Till Nikolaus von Heiseler Daniela Schiffer

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The Series: Toward an Integral Theory of Media
A platform for subjects-comprehensive project-work (media theorie and practice)
The internet colloquium ”Toward an Integral Theory of Media“ and the platform „Diskurs: M.E.D.I.E.N.“ linked with it, offers to students of different Berlin-Brandenburg universities the opportunity for project work and for a subject comprehensive discourse. We address on one hand students and teaching personal on faculties with rather theoretical target objective (media theory and science, art and cultural history, theatre science, sociology, cultural science, musicology, educational theory etc.) and on the other hand students and teaching personal of courses of studies with rather practical orientation (drama, design, journalism, computer science, cultural management, film and especially students of colleges of art and of music).

Starting point of the discourse, and of the projects originate from out of it, is the question to what extent media theory could help to describe the current society, and to develop active instruments of exploration and intervention. From the discourse, experimental media theoretical and practical formats originate. These formats which receive their logic out of their way of production and which usually owe their material to the dialog are methodically justified forms of media use. Results and interim results of the projects are presented in free radio stations, on the project page of the internet platform, or in arrangements and installations in different places. Every form of distribution will be accompanied by a form of production.

The internet colloquium consists of (a.) a mailing list, (b.) the internet platform KESHMA.NET, on which different forms of cooperation are explored and results are published, and (c.) live acts, in which the categorical difference between actor and audience, between producer and recipient, between producer and the one who enjoys doesn’t exist. In addition we want to provide a structure in which different persons may lead autonomous projects which are linked by contents and method.

The arrangement is designed as being continued. Every single colloquium series has its own title and is meant to focus on some few approaches and topics. In this way we will try to create variations of scientific communication and to loosen conventional fixations (the way scientific communication has to look like and in general does). To the breaking with conventions goes the experimental use of media, meeting in rather unfamiliar and not academic places, integration of not academic thinkers and practicians, self arrangements and possibly also illegal actions in public or half public space.

If you want to participate you have to register for the colloquium. You either register yourself here or you send an e-mail with the reference "Toward an Integral Theory of Media" to neue.methode<AT>kein.org.

Please download here the necessary programs.


In cooperation with the formatLabor, the Freie Universität Berlin, the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, the Universität der Künste and the Kulturserver der Länder.


Via mailing-list you may write commentaries or send pdfs. Some of them we put on the site >texts. In addition to that we will provide the preconditions for the origination of a Wiki.

: Theory& Practice
What kind of practice we will develop shall depend on the discourse. The following questions might serve as a starting point: In what way discourses are provoked? In what way are they facilitated? Interview techniques, medial differentiation of the difference interaction-presence-speaking / no interaction-absence-writing. Which role medial arrangements can play?

: Starting point
Our thesis is that it is less about to develop increasingly advanced technique but about using the existent technical possibilities in other ways and to find those points where conventions and traditional formats prevents us from ceasing the chances of the present. With breakings created in an operative way, with the installation of rules of the game, with decisions for an unusual use of media, with transfer of structures, ways of working and proportions from one medium to an other, with new combination of aesthetic and semantic dimension, with experimental adressing and so on the space of possibility which lies in the difference between the potential of the physical medium on one hand and its use on the other hand, shall be explored theoretically and practically. In order to explore this space of difference on one hand technical and practical knowledge (for not only knowing but also being able to use the possibilities of the physical medium) and on the other hand analysis of the formats and their compelling attractiveness is needed.


[Possibility-space of Digitality]

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The conciousness of one’s self is “an und für sich” whilst and thereby that it is for an other “an und für sich”; that means it exists only as acknowledged.. Hegel, The Phenomenology of Mind

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Media for one in the form of a personal audio letter from November 17, 2004 to Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ernst,head of the Seminar for media theory, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

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One of the results of the first three semesters consists of the internet site. The introductory event in the media theatre of the Humboldt-Universität was video filmed by participants of the colloquium, it was cut and put on the site. Different projects originated: (1) The publication project “Media theory - what for?”, (2) a concept for the construction of an internet platform “Discourse M.E.D.I.E.N“ with lectures and interviews to the topic Media & Emancipation and (3) the sound installation “Ja”, which could be heard for three months starting November 17, 2005, in the Gemäldegalerie (Kulturforum). The installation is one part of the series “In-KLO-sion / Exklusion. Over and above that it is made possible to the participants of the colloquium to join working on radio emissions, which are broadcasted in different free radio stations. Any form of design, moderation or arrangement of the discourse which takes place between the participants of the colloquium may become a starting point for a project.

