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Centre for Cultural Studies

Current PhD student projects

Sasha Rashof

media philosophy, architecture and design, education, ethnography, postcolonialism

Media Architectures - Topogeneses of Three Maker Labs

My research explores how community workshops called 'fab labs' or 'hackspaces' can be understood as new designs of Being-in-the-world in meta-technical capitalism. Theorists I'm working with include Heidegger, Sloterdijk, Simondon, Papert and Illich.

Aymeric Mansoux

copyright, copyleft, copyfree, copyfarleft, anti-copyright, activism, appropriation, licenses, free culture, open knowledge, digital art, media art.

The research is about the different motivations, purposes and intentions that can lead an artist to create copyleft, open source, or free art, as well as the compromises, misunderstanding and other forms of transformations that emerge from such a novel techno-legal framework.


M. Beatrice Fazi


Computational Forms: Abstraction and Experience in the Aesthetics of Computation



This research project presents an attempt to open up new possibilities for the aesthetics of computational digital media. In this thesis, the aesthetic investigation of computation is understood as an ontological question about the relation between abstract entities and abstract processes on the one hand, and experience on the other. The issues that then arise involve looking at both the formal and factual dimensions of computation, and arguing for the centrality of  abstraction  within the construction of experience. In doing so, this thesis aims to offer a re-conceptualisation of contingency within formal axiomatic systems, vis-à-vis cultural and scientific notions of incomputability and debates about the limits of formal reasoning.


Jeff Heydon

Power and the Image: Televised Surveillance and the Governability of the Communicated Human

The project takes a theoretical approach to the use of Closed Circuit Television in the process of governing with an emphasis on McLuhan, Baudrillard and Foucault.

Ji Hyeon Kim

Media & Cultural Industries; Art Production and Consumption; Digital ethnographic research

After the Web, Art Amateur in Cultural Productions

This study aims to review the academic application of amateurs and amateurism, which have received a new perspective in the digital era, from a critical viewpoint. As Industrialization has had an impact on the overall fields of culture since the modern age and diversification has prevailed in the labour sector, the concept of the ‘amateur’, which was used to characterize a certain member of the upper class in society, has turned into that of a non-professional cultural producer who creates cultural text through serious leisure activities without asking for money. And amateurs have started to pay attention to their socio-political roles. Although it was commonly considered that the quality of the products amateurs or amateurism produced was more superficial than that of professionals or through professionalism, there has been a re-evaluation of the informal and social exchange of their cultural outputs through various online platforms. For example, the Web 2.0 platform, which emerged after the Internet, encourages participation in cultural productions and forms a network among its participants. This article pays special attention to so-called “art amateurs of the post-web” who are bringing upheaval to the concept of amateurs and amateurism itself as well as that of art and artists, while they are actively participating in producing, mediating and consuming a symbolic value of art.

Sophia Drakopoulou

How Long Is Now?  A study into the spatiotemporal qualities of mobile media in location-specific interaction 2001 to 2008

The thesis’s method and approach is twofold; firstly, it is a philosophical enquiry as to the spatiotemporal qualities of mobile media and, secondly, an empirical study of non-commercial projects in the field of locative media from 2001 to 2008. The investigation of commonalities and differences between Lefebvre’s ‘lived’ (1961, 1974, 1992)  and Bergson’s ‘duration’ (1889, 1896) binds together the methodological approach of this thesis, and underpins the exploration of how temporality and urban space are experienced and lived today through the incessant access to instantaneous communication. The thesis investigates the spatiotemporal qualities of mobile media and their manifestation in user-generated trends: Bluetoothing, Happy Slapping, the cameraphone image and User Generated Content and experimentations in media art: locative media projects and location-based games. The space of data-share and exchange, proposed by the thesis, can be thought of as an aerial space of calculations, as it is supported by a mechanical infrastructure of base stations, antennas and satellites. Through the theories of Henri Lefebvre it can be said that practices in mobile media and locative media employ a production of space. For example, location based games and annotative maps employ representations of space, interactive public screens create representational spaces, and Bluetooth users employ a spatial practice. 'Time travelling', 'spatial layering', and a 'perpetual now', are all concepts explored in the thesis. Spatial layering is examined as an object of study that can help in interaction design and articulation of new mode of perception. Time travelling investigates the temporal qualities of mobile media. ‘A perpetual now’ alerts to the dangers of interacting, creating and communicating with content whose meaning is interdependent of temporal and spatial qualities. Today, the definitive referential quality in mobile media objects is their spatiotemporal signature; where and when they were compiled and how soon after they were viewed.

Sophia is a co-founder of Cybersalon. This is a real and virtual space where people involved in digital creativity can congregate. 



Kathrin Schmidt

performing arts, cultural policy and politics, postcolonial theory, Africa, ethnography

 The impact of globalisation and commodification on performing arts in West Africa

My PhD research aims to understand the phenomenon of contemporary cultural (ex)change in the context of globalisation, analysing its significance for and impact on performing arts in the global south from a very specific, local perspective. By focusing on contemporary forms of cultural translation and translocation in a specific location at the intersection of postcolonial and global cultural and political dynamics, it will put the consumption of global cultural trends in the local context of specific agents and factors that mediate, impact and localise them. This shall allow rethinking the global through the local and context-specific and also offer a more nuanced view on current arts practices in the global south that are often considered to become more and more “globalised”.

Macon Holt

Pop Music: Attention/Inattention, Complicity and Catharsis.

Considering popular music, in all its mediated forms, as the ambient hum of late capitalism; this project examines the social and cultural impact of such an art form and how it is itself being reshaped and reproduced.

