The digital media lab is a Post/Doc Lab at the Munich Center for Technology in Society (Technical University of Munich). We explore the ongoing digital transformation of our lives, our working environments and our institutions by focusing on the manifold entanglements between infrastructures, datafication and communication in digital societies: Digital formats of science and technical communication change the arrangements of the visibility of research. Smartification and digitalization influence our energy infrastructures and vice versa. Socio-technical infrastructures of logistics impact the organization of migration and the constitution of borders.
How do digital infrastructures and the algorithmization of our environment shape our daily practices, and who are the central actors negotiating the values and norms inscribed in them? How do digital platforms change the way we communicate? How do algorithms (re)distribute power within society? Who is resisting these transformations by promoting alternative solutions, e.g. privacy by obfuscation and privacy by design? And how is it possible to open digital and algorithmic black-boxes for a wider audience?
In approaching these questions, the digital media lab draws on insights from Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Media Studies. We pursue a number of empirical case studies and apply a wide variety of qualitative methods, e.g. ethnographic approaches, code analysis and mappings. Taking a closer look at current ICT engineering projects reveals how contemporary digital societies are formed.
Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS)
Technische Universität München
Jan studied sociology, computer science and political science at Hamburg University where he also completed his dissertation on „Technology and Society“ in Sociology (2007). As Head of the digital media lab at the MCTS at TUM his research focuses on the use of standardized and interconnected software technologies in popular culture, politics and the media and the changing role of computer science for contemporary societies. He has worked in Hamburg, Bielefeld and Berlin and has been a visiting scholar at Indiana University, Pennsylvania State University and fellow at the ZIF in Bielefeld the media studies department at the University of Siegen.
Marcus is a postdoctoral researcher at the digital media lab. After studying media studies, philosophy and computer science at the Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena he conducted his Ph.D. at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture in Giessen. His dissertation was concerned with the media history and theory of digital database technologies. While the logics and logistics of big data remain one of his areas of interest his research within the digital media lab is mainly focused on emerging algorithmic environments. He is also interested in the transformations of scientific knowledge production and dissemination in the age of digital media, especially in the humanities. In an attempt to take part in shaping these transformations he cofounded meson press, a small open access book publisher.
Hajo is a philosopher working in the fields of philosophy of mind and the history and philosophy of science and technology. He completed his undergraduate studies in philosophy, cultural anthropology and sociology at J.W. Goethe Universität, Frankfurt, and his doctoral studies at the post-graduate school Technology and Society at TU Darmstadt. In 2015, he received his habilitation at the University of Klagenfurt (AAU), Austria. From 2013 to 2015, he was FWF Erwin Schrödinger-Fellow at the MCTS. After his FWF-funded return phase at AAU, he returned to MCTS as a senior researcher. Currently, Hajo’s main research interests are in evolutionary and ecological models of the mind and in the philosophy of computer simulation, the latter being his primary research topic at the digital media lab.
Philipp studied Cultural and Media Education (B.A.) at the University of Applied Sciences in Merseburg with a focus on modern media and processes of appropriation. In 2015 he graduated from the University of Leipzig with a master’s degree in Cultural Studies. With his thesis he examined how the phenomenon of surveillance is recognized, shaped and reproduced in social discourses. Since 2016 he is working as a doctoral candidate in the engineering responsibility project with the digital media lab. His research is focused on the ‘datafication’ of life as a transformational process that comes with the postmodern digitalized society. With his project he specifically addresses social movements and how they re-shape the idea of privacy and data protection by creating technical artifacts and combining them with social practices.
Mariya studied sociology at the University of Mannheim (B.A.) and at the Technical University of Berlin (M.A.) (graduated 2015). Since July 2015 she is a PhD candidate at the digital media lab at the MCTS. Her PhD project focuses on the practices and politics of distributing digital Art.