What is an int internet colloquium? Internet colloquia – what for? Whom for are internet colloquia?
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The current internet colloquium WS 06/07

Toward an Integral Theory of Media VI:
Communication. Media. Power.
In this seminar the attempt is made to explore the possible consequences of the new media for the communication in the society and the types of power which dominates them.

Jens Friedrich, Till Nikolaus von Heiseler
Every Thursdays 14-16 o’clock, Start October 5, 2006, Garystraße 55, room 323.

Toward an Integral Theory of Media V:
What a Medium be...

The question what a medium be asks for the nature and the being of the medium. We see this question – like all ontological questions – as inanswerable. But possibly the question what a medium be might be fruitful in a performative way exactly for the reason that it contains the whole power of the ontology; the person asked in this way is forced to talk about himself and his position. First of all he has to wriggle out of this trap to any side. To be distinguished: the medium itself - what ever it might be – and the strategy of emergence.
The Colloquium asks the question for the medium from different sides and tries to work out different positions. The basis of the colloquium is the lectures taped in December 2005 at the conference “What is a medium?” of the Stiftung Weimarer Klassik.
Leistungsscheine/ achievement certificates may be acquired by following achievements:

Analysis of the content and the form of a lecture or the comparison of two points of view (lectures). The analysis of ONE lecture is more demanding because no references are given and the student has to be in some way familiar with the theoretical references of the lecturer. In case you choose the comparison you will have to explicate the comparison criterion and to give reasons for the target and the interest why you have chosen it. The text should comprehend between six and twelve pages and include an abstract by the student OF THE ORIGINAL LECTURE. An abstract of the own work shall be put at the beginning.

Leaders: Bernd Ternes und Till Nikolaus von Heiseler

Questions to the internet colloquium

1. What is an internet colloquium??

2. In what consists our internet colloquium?
3. Concrete projects & activities
4. Internet colloquia – what for?
5. Whom are internet colloquia for?


: Conditions for participation

From left to right: Benjamin Heidersberger, Lara Daniela Schiffer, Till Nikolaus von Heiseler, Mari Cantu, Sarah bat Naomi, Gusztáv Hámos, Bernd Ternes (Haus der Kulturen der Welt)

The colloquium is open for all interested persons. It only provides opportunities and therefore the initiative of the participants is needed. The colloquium is not apt for persons who “want to be motivated”.
Certificates can be issued in case of appropriate achievement for the department of sociology by the Freie Universität and for media science by the Humbold Universität.
For students of corresponding subjects over and above the possibility exists at his or her university, in arrangement with a lecturer, to produce a work in the format of Media for one and put it up for discussion on our site.

Meetings in academic and not academic places can be proposed by the participants of the colloquium. The guidance may have every time some other participant.

There is no obligation to attend because it is an internet colloquium. That is why certificates can only be given for active participation.

What possibilities of participation do exist?

: Theoretical basis

: Media-theoretical dialogues

What for Media Theory?
Conversations with Wolfgang Ernst, Detlev Schneider, Matthias Lilienthal, Pit Schultz and Dirk Baecker

Will be released Spring/Summer 2007 in the Kadmos publishing house Berlin.

Required reading: Michel Foucault, Archäologie des Wissens, p.115-190, Frankfurt a.M. 1981

Further reading:
Michel Foucault: Ordnung des Diskurses (pdf)
Gilles Deleuze: Postskriptum über die Kontrollgesellschaft (pdf)
Ders.: Kontrolle und Werden (pdf)
Luhmann: Die Unwahrscheinlichkeit von Kommunikation (pdf)

Ders.: Die Realität der Massenmedien [AUDIO] (Gespräch mit Wolfgang Hagen) [TEXT]

Ders.: Die Realität der Massenmedien, 1. Kapitel (pdf)
Wolfgang Ernst: M.edium F.oucault

Weitere Links (Kittler):
Kittler: Farben und Maschinen denken

Weitere Links - MEDIEN:
Frank Hartmann

: La Société du Spectacle by Guy Debord
At the opening event on April 15, 2005 we watched the film "La Société du Spectacle" by Guy Debord (France 1973, 100 min).


