Léa Perraudin Former Research Fellow

Léa Perraudin
November 2019 - January 2020


Léa Perraudin is a media culture scholar. After studying Cultural Anthropology, Philosophy and Media Culture Analysis in Frankfurt am Main and Düsseldorf, she graduated in 2019 from the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for Humanities Cologne at the University of Cologne. Her PhD-thesis is titled "Playful, Entangled, Messy: Encountering Mediality in the Technosphere" and brings forward a theoretical framework for the multiple (in-)tangibilities of the Anthropocene from a media studies perspective. She has worked as researcher at the Institute of Media Culture and Theatre at the University of Cologne. Previously, she was a researcher at the Center for Media Studies and Research on Modernity (MeMo) at the University of Cologne from 2014-2019 and additionally lecturer for reflexive writing at the Münster School of Design, University of Applied Sciences Münster (project "Wandel bewegt", 2012-2017 funding through the Teaching Quality Pact of the BMBF). In 2016, she was a Visiting Scholar in New Media at the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM), University of California, Berkeley where she focused on the interface of technological infrastructure and media-elemental aesthetics. Her research is interested in the fluid, the ephemeral, the granular – in theory, concept and aesthetic – and addresses reflexive resp. diffractive practices of perception and knowledge.
Dated from 2020

Fields of Research

media theory
media ecologies
process philosophy
aesthetic and theory of the Anthropocene
experimental cultures in media, art and design
theories of play and playfulness
practices of writing and reflection

IKKM Research Project

Evaporate | Obfuscate. Phase Transitions of Media

Contemporary media cultures embody a substantial yet paradox dynamic: Contrary to the assumption of connectivity constantly progressing in media saturated environments, concrete practices are to be found which – in their own way – oppose the techno-capitalist imperative of the network. They are doing so by evading connections, by vanishing from sight or by leaving behind misleading traces in/of their respective (infra-)structures. Ranging from tasks such as opt-out or unsubscribe to emerging media applications (e.g. blocking apps or ephemeral messaging) and widespread social phenomena as digital detox, digital decluttering various media practices signal ambivalence towards the promise of connectivity.
The metaphor of the fluid medium, of its flow and diaphanous nature has become the preferred notion to refer to the logic of digital networks (such as streams, torrents, surfing). Extending the elemental metaphor to the aforementioned practices, the conceptual pair evaporate | obfuscate comes into view. Proceeding from the assumption that the phase transition from liquid to gas indicates emergence and decay of the substances involved, evaporation and obfuscation offer a media philosophical access to the lines of flight of globalized networks. This implies two things for contemporary media practices:
Every recording, transmission and experience of media is an essentially ephemeral phenomenon that addresses questions of accessibility, materiality and obsolescence. In this sense, media as objects of research face conceptual challenges. Additionally, the differentiation of digital platforms involves a growing interest in transitory content and emphasizes the ephemeral as media principle beyond a mere epiphenomenon. The 'ephemeralnet' thus evolves as signum of a cultural technique that rejects accumulation and storage of data in favor of deleting, disappearing, evading – in short: evaporation – as new default. The net becomes a site of operative amnesia.
The skepticism towards the algorithmic background noise of any operation of the network calls into question the critical-reflexive method of obfuscation (Brunton/Nissenbaum 2015), which generates ambivalence through permanent and arbitrary accumulation of information. Borrowed from software engineering, obfuscation characterizes targeted modification of a program and thus impedes access to the source code. For experimental-aesthetic practices in the sense of an infiltration of intended modes of attribution and identification, this means scattering, excess, camouflage – in short: obfuscation. In the midst of the excessive generation of 'data nebula', the demanded data set loses its informational value through such anonymizing activity. The net becomes subject of an operational rampancy.
Evaporating and obfuscating media practices engage in transgressing moments of intimacy and distance, participation and privation, persistence and ephemerality, inside and outside, dispersal and excess and reveal the open-endedness of their simultaneities.

Selected Publications

Perraudin, Léa. "Digging Deep – Mud as Medium. Playful Encounters with the Soil." In Playful Participatory Practices – Theoretical and Methodological Reflection, eds. Pablo Abend, Benjamin Beil, Vanessa Ossa, Johanna Steindorf. Wiesbaden: Springer (forthcoming).

Perraudin, Léa. “Jeder Tropfen zählt. Elementar-mediale Begegnungen im Milieu des Rain Room (rAndom International, 2012).“ In: Medienobservationen, Special Issue “Spürtechniken. Von der Wahrnehmung der Natur zur Natur als Medium”, eds. Birgit Schneider, Evi Zemanek (forthcoming).

Perraudin, Léa. 2019. "Capturing the Ephemeral. Experimental interfaces and Snapchat as messy modes of interaction in the Technosphere." In Technobilder: Medialität, Multimodalität und Materialität in der Technosphäre, eds. Lars Grabbe, Patrick Rupert-Kruse, Norbert M. Schmitz. 198-217, Darmstadt: Büchner.

Perraudin, Léa. 2017. "Where have all the cases gone? Die offenen Behausungen des experimentellen Interfacedesigns." In Gehäuse: Mediale Einkapselungen, eds. Christina Bartz et al., 171-90. Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink.

Perraudin, Léa. 2016. "Tales from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – Speculative Encounters with Plastic." In Müll – interdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf das Übrig-Gebliebene, eds. Christiane Lewe, Tim Othold and Nicolas Oxen, 143–69. Bielefeld: transcript.

Perraudin, Léa (co-edited with Thilo Harth and Hendrik Otremba). 2016. TextGestalten – DesignSchreiben. Münster: Verlag der FH Münster.

Perraudin, Léa (co-authored with Thilo Harth and Hendrik Otremba). 2016. "Gedanken gestalten. Integration reflexiven Schreibens in das Studium." In Neues Handbuch Hochschullehre 75, 109-26.