Andrea is a PhD candidate at the digital media lab, where she is studying the production of science on YouTube. In her research she focuses on the influence of social media on science communication models and the identification of ScienceYouTubers as new role models to produce and communicate science. Andrea earned her BSc and MSc in Human Movement Science with a major in Motor Control and Sportpsychology at the Technical University of Munich.
Peter is a PhD candidate at the digital media lab. He started his position with collaborating in the IMPROVE Project which is, meanwhile, finished. His experiences with this project are currently processed and refined for purposes of human-computer interaction methodology. However, Peter now focuses on his PhD project on the practical, discursive, and institutional role of creativity in tech and software development, ethnographing hackathons and studying scientific and private publications. He also engages with questions of legal tech (e.g. risk assessment software used in courts), particularly investigating digitalization as a phenomenon intrinsic to law and nevertheless of great effect.
Peter studied sociology, political science and philosophy at the LMU Munich, focussing on social theory: poststructuralism, system theory, and, above all, pragmatism. During his years of study, his empirical research emphases were sociology of law, of social work and of medicine. Now he is luckily involved with STS and sociology of technology issues at the MCTS. His credo in science is: Sail close to the wind, or like A. N. Whitehead would say: “Speculative boldness must be balanced by complete humility before logic“. Peter also plays the cello and the guitar, likes listening to Black Metal, Dream Pop and Lana Del Rey, reading ancient mythology, and playing minecraft. When he has nothing else to do, he enjoys some speculative etymology, like that you cannot have, contrary to German language, techno-logy without the logos. His favorite fish (and animal) is the great clown-triggerfish.
Eva-Maria studied Communication and Knowledge Media (B.A.) at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria and completed her M.A. in Media Studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin in 2016. In October 2016 she joined the MCTS digital media lab as a doctoral candidate. Her PhD project focuses on the investigation of process management systems (such as SAP and Salesforce) and their influence on work processes and organizational environments. Central questions are how the implementation of algorithmic work transforms our notion of work itself, how human work can be compared to algorithmic work and how the ontological dimensions of process management systems can be analyzed.
Current project: Programming Labor
Before his academic life, Nikolaus worked for several years as an IT professional (database administration and troubleshooting, web development, clustering technologies). He studied sociology, computer sciences and Science and Technology Studies at the University of Vienna. At the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna he worked on questions of Responsible Research and Innovation and Innovation/Society entanglements in the Department of Sociology, where he had a position as a research assistant and junior researcher. At the moment he is a PhD candidate at the digital media lab where he explores questions regarding digital technologies as socio-technical configurations in smart and algorithmic societies, with a focus on prediction, machine learning & surveillance systems.
Silvan studied Cultural Studies, Sociology and Gender Studies at the Universities Leipzig and Munich. From the very beginning he was involved in empirical research projects, working with qualitative methods. In his master thesis he analyzed security trainings of correctional staff and analyzed how in single situations one individual was embedded in several actor-networks which enacted different specific bodies related with specific accountabilities and apparatus of senses. Since 2015 he is at digital media lab at MCTS and his PhD project focuses on the socio-technical construction of multiple borderlines of the actual migration regime which can be traced at EUs ‘Hotspots’.
Current Projects: Logistics of Flows
Andreas worked as an office administrator in several companies before he studied from 2000 to 2005 Sociology, Social Psychology and Philosophy at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Afterwards he worked as research assistant at the Faculty of Sociology at Bielefeld University in different fields. First he was research fellow at the DFG-research project “Massenmediale Inklusionsprozesse”, then he was engaged in coordinating the the DFG-Research Training Group at the Institute for World Society and then in the Initiative for the Cluster of Excellence “Communicating Comparisons”. 2012 and 2013 he was Lecturer at the Institute of Sociology at Leibniz Universität Hannover. Since 2013 he ist doctoral student at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences at University of Lucerne. Since May 2015 he is research fellow at the Academy Project “Wissenschaft, Öffentlichkeit, Medien” at the digital media lab at the MCTS. His research interests are qualitative social research, sociology of science, science communication and media sociology.