Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie

In 2008, two professors in the department of Media Culture at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Prof. Dr. Lorenz Engell and Prof. Dr. Bernhard Siegert, initiated and established the first of now ten Käte Hamburger Research Groups in Germany. This institute is directly funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and supports research efforts in German humanities at the international level. From 2010 to 2012, the Thuringian ProExzellenz state funding programme financed the Junior Fellow and Research Fellow Programme, which allowed the IKKM to augment its research activities with two groups of PhD students and post-doc candidates.

Why are humans nothing without their objects?

(© Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Foto: Jens Hauspurg)

At the Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie (IKKM) in Weimar, various long-established branches of research at the Faculty of Media are bundled and developed further. In addition to a group of permanent researchers, the IKKM also hosts international research fellows who examine the relationship between objects and humans in the technologically advanced media societies of the 20th and 21st century. It is no longer possible to regard technical apparatus and artefacts as mere tools of cultural action, perception, recognition, communication, etc. Indeed, they are playing a more active role in shaping cultural processes and reflection.

The traditional European school of thought has long regarded the human subject as different from mere objects in that humans are self-determined and self-empowered. However, as media apparatus and human beings increasingly mix and interconnect, we require an expanded, more complex understanding of a distributed, shared function of subject and action. And this is precisely the focus of the International Research Institute for Cultural Technology and Media Philosophy.