Technical Environments

Dr. Baruch Gottlieb
Technical Environments

Seminar, English/Deutsch, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Thursdays, 14-18 h, bi-weekly, 8 dates: 17.10., 28.11., 5.12., 12.12., 19.12.2019, 16.1., 30.1., 6.2.2020, Hardenbergstr. 33, room 110

“When Sputnik went around the planet in 1957 the earth became enclosed in a man-made environment and became thereby an "art" form.” (p.22)
“For the first time the natural world was completely enclosed in a man-made container. At the moment that the earth went inside this new artefact, Nature ended and Ecology was born. "Ecological" thinking became inevitable as soon as the planet moved up into the status of a work of art.” (p.4) – Marshall McLuhan from “McLuhan Unbound”, Ginkgo Press, 2005, Corte Madera, USA.

Ecology was born through technical knowledge. We have no knowledge of nature except through technology. Technology conditions our understanding of our needs and the prospects for their fulfilment. In the citations above, Marshall McLuhan indicates that our understanding of the affordances for life on the planet, what we call „ecology“ itself is a technical product generated through information we acquire through technological apparatus. These devices come to be with time “second nature“ we treat the knowledge we acquire through them to be akin to that we acquire through our unaided senses, but thinkers like McLuhan, Vilém Flusser and recently Donna Haraway, Anna Tsing, Stacy Alaimo, Bruno Latour and many others  warn us that they have a different philosophical status we must attend to.

Marshall McLuhan called it „Environment“, Vilém Flusser called it „Apparatus“, Michel Foucault called it „Dispositif“, Karl Marx might have called it „Organic Composition“. In this seminar we will examine the epistemological challenges we confront in addressing phenomena such as „anthropogenic climate change“ and "instrumental knowledge", by methodically examining the material basis of the data we are depending on to inform our social and political prospects.
We will read together, watch videos, listen to sounds, analyse media art, draft, sketch, write, present projects and engage.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credit: regular and active participation, one short, one longer presentation.

Ausrichtung der Veranstaltung: kritisch, vorwärtsgewandt
Kompetenz/Aktivität der Teilnehmenden: reflektieren/denken, transformieren

Baruch Gottlieb, trained as a filmmaker at Concordia University Montreal, he has a doctorate in digital aesthetics from the University of Arts Berlin. From 2005-2008 he was professor of Media Art at Yonsei University Graduate School for Communication and Arts in Seoul, Korea. He is active member of the Telekommunisten, Arts & Economic Group and laboratoire de déberlinisation artist collectives. Author of “Gratitude for Technology” (Atropos Press, 2009), “A Political Economy of the Smallest Things” (Atropos Press, 2016), and “Digital Materialism” (Emerald Group Publishing, 2018) he currently lectures in philosophy of digital art at the University of Arts Berlin and in cybernetic aesthetics at the TU Cottbus and is curator/researcher in residence at West Den Haag, The Hague. More information on