"Reality considered partially deploys itself in its own general unit as a pseudo-world apart, an object only of con templation."

The film was privided by pirate cimema.

„It is a society,“ Janus von Abaton writes about Debord, „and not the technology which has made the cinema what it is. The cinema could have been a historical investigation, it could have been abstract, essayistic and cruel and then could have taken over the role of tragedy of the ancient world in order to convey the abstract thinking that is needed to understand a type of state which is constructed on abstraction. Out of the cinema now [with the given standard of technique (?)] something could originate what will do justice to this task.”

The 1973 originated film »La Société du Spectacle« by Guy Debord exhibits consequent aesthetics of material and opens audio-visuality beyond harmlessness.

+ + [weitere Information zum Text]* + + [Film]

Previous internet colloquia

Opening Event
: Asthetics of Knowledge

08|11|2005 - 20:15 - TESLA - Berlin
Klosterstraße 69-70 - U2 - Klosterstraße

The formatLabor develops and puts to the test new forms of media use and of communication and reflects their possible effects in society.
In the formatLabor it is not about developing new formats for mass media neither alone is it about creating artistic advanced forms. Target is rather to form in a methodically reflected and open way that new originating area of “medially backed up public”, where social togetherness and cultural production coincide (in Clubs, Mailinglisten, alternative video projects, free radio stations etc.). [more]

Summer semester 05

: Evolution & Practice
Toward an Integral Theory of Media III
main course| basic studies

The colloquium is about the question how far media theory is able to help to describe today’s society, and to develop tools of exploration and intervention. For this purpose a discourse between media theorists, system theorists, media activists and media artists is suggested in which the colloquium participants may participate.

The colloquium enters into different discourses now taking place and includes a theoretical and a practical part:
In the theoretical part we discuss "Archäologie des Wissens" (archaeology of knowledge) by Michel Foucault and start looking for the latent medial construction principle of the discourse.
In the practical part different tools of collaboration (Mailingliste, Wiki etc.) are presented and made use of and the question is asked if and how it is possible to suggest a temporary discourse in the internet

On April 15, 2005 the opening event of our internet colloquium took place in the media theatre of the Humbold-Universität zu Berlin.





Alexander Roesler | Stefan Münker
What is a Medium?
- Interdisciplinary conference -
Kolleg Friedrich Nietzsche / Weimar
Friday December 16 - Sunday 18, 2005

: Technical requirements
We recommend the use of a browser program, which supports web standards, and therefore we advise against Microsoft Internet Explorer. We recommend instead the downloading and the installation of the open source web browser Mozilla Firefox, which works better and quicker and has less security gaps.

For all audio tracks we use exclusively the open source format Ogg Vorbis. If you want to participate in the internet colloquium, please download both programs free of charge. If you meet technical difficulties please write us an e-mail.

What is open source?


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firefox internet browser

ogg vorbis player

more useful information

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We thank the Humboldt Universität, the Freie Universität Berlin and the Neue Universität Berlin for their friendly support and the Hauptstadtkulturfonds for the partly funding of the project’s preparation.

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: What for Media Theory?
Wolfgang Ernst / Till Nikolaus von Heiseler

"There are indeed two consequences of the post modern aesthetics: Some say: away from the large ideological narrations, (...) direction to the micro-narrations where everybody him or herself may be the author, but in the end continues following the aesthetics of the narration as an instance for giving meaning. The alternative to that is saying: the need for narration is not an anthropological one but always already an insinuation of power, which always seeks to whisper to us, there has to be an order. There has to be a narrative order. Even when you produce the narration by yourselves (...) you have already submitted to an order! That is the interest of power." (Wolfgang Ernst)

Work in Progress - version 05/02 [wiki]

: What for Emanzipation?

