The Datafied Web: Call for Contributions RESAW25

Call for Participation The Datafied Web RESAW25

Do you remember the beginnings of early metrics in the 90s, the birth of web counters, those digital pioneers that marked and started to quantify the pulse of online activity, the novelty of seeing website visits measured in real-time, eye-catching graphics becoming the currency of online attention, and the early days of companies like Webtrends, Urchin and DoubleClick?

We invite scholars, researchers, web archivists to contribute to the 6th RESAW conference on the topic of “The Datafied Web”, through a historical lens. We would like to delve into the historical roots, trends, and trajectories that shaped the data-driven paradigm in web development and to examine the genealogies of the datafied and metrified web. Historical studies of trajectories towards a databased web and the emergence of platform-driven mobile ecosystems are very welcome, as well as case studies for instance related to the development of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and the evolution of data-sharing practices.

Uncovering the early forms of analytics software, their origins, and the role they played in shaping the web landscape, and examining the historical context, aesthetics and role of web counters, analytics tools, mobile sensing and other metrics may also help us deepen our understanding of online interactions, past publics and audiences, and their (uneasy) trajectories. “The datafied web” also raises questions related to methods and (web) archives allowing to research this evolution: what are for instance the challenges and methodologies involved in archiving the metrified and increasingly mobile web, including the back-end infrastructure?

This theme also invites us to trace the historical trajectory of data surveillance and the evolution of data capturing practices on the web. Complementary are issues related to the historical development of tracking mechanisms, cookies, and the creation of digital footprints, as well as the evolution of companies relying on metrics, and the development of financialized web spaces and their implications.

By investigating historical controversies and debates surrounding the increasing datafication of the web and uncovering historical instances of innovative data use or resistance practices against the datafication of the web, this conference also aims at reconstructing vivid and key debates that are transversal to the history of the web. How did the datafied web provide for the sensory media environments that we are now living in?

Finally, we wish to discuss innovative research methodologies for uncovering the historical dimensions of the datafied and metrified web, as well as methods that are approaching web archives as data (from an archiving and research perspective) and explore them through distant reading, metadata, seed lists, and other methods. Plus, we want to encourage everyone to think about datafication as a practice of sensing and sense-making that creates, sustains, and undermines media environments.

This is a reblog from the original call at the RESAW homepage.
You can download a PDF version right here.

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When ANT met Cultural Techniques: Re-engaging with Network Cultures

Logo Making and Doing Transformations Amsterdam 2024ANT was a blast when it reached Media Studies. Its methodology, however, was based on a mediating “Connectivity of Things” that could be mobilized but hardly historicized. So how do we re-engage with research on networks as cultural technique to create joint future(s) of STS and Media Studies?

This is part of a panel at this year’s EASST-4S Conference:
What Is The Past And Future Of Actor-network Theory?
Traditional Open Panel P146
Amsterdam: Making and Doing Transformations
Friday 19 July, 14:00-15:30, 16:00-17:30

Actor-network theory heuristics and methodology have traveled quite a bit outside of STS. Media Studies, in its differing styles of thought, is a case in point. Within my contribution, I am going to contextualize a still recent constellation between ANT and German Media Studies. How did crucial elements of the French anthropology of technology (Marcel Mauss, André Leroi-Gourhan, Georges Haudricourt, Gilbert Simondon) become a common ground for both actor-network theory and the Germanophone research on cultural techniques? What can be learnt for future STS network methodologies from intertwining ANT with Media Studies of cultural techniques?

From the vantage point of cultural techniques, ANT might have lacked a critical, historicizing perspective on its own foundations and mode of operation. It generalized Leroi-Gourhan’s operational chains into sociotechnical networks. Yet programmatic initiatives for historicizing and criticizing networks were not wanting—for instance, Michel Serres’s ”History of Scientific Thought” or Bruno Latour’s ”We Have Never Been Modern.” But for ANT, everything that could be described analytically as a network (or “worknet”) qualified as an actual network. Claims were bolstered by the self-evidence of the lifeworld (and academic practice) of the 1980s and 1990s. ANT could only come about because of the flourishing sociotechnical networks of the day. In contrast, subsequent, more historically oriented studies of cultural techniques—and of the history of infrastructure and science, technology, and society—demonstrate reserve by stressing the material grounding of networks, their metonymic character, situatedness, and specificity. Networks have genealogies within a “Connectivity of Things,” but they are not themselves genealogies.

Theatre of Memory: Transdisziplinäres Symposium zur Neuronästhetik

Rauminstallation Sonapticon von Tim Otto Roth, Tieranatomisches Theater, Berlin 2024. Fotografie Sebastian Gießmann, CC-BY-SA
Mit dem Sonapticon von Tim Otto Roth wird Musik sprichwörtlich nervös: Ein ganzer Raum verwandelt sich in ein Netzwerk von interagierenden Tönen, die grundlegende Vorgänge in Nervenzellen widerspiegeln, die uns zu fühlenden und denkenden Wesen machen. Der begehbare, immersive Klangraum aus miteinander kommunizierenden Lautsprechern macht es nicht nur möglich, in die Netzwerkstruktur einzutauchen, sondern zugleich kann man mit dieser über Töne und Geräusche interagieren. Wenn man ein Gefühl für die Abläufe bekommen hat, dann lässt sich mit dem Sonapