About the IKKM

The Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie (IKKM) of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar was one of ten Käte Hamburger Kollegs in Germany, which were funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

From April 2008 – March 2020 the IKKM explored the relationship between people and things in the tech media culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. Technical equipment and artifacts today can no longer be seen as mere tools of cultural action, perception, cognition, communication etc. They constitutively act in cultural and reflection processes. The European tradition of thought posited the powerful and acting human subject opposite the mere object. Now the constant practical mixing and networking between people and media demand for a more complex understanding of a distributed, jointly organized subject and its modes of action. The IKKM suggested such concepts.

In the first six-year funding period, the main focus of the research was on the further development of some theoretical approaches that had been proposed in France, England and the US under the headings of “Actor Network Theory” or “Agency Theory”, and that had mainly been incorporated into the History of Science and the Anthropology of Art. The annual topics of this first research program were devoted to topics such as the human, the object, the sign, historization and synchronization.

The second IKKM research program “Operative Ontologies” switched from relations to operations. Technical operations of culture are in the focus here, which let the media technological constitution of the relationship between people and things come into view. Operations such as framing and sewing, appearing and disappearing, condensing and dispersing or showing and causing each make for new world conditions, which can be understood as “différents modes d’existence”, “ontological regimes” or “dispositions of Being” (Haudricourt, Viveiros de Castro, Descola, Latour following Souriau).

The IKKM worked according to the fellow principle; up to ten outstanding scholars from home and abroad came together each semester in Weimar and developed here in joint discussion and coordinated work new connections between Cultural Techniques and Media Philosophy. In addition to the Senior Fellows there were also Research Fellows at the IKKM.

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