Martin Feuz

healthcare information interaction, extended mind thesis, medical decision making

Exploratory Search and extended cognition in Healthcare: Redesigning Interaction and Decision-Making

This research sets out from the widespread phenomena of health information search and self-diagnosis using online search engines. It critically analyses the assumptions underlying models of online interactivity in HCI, the biopolitics of statistically derived medical knowledge in evidence-based medicine as well as dominant but narrow cognitive conceptions of human decision making. By introducing cognition understood as socially distributed and extended into and performed through the environment, this research proposes to rethink how to design for exploratory information interaction and decision making in healthcare processes.

Lee Mackinnon

Love as Political Technology: Contingency, Immanence and Computability

My PhD research formulates love as a political technology; as such I refute notions of love as anti-political (Badiou and Arendt). Love is neither conceptualised as emotion or affect, but rather as randomness and noise- representative of a system that cannot be adequately or coherently systematised. As such, it may seem to remain non-computable. Yet Turing, Chaitin, and Cantor, among others, posit the incomputable as concrete and recursive. I explore attempts to systematically measure, compute and quantify love as part of the biopolitical project of modern governance, and the potential of love to retain features that remain beyond coherent biopolitical systematisation.

Tiffany Page

The Provocations of Vulnerability

Tiffany's research is an investigation the ethical ambiguity of vulnerability as condition of openness to suffering from and inflicting harm as well as administering care. The project seeks to explore whether there is an obligation or responsibility prescribed by vulnerability and its influence in movements between violent and non-violent responses.

Kevin Molin

Institute Pierre Menard: For a 'New' Translation of Dante's Comedy

My research is broadly motivated by a prefigurative will to undermine pedagogical metanarratives that propound inequalities of intelligences. This leitmotif fuels in turn a necessity to translate, counter-translate and re-write canonical works, minor literatures and autobiographies of others. More specifically, my PhD project consists in a close reading of Dante's Comedy and how this could inform contemporary disputes in cultural and educational circles.

Moritz Altenried

Value: Time and Technology

The project focusses on new forms of valorisation in contemporary capitalism. The research is concerned with the political economy of media and information, bio-social reproduction and the intersections between these fields. This involves the relation of value with the materiality of technology and labour as well as concepts of (real) abstraction and commodification. Interests include the critique of political economy, (materialist) political theory, science and technology studies, especially concerning economics and algorithmic computation, and the ‘nature’ of political economy.

Neofetou, Daniel

Stop Making Sense: Towards a Politically Responsible Art

Project description: I am concerned with whether a politically responsible art is possible today, and determining what form that art would take. Throughout my research, I am discussing and analysing modes of art, from Abstract Expressionism through to rave music, which have cultivated or intimated the possibility of egalitarian space outside the domain of instrumental reason, and the manner in which they have gradually all been co-opted by the dominant discourse. Through doing so, I aim to point toward stratagems for future art forms to evade such neutering in the hope of constructing destabilisatory utopian spaces.

Polly Crisp, Lindsay

Mutinous dust: seeking the thing in Michael Landy's "Break Down"

My project is to develop a theoretical and experiential response to materiality, dust and the fragment, via a written exploration of the artwork 'Break Down' (2001).  In this work the artist Michael Landy systematically catalogued, dismantled and granulated everything he owned. 'Break Down' can be seen as an articulation of modalities including the system, the fetish, fragmentation and biography.

Mark Rainey

Urban Justice and the Production of Space

Project description: This thesis is an exploration of the themes of law, justice and the city. Ancient Greek tragedy is used as a point of departure in this investigation, followed by various deployments and redeployments of these themes by theorists and philosophers. The contested notions of justice and the political space of the polis also provide an access point to addressing contemporary issues - particularly geographical scale, asylum, and shelter.

Theodore Reeves-Evison

Ethics After Transgression: Art and the Production of Values

The three central ambitions of this research are 1) to evaluate the relevance of Lacan’s late concept of the sinthome in light of his earlier work on ethics, 2) to bring this concept to bear on the relationship between ethics and recent visual art practice, and 3) to consider the changing ethical status of artworks in the wake of the contemporary ‘prohibition on prohibition’.

Desmond Sham

Postcolonial Cities Torn Between Heritage Preservation and Urban(Re-)Development: Hong Kong, Singapore, Penang

The research traces the development and critical analyzes heritage preservation policies and practices, vis-a-vis the dialogical relationship of urban re-development in Hong Kong, Singapore and Penang. The research also asks the question that what postcolonial heritage preservation should be and how a critical heritage preservation could contribute to decolonization.

Ian Tucknott

Taking Place: Spatial Complexity & Creative Topography

My current research looks into the relationship between creative practice, politics and philosophies of place, and draws on theories of topology and philosophical topography: the boundary, the limit, the site and the situation.

Leila Whitley

The border as pervasive social condition

I'm interested in how borders work and where they are located. Instead of thinking only about their geographical placement, or only the singular and spectacular experiences of crossing geographical borders, I'm interested in thinking about how borders structure social life and how the violence that is the divisive work of borders is extended to a pervasive social condition.

Inigo Wilkins

Irreversible Noise - Fractal Aesthetics, Decisional Prosthetics, and the Computational Immanence of the Generic Matrix

A Laruellian, or non-philosophical, critique of the conceptualization of noise afforded by ‘reversible’ philosophies such as Deleuze and Stiegler. The focus throughout is on noise qua randomness; it takes sonic culture as the primary ground for its investigation, but it engages with three main intersecting discourses on the basis of this (aesthetics, technics, and computational modelling).

Content last modified: 20 Mar 2015

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