The Technological Sublime II - Platform for Art + Technologie

FK, Freie Kunst, Digital Media Master + Bachelor / WS 2017/18
Time: Mo 14-18h / Room: 2.11.090

First Meeting: 16.10.2017 14h

The platform for Art and Technology offers a forum for discussing current technological developments, sociocultural implications of new technologies and conducting experiments “with” or “about” new technologies.

The course continues a research that started in the last winter semester (WS 2016) with “The Technological Sublime” but is open and welcoming new participants from the Fine Art Program and the Digital Media Program.

The sublime (german: das Erhabene) is an aesthetic method established 2000 years ago. Today it is primarily associated with the european romantic movement in the late 19th century as an reaction to the industrial revolution and the scientific rationalisation of nature. On an aesthetic level the main characteristics of the sublime is its overwhelming power and beauty and its evocation of awe and fear on the other hand.

In the 20th century the sublime shifted from natural to technological environments. In this course we want to take a close look at the ambiguous quality of the sublime in the context of new technologies. We can witness a technological sublime different scales:

First we experience the power of the technological sublime locally in old and new media technology. For example in cinema, where enormous screens and audio systems, produce an intense immersive environment. There is a tendency in contemporary entertainment industry, as well as in the new media art world that tries to generate the biggest possible contrast of technology to the human scale.

Second as a world spanning network of information technology that offers on one side an enormous potential for the exchange of knowledge and personal freedom, otherwise it also produces unease and fear of governmental and corporate control.

In the era of converging technologies, it is technology itself that gains a confounding character in its battle with nature.

Twenty-first century man has been denied the choice to not be technological.

Possible research topics:

  • technological infrastructures and networks
  • hyperobjects
  • surveillance
  • artificial intelligence
  • etc.

Possible questions:

  • What is the aesthetic principle of todays technology?
  • Can we simulate the nature?
  • Does nature still exists (anthropocene).
  • What happens if technologie becomes too human (uncanny valley)?
  • Rational vs. magical thinking?
  • What could dark technology mean?
  • Imersion
  • Can we make technology transparent?
  • Do we need an alternative aesthetic approache?
  • Do we need a new philosophy (a new way of understanding the world and our relation to it)?
  • Green technology (cheating?) vs dark technology (honest?)



  • Henry David Thoreau
  • E T A hoffmann

Timothy Morton: Dark Ecology

The ecological thought does, indeed, consist in the ramifications of the “truly wonderful fact” of the mesh. All life forms are the mesh, and so are all the dead ones, as are their habitats, which are also made up of living and nonliving beings. We know even more now about how life forms have shaped Earth (think of oil, of oxygen—the first climate change cataclysm). We drive around using crushed dinosaur parts. Iron is mostly a by-product of bacterial metabolism. So is oxygen. Mountains can be made of shells and fossilized bacteria. Death and the mesh go together in another sense, too, because natural selection implies extinction.


  • 16.10.2017
  • 23.10.2017
  • 30.10.2017 Georg Trogemann - Computability / Introduction to DM
  • 06.11.2017 – cancelled –
  • 13.11.2017 – cancelled –
  • 20.11.2017
  • 27.11.2017
  • 29.11.2017 18h Martin Howse at Salon Digital (performance/lecture) link
  • 04.12.2017
  • 11.12.2017
  • 13.12.2017 18h Daniel Rourke at Salon Digital (lecture) link
  • 18.12.2017
  • 25.12.2017 – vacation –
  • 01.01.2018 – vacation –
  • 08.01.2018
  • 15.01.2018
  • 22.01.2018
  • 29.01.2018
  • 05.02.2018

* General Information for attending my couses