E-mail to my friend Gusztáv Hámos
To understand emancipation as something in process: as deconstruction of dominance. Depending on how dominance is understood, this leads to different conceptions of emancipation. In the text two emancipation models are distinguished. One is based on redistribution, the other one on appreciation. + + [text]*

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: What means Epistemology?
Wolfgang Hagen explains the concept epistemology in regard to Michel Foucault’s "Archaeology of Knowledge". By doing that he distinguishes clearly epistemology from theory of knowledge, which always remains bound to the philosophy of the subject.

+ [audio] + 2 min, 2 MB, ogg+ + [text]*

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Erfolgsmedien (media of success)
Dirk Baecker explains the concept of symbolically generalized communication media. The concept derives from the system theory of Niklas Luhmanns (1927- 1998) and signifies the self generating conditions of statements on the level of societal meaning generalizing. An observer of a social system can observe with the help of this concept the observed social system against the background of the distinction capable for connection/uncapable for connection. Luhmann understands the symbolically generalized communication medium by the result of the social evolution and by this as a result of a self referential societal process which makes probable something what at first sight is improbable. Contingence in the beginning is reconstructed in the contingent social evolution process in expectation- probabilities.

+ + [AUDIO] + 6 min, 6MB + + [VIDEO] 18MB + + [TEXT]* +

Volker Grassmuck
: Free Software for Children, 4 min
+ [AUDIO] + 3 min, 3MB + + [VIDEO] 8MB

: The history of the Free Software Movement, 10 min
+ [AUDIO] + 8 min, 8MB + + [VIDEO] 18MB

: What is Free Software?, 9 min
+ [AUDIO] + 7 min, 7MB + + [VIDEO] 15MB


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: The Overheard
Not all what should emancipate itself belongs to a minority. Because besides the ideal measure of the majority and the anti measure of the minority there is that what not yet has build a category. In the search of that what lies beyond the category, epistemology and emancipation converge. + [pdf]*

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: Prelude for


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Pit Schultz and Till Nikolaus von Heiseler are waiting for Dirk Baecker and meanwhile they are talking... [pdf]



: What do we understand by an archives?

Wolfgang Ernst explains the concept archives on one hand in a traditional way as ”intern legally binding memory of the state” and on the other hand in the sense of Michel Foucault as “the law of what can be said, the system that dominates the appearance of statements as single occurences." (vgl. Archäologie des Wissens, F.a.M. 1973, p.187.)

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: What is a Medium?
Media theorists answer the question what a medium be. [more]




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Current collection of texts

Wolfgang Hagen
How the radio was not invented

Wolfgang Hagen builds an arch from Heidegger over Hitler to the origination of the radio from an experiment of telepathy:

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Wolfgang Ernst
To the concept of time-critical
Time-critical processes take place on the basal level of the medium in the case that the necessary distinction on the operational level of media are based on time. Digital manufacturing is necessarily time-critical because without a dimension of time it could always transport one bit. Time-critical on this level means therefore a form of signal-encode.
+ +[audio]* 12 min, 10MB + +

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Theatre as a network?
Detlev Schneider, Matthias Lilienthal, Till Nikolaus von Heiseler and Florian Schneider in conversation.

Detlev Schneider Intendant of ITB (Imaginäres Theater Berlin) and artistic director of TESLA in Podewils'schen Palais and Matthias Lilienthal, artistical director of HAU 1, HAU 2 und HAU 3, are talking about the question, if and how theatre could work as a network. Startingpoints are the clarification of the concept network and regarding the theatre against the horizon of its history, its function and its concrete working.
+ + [audio] + 13 min, 12 MB + + Excerpt of the conversation [pdf]*


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What for Media Theory?
"What for Media Theory" is a collective writing project where new forms of scientific collaboration are put to the test. At the moment we are getting in conversation with editors.


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Ja -
Soundart on public loos


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Loops repeat themselves endlessly. Material of these repetitions are fragments and rubbish. The discourse moves around the contents of freedom of movement and freedom of communication, inferiority and self reflection.