internet of Things) transforms the mode of existence of “lifeworldly” objects; the question of how code becomes ontology in synthetic biology and bioengineering; and how the algorithmization of the cultural technique of filters plays an essential part in the environmentalization of media.

The New Real: Past, Present and Future of Computation and the Ecologization of Cultural Techniques is being led by Bernhard Siegert, professor for the history and theory of cultural techniques at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (Germany).

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NOMIS Researcher(s)

Gerd Bucerius Professor for the History and Theory of Cultural Techniques
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
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