New volume: Text+Kritik, Digital Literature II (German)

October saw the publication of Text+Kritik's special volume on Digital Literature, edited by Annette Gilbert and myself - the "II" in the title refers to the previous volume from 2001, which, after twenty years, is replaced by this one.

With scholarly contributions by Andreas Bülhoff, Dîlan C. Çakir, Karl Wolfgang Flender, Christiane Frohmann, Annette Gilbert, Berit Glanz, Anna Kinder, Elias Kreuzmair, Jasmin Meerhoff, Kathrin Passig, Nils Penke, Sandra Richter, Thorsten Ries, Alexander Waszynski and myself; with artistic contributions by Sarah Berger, Jasmin Meerhoff, Nick Montfort, Fabian Navarro, Allison Parrish, Kathrin Passig, Jörg Piringer, Selina Seemann, and Gregor Weichbrodt.

From the publisher's description:

Literature is as digital as the society in which it takes place. Today, reception and literary production are largely determined by digital technology.
And yet there are differences in the extent to which literature produced under the conditions of a digitally determined world also reflects this condition. In the contemporary novel, into which the digital enters primarily at the descriptive level, the parameters of classical literary form are rarely touched upon. Experiments on social media go further, and here the tools of the platforms produce new ways of writing. Finally, the tradition that can be called genuinely digital literature – which not only uses digital technology incidentally and instrumentally, but also produces its works essentially through computers, algorithms, or neural networks – has regained importance.
This special volume continues the first survey of digital literature in TEXT+KRITIK from 2001 and highlights the differences and continuities that have emerged in this field since then. As a discussion of the state of the art in both technical and literary terms, it is a snapshot of a literature in transition.

Bestellen kann man den Band hier.


“Infrastructure”: Exhibition at the Bauhaus Dessau

As part of the “Bauhaus Fiktional” series, I spent the summer in one of the Meisterhäuser in Dessau. Together with Alexis Lowry, who curated the works of Charlotte Posenenske, the result of my “residency” can be seen on the Meisterhäuser grounds until April 10, 2022. 

From the exhibition brochure: “Bajohr has researched historical documents relating to the Masters' Houses – such as inventories, cost statements, rental agreements and legal correspondence – in his residence in Dessau; he is interested in the archival level of the infrastructure. He has transformed this collected textual material through appropriation and certain textual procedures (such as restructuring the textual material according to conjunctions) into posters with a serial character that are posted outside the master houses, where they refer to the normally invisible historical background of the houses."

More about the exhibition in the Bauhaus website; an interview with me can be found here

Photo: © Yvonne Tenschert


Negative Anthropology: Two New Essays (German)

Titel des Sammelbands 'Negative Anthropologie'  Titel des Sammelbands 'Denn das Wahre ist das Ganze nicht'

Two recent essays on negative anthropologyhave been published, a topic I have been working on for a while. What this term means and which philosophies can be found under this title, I have investigated for two anthologies.

In 1969, Ulrich Sonnemann published Negative Anthropologie . Its author was located at the periphery of tge Frankfurt School and Tobias Heinze and Martin Mettin now have dedicated an anthology to the book and its author. In it, I explore “negative anthropology” beyond the Negativen Anthropologie . I show that the term was not invented by Sonnemann but, on the contrary, emerged autonomously in various places, contexts, and times. Three basic meanings prevail: The human is undefinable or can only be approached by defining what it is not (apophatic anthropology); the human being is evil or dangerous (pessimistic anthropology); the human being is incomplete or decadent (defective anthropology).
Read the text can be downloaded (German).

These connotations can also be found in a number of philosophies that either use the term literally or can only be described as such retrospectively. In an essay for an anthology edited by Sebastian Edinger and myself – Negative Anthropologie – is devoted to four exemplary negative anthropologies. From Helmuth Plessner to Günther Anders to Hannah Arendt to Sonnemann himself, they stand for a spectrum of differently "strong" conceptions of what negative anthropology is. In a conclusion, I show that they continue to be of current interest, using three topics as examples: Posthumanism, the Anthropocene, and Transhumanism.
You can read the essay here (German).


