Colloquium – What Constitutes Critique? (Autumn 2014)

About the research colloquium

We can read media, artefacts, and language against one another. This colloquium, generally speaking, collects constellations of these types of objects of relevance to artists, designers, researchers, thinkers and makers. Some readings are of practical relevance as common points-of-reference, analysis or criticality — still others serve to inspire, delight and challenge the ways in which we approach practice (including writing) in technology, art, creativity, science and the design of experience.

In order to help encourage the reading of, and dialogue around, specific key texts we regularly hold a Colloquium at the Critical Media Lab. The group meets intermittently in the early evenings at the Lab, mostly on Wednesdays. These meet-ups are intended to take advantage of the multiple and diverse interpretations and cross-referencing available to collective readings.

The intention of these sessions is to provide an entirely inclusive and open forum for different perspectives on the texts we take up. For the most part, we will read portions of chapters and essays, as well as present a creative project, intervention or exercise. It is not necessary to have prepared overly much prior to the Colloquium meetings, but you’re likely to get more out of each encounter, if you take a look at the materials in advance. Texts and discussions will be largely in English, but other main languages include German and French.

The Challenge of Practice-Specific Theorisation and Discussion

It is key to understand that the intent of the colloquium is to “get the word critique back” from those who would take it as an exclusive purvey to those disengaged from practice, as well as those looking to ‘tear down institutions of knowledge.’ We are also really keen to make sure that the conversations serve as a ‘field report’ from the multitude domains and communities that we all represent — i.e.: that we not have only ‘meta’ discussions about what critique or research should be, but that we reflect this idea back into the practices we’re all most familiar with.

Rules of Engagement

1) Respectful disagreement should never be reprobative, but ameliorative and generous towards all present.
2) Although shaped as a substantiated academic forum, we invite all references and insights from all parts of lived experience: philosophy to pop culture, literature to online media.
3) Keeping in mind 2) — do not assume that other people know what you know (i.e.: No name dropping, and please refrain from unsubstantiated reference to unexplained arguments).


Sessions, from 4.15 pm to 5.45 pm, every-other Wednesday evening, at the Critical Media Lab


For further questions do not hesitate to contact Jamie Allen or Andreas Simon.


#1 – 24.09.2014 – 4.15 pm
The Nature of Critique / Introduction to the Colloquium
Jamie Allen, Claudia Mareis
— Text: Bruno Latour (2004), “Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? from Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern.”

#2 – 08.10.2014 – 4.15 pm
Criticality and Historical Knowledge
Shintaro Miyazaki
— Text: Wolfgang Ernst (2013, orig. 2011), “Media Archaeography: Method and Machine versus History and Narrative of Media”. In Digital Memory and the Archive by Wolfgang Ernst ed. by Jussi Parikka, p. 55–73.

#3 – 22.10.2014 – 4.15 pm
Testing, Evaluation and Science
Andreas Simon
— Text: Adam Kramer, Jamie Guillory and Jeffrey Hancock (2014), “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks”

#4 – 05.11.2014 – 4.15 pm
Deconstructed denotations. Ambiguous and ensouled artifacts.
Ludwig Zeller
— Guest: Judith Dörrenbächer (FH Krefeld)
— Text: Hartmut Böhme (2006), “Fetischismus und Kultur: eine andere Theorie der Moderne”, Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, p. 40–57

#5 – 19.11.2014 – 4.15 pm
Critique of Creativity
Christiane Heibach
— Guest: Prof. Dr. Anke Finger (University of Connecticut)

#6 – 03.12.2014
Aesthetics as/of Critique
Moritz Greiner-Petter
— Text: Johanna Drucker (2009), “Graphesis and Code”. In: “SpecLab : digital aesthetics and projects in speculative computing”, Chicago, p. 133–143.

#7 – 17.12.2014
Diffraction and Leviathan
Johannes Bruder, Flavia Caviezel
— Film: Leviathan (2012) by Castaing-Taylor & Paravel

Related News

#7 Diffraction and Leviathan
#6 Aesthetics as/of Critique
#5 Critique of Creativity
#4 Deconstructed denotations
#3 Testing, Evaluation & Science
#2 Criticality and Historical Knowledge
#1 What Constitutes Critique?

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