Current PhD students


Kevin Molin: Politicising Dante's theory of vernacular eloquence

My thesis reflects on the politicisation of language, as expressed in Dante’s oeuvre and as seen through the perspective of four more
contemporary authors: Gramsci, Pasolini, Agamben and Rancière. Part of the thesis consists in displacing Dante from being perceived as
regressive, as originating later formations of a particular languageor even the theorisation of language itself.

The main focus, however,is on those elements of Dante's political doctrine that are stilllooming in contemporary thought, characterising "politics" in equally universal and particular terms.


Kathrin Schmidt: The impact of globalisation and commodification on theatre in West Africa 

This research analyses contemporary theatre production in West Africa, especially Sierra Leone, within the context of contemporary cultural (ex)change and hybridisation against the backdrop of postcolonial social, political and economic dynamics.

Chris Law: The Life in Language: The Concept of Uncriticizability from Goethe to Benjamin

My PhD project investigates the concept of ‘uncriticizability,’ through which Walter Benjamin framed a theory of art and poetic form inherited from Goethe. My research follows Benjamin’s lead in understanding ‘uncriticizability,’ in its operative tension with the early Romantic concept of ‘criticizability,’ as the crystallization of a set of problems concerning the relations between art, politics and nature.

As art became a genuine element of philosophical critique and Enlightenment communicability following Kant, ‘uncriticizability’ denotes how poetic form was simultaneously invested with a force of life deconstructing its separation from nature.

Situating the concept within the early twentieth century contexts—neo-Kantianism, Lebensphilosophie and phenomenology—in which it was revisited by Benjamin and others, my project contends that uncriticizability had a politically exigent afterlife, and underwent a radical transposition in Benjamin’s theories of language and the political. These transpositions, I suggest, constitute the provenance of ‘life’ and ‘language’ in their contemporary theoretical manifestations.


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 Haydon: 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: 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.


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.

  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: 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.


Moritz Altenried: The Digital Factory. On the Political Economy of Informational Capitalism

Moritz Altenried‘s research discusses the political economy of the internet with a focus on the reconfiguration of labour and valorisation and in contemporary digital capitalism.

Through an analysis of various forms of digital labour, the material and logistical nature of digital infrastructure and circulation, as well as new forms algorithmic accumulation the project looks at how production and valorisation work within the digital factory. Interests include materialist political theory and political economy, new media and information, digital labour and algorithmic computation.


Rosario Montero: Private Gardens

This practice-based research aims to explore the notions of landscape in Chile, particularly focusing on an everyday form of landscape, the garden, and how these notions can inform a photographic practice.

By doing this the intention is to understand what are the issues at stake and how landscape can be represented from a decolonial perspective. 


Sandra Carmelo:  Towards a decolonial understanding of indigenous languages-knowledges in Colombia

This study develops a critique of the understanding of indigeneity and indigenous languages circulating in the current programs of language revitalisation in Colombia in order to relocate them within a complex field of knowledge-power relations marked by colonisation.

In this study, I examine today’s clashes and asymmetries regarding the validation of the linguistic ‘expert’ knowledge(s) and indigenous practical and cosmological knowledge(s).

  Sasha Rashof: 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.

  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.

  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.

  Daniel Neofetou: Stop Making Sense: Towards a Politically Responsible Art

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.

  Lindsay Polly Crisp: 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

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).