On Artistic Artificial Intelligence (German)

Continuing with literature about AI - AI literature, to be exact. For Merkur I have written on the occasion of the publication of Daniel Kehlmann's new book Mein Algorithmus und ich (My Algorithm and I) about the limits of a strong model of artistic AI; I argue for an aesthetically and theoretically more sophisticated weak model.

Read you can read the article (German)


Article on the politics of large language models (German)

Beitrag für die Republik
For Republik I wrote a text dealing with the always operative ideology of AI, especially that of "big language models". It can be read here (German).


New 0x0a project: Weisheit und Wiederholung (Wisdom and Repetition) (German)

Cover Weisheit und WiederholungDas Buch im Schnelldurchlauf“And” connects and separates, coordinates and keeps at a distance. Yet the relationship between two terms coupled by “and” remains ambivalent, can express both togetherness and opposition. Perhaps because of this vagueness, they are popular as titles especially for major philosophical-literary works: Sein und Zeit, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, Kritik und Krise, Mohn und Gedächtnis.

But is that all? What about Mohn und Zeit, Wirtschaft und Kritik, Sein und KriseMuch remains to be done for future discourse giants. The compendium Wisdom and Repetition gathers the titles of 104,052 books still to be written: a to-do list of intellectual self-employment, created by all possible permutations of the books collected by Hendrikje Schauer and Marcel Lepper in Titelpaare (Works & Nights, 2018).

The book for download and some background info on 0x0a. Buy it here (German).


New text: The „Gestalt“ of AI

Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft My essay on the Gestalt logic of artificial neural networks that first appeared in Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft came out in English with Interface Critique. Read it here.


Lyrix: Young Poetry Competition (German)

Im Februar ist Was man muss (Managementkorpus) Gedicht des Monats auf der Seite von Lyrix, dem Bundeswettbewerb für junge Lyrik. Dabei soll es Anregungen geben, selbst digitale Lyrik zu produzieren (in einem Video stelle ich vier mögliche Verfahren vor).

Schön ist auch das Arbeitsblatt für den Deutschunterricht, das zeigt, wie man Schüler:innen an den Gedanken heranführt, dass Text nicht immer ganz neu geschrieben werden muss, sondern immer schon Material ist, aus dem man Neues machen kann – auch mit digitalen Mitteln.


Looking back onto the Blumenbert year (German)

For Merkur I wrote a review essay on the new literature by and on Blumenberg published in 2020. The text covers:

– Hans Blumenberg: Beiträge zum Problem der Ursprünglichkeit der mittelalterlich-scholastischen Ontologie (Contributions to the Problem of Primordiality in Medieval-Scholastic Ontology)
– Hans Blumenberg: Realität und Realismus (Reality and Realism)
– Rüdiger Zill: Der absolute Leser: Hans Blumenberg. Eine intellektuelle Biographie (The absolute reader: An intellectual biography)
– Jürgen Goldstein: Hans Blumenberg: Ein philosophisches Portrait (Hans Blumenberg: A philosophical portrait)

Read the review essay here.


Zwei neue KI-Essays / Two new essays on AI

Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft  Basel Media Culture and Cultural Techniques Working Papers

I have published two essays dealing with AI recently:
“Die ‘Gestalt’ der KI: Jenseits von Atomismus und Holismus” is about the philosophical conceptualization of artificial neural networks with Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft (an English version, text here, is forthcoming with Interface Critique).
“Algorithmic Empathy: On Two Paradigms of Digital Generative Literature and the Need for a Critique of AI works” deals with the poetic potential of literature generated by connectionist AI systems and their difference to the older, sequential paradigm. It is published as a quotable, DOI-identified Basel Media Culture and Cultural Techniques Working Paper.


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