The Mediocene.

Media and Planetary Transformations

The research group investigates the role and function of media in the age of planetary communication and circulation of goods, persons, imaginations, information, and data. Our central hypothesis postulates that we live in the Mediocene — an age in which media contribute considerably to the material and cultural conditions on the planet and of the planet itself. Media not only operate on a worldwide scale, but they themselves increasingly contribute to the shaping and conceiving of the planet. For example, scientific knowledge of planet Earth itself, as in global climate research and the geosciences, heavily depends on media. Without media, there would be no maps or photographs of the Earth, nor any navigation or conceptualization of the physical world, nor would there be any planetary time, including history, nor would global synchronization be possible without calendars, archives, clocks, and signal transmission. The properties and workings of media inscribe themselves into what they transmit, store, and process, such as planetary time and space. This is no less true for popular and artistic imaginations, for economic processes, and other practices regarding the Globe and the global habitat. Media of communication and transport, of observation, of surveying and surveillance, of representation and visualization, and of calculation, are deeply involved with contemporary planetary perspectives. Today, media pervade nature and culture alike on a worldwide scale, hence forcing us to revise the traditional boundaries between these two realms as Western thought has understood them. Though global media may foster hegemonic forms of knowledge and popular culture, they simultaneously enable transcultural exchange and the articulation of minority cultural practices and habits. The notion of the Mediocene complements the recent idea of the Anthropocene, which postulates that human interventions have begun to leave a permanent imprint on the shape and quality of the planet, as in the production of sediments or in the progression of climate change. The research group adds to the Anthropocene hypothesis by engaging with the media of those interventions and investigates the very own dynamics and forms of agency of media, which are more than just compliant instruments in the hands of human actors. We argue that our understanding of the relationships between human beings and media must be revised to account for media not only as technical devices and institutions, but as mediators and operators, milieus and environments. The research group examines the Mediocene in historical, sociological, and anthropological context as well as under the aspect of knowledge of nature and of technology. Individual projects will cover the areas of Media of Making Natures, Media of Circulation and Migration, Media of Becoming Time, Media of World Imag/in/ing, and Media of Computing Environments.

  • Jun.-Prof. Dr. Julia Bee
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Cuntz
  • Prof. Dr. Jörg Dünne
  • Prof. Dr. Frank Eckardt
  • Prof. Dr. Lorenz Engell
  • Dr. Simon Frisch
  • Prof. Dr. Eva Hornecker
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Lüthy
  • Prof. Dr. Jörg Paulus
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Pfleiderer
  • Prof. Dr. Gabriele Schabacher
  • Dr. habil. Leander Scholz
  • Prof Dr. Bernhard Siegert
  • Prof. Dr. Benno Stein
  • Prof. Dr. Christiane Voss
  • Jun.-Prof. Dr. Jan Willmann

  • 05.00 pm—05.30 pm


    Welcome Address & Introduction

  • 05.30 pm—06.30 pm

    Henning Schmidgen

    Plans for the Planet. Félix Guattari and the Problem of Ecology

  • 06.30 pm—07.30 pm

    Niels Werber

    A Community of Limbs. Co-Evolution of Man, Media, Culture, and Organs in the Mediocene

  • 07.30 pm



  • 10.00 am—11.00 am


    Odyssey Without Nostos or From Globe to Planet

  • 11.00 am—11.30 am


  • 11.30 am—12.30 pm

    Birgit Schneider

    Entangled Trees and Arboreal Networks of Sensitive Environments

  • 12.30 pm—01.30 pm

    Jussi Parikkacancelled

    The Lab is the (Media) Scene

  • 01.30 pm—03.00 pm


  • 03.00 pm—04.00 pm

    Emily Eliza Scott

    Radiant Creatures

  • 04.00 pm—05.00 pm

    Elizabeth A. Povinelli

    When Reefs Dream of Electronic Fish

  • 05.00 pm—05.30 pm


  • 05.30 pm—06.30 pm

    Gabriele Schabacher

    Abandoned Infrastructures. Technical Networks Beyond Nature and Culture


  • 10.00 am—11.00 am

    Jörg Paulus

    Philology and Archivology of the Drilling Core

  • 11.00 am—11.30 am


  • 11.30 am—12.30 pm

    Georg Toepfer

    From Plio-/Mio-/Eocene via Anthropocene to Mediocene? On the Use and Abuse of Stratifying the Earth’s Crust by Mapping Time into Space

  • 12.30 pm—01.30 pm

    Erhard Schüttpelzcancelled

    A Media Revolution in the Late Pleistocene? Göbekli Tepe in Perspective

  • 01.30 pm


    Closing Remarks


Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

99421 Weimar

Phone: +49 (0) 3643 / 58–4000


Photo: Moritz Wehrmann

Design: Oh No Oh Yes

Developement: Hans-Jakob Gohr