Studio Class – Politics of Machines

In a state of ‘ontological crisis’, all boundaries between human and machine, nature and culture, and the organic and inorganic have been severely blurred. These are times of curious contrivances, novel natures, inescapable automation and posthuman performances – where human and nonhuman find themselves being entwined, meshed and muddled into new unwitting entanglements. But from biased machine-learning to surveillance capitalism and digital colonisation – what power-structures are implicitly and covertly being embedded into these technologies? When are we still at the centre of the social algorithm, and when do we become extensions of the extensions that we built? Do we have to raise a discussion about political systems of things – about ‘ubiquitous capitalism’, ‘algorithmic aristocracy’ or ‘object-mediated democracy’?

In this studio class we will discuss ethical, social and political implications of technology with a focus on ‘automation’ versus ‘autonomy’. We will practice and formulate critical perspectives on the politics of machines, discovering novel phenomena and shadowing the material regimes of power that we ourselves live within – hindering and compromising personal devices and thus conducts, in order to uncover latent power structures embedded in everyday life. Furthermore, drawing on the approaches of research-through-design and critical making, we will prototype possibilities and provocations, integrating critical thinking with critical fabrication (no prior experience with design or technology necessary). The outcomes of the class will be displayed in the context of the Politics of the Machines conference (POM BLN) that is planned to take place in May 2021.

The introduction to this course will take place on the 10.11.2020at 10:00 via Zoom.
Please register by the 30.10.2020 to:
michelle.christensen(at) und florian.conradi(at)

Prof. Dr. Michelle Christensen & Prof. Dr. Florian Conradi
Technische Universität Berlin
Faculty I - Humanities and Educational Sciences
Institute of History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Literature

Seminar, Freie Wahl



Tuesdays 10:00 – 13:30

Max. 15 participants

Please register beforehand via mail to: and