Exploring new realities: Weimar media and culture scientist receives NOMIS research grant
Beginning in April 2021, Prof. Dr. Bernhard Siegert, Chair of History and Theory of Cultural Technique at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, will be supported by the Swiss NOMIS Foundation through a prestigious NOMIS research grant. This grant will provide Prof. Siegert with the funding to conduct three years of innovative research in cultural techniques in computing and calculating and their influence on the changed relationship we have with our environment.
NOMIS research grants support unconventional research projects led by researchers who have demonstrated exceptional scientific capabilities and leadership. The grants enable researchers to spearhead pioneering research to answer bold questions and advance yet unexplored approaches across scientific and academic disciplines. NOMIS awards research grants to investigators with an excellent track record in leading groundbreaking, high-risk basic research. Prof. Bernhard Siegert, a leading expert in cultural scientific media research, has been awarded a research grant.
The project »The New Real: Past, Present and Future of Computation and the Ecologization of Cultural Techniques«, which was submitted for the grant, is based on the general assumption that a new elemental space, a »technosphere«, is emerging as a result of new and changed cultural technologies of (digital) computation. This new space is characterised by its own complex infrastructure and the disappearance of the boundaries between nature and technology.
One example of the »medianatures« that Prof. Siegert identifies is climate. Climate does not exist independently of computational models, but this does not mean that climate change does not exist. Climate belongs to a class of phenomena which must be understood within the perspective of a new reality – »the new real«; they are neither objectively given nor completely socially constructed. Within the context of the research project, Prof. Siegert is pursuing the goal of drawing attention to a third option beyond the conventional binary between realism and constructivism.
In order to achieve this, scientists from the computer sciences, life sciences, media studies and philosophy will collaborate with one another on this project. The various aspects of the project explore the ecologies of human-computer interfaces, and how the Internet of Things alters the existence of »lifeworldly« objects; how programming code becomes ontology in synthetic biology and bioengineering; and how the algorithmisation of the cultural technique of filtering plays a significant role in the environmentalisation of media.
The NOMIS research grant and its associated financial support will enable the Faculty of Media to establish a research focus on the topic for the next three years and will allow several international fellows to join the project as guest researchers. A conference and workshop are planned to take place in Weimar for an interdisciplinary exchange.
Prof. Siegert has held the chair of History and Theory of Cultural Technologies at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar since 2001 and has been a guest lecturer and researcher at internationally renowned institutions such as New York University, The University of Cambridge, and Harvard University. From 2008 to 2020, Prof. Siegert was co-director of the Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie (IKKM) together with Lorenz Engell. Since 2013, Prof. Siegert has been spokesperson of the DFG Research Group »Medien und Mimesis«.
About the NOMIS Foundation:
NOMIS’ vision is to »create a spark« in the world of science by enabling and supporting pioneering research in the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities that benefits humankind and our planet. NOMIS’ mission is to support and enable insight-driven science across all disciplines, focusing on researchers who put forth bold new ideas, exhibit a pioneering spirit and seek to inspire the world around them.
The foundation serves as a catalyst for scientific and human progress by supporting interdisciplinary research, establishing collaborative research networks and developing strategic partnerships. In addition to providing financial support, NOMIS endeavors to develop and strengthen the conditions conducive to the pursuit of high-risk basic research.
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Siegert
https://nomisfoundation.ch/research-projects/the-new-real-past-present-and-future-of-computation-and-the-ecologization-of-cultural-techniques/ - Project web page for the research project »The New Real«