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 they discussed ethical, social and political implications of technology with a focus on ‘automation’ versus ‘autonomy’. They practices and formulates critical perspectives on the politics of machines, discovered novel phenomena and shadowed 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 had been displayed in the context of the Politics of the Machines conference (POM BLN) that took place in May 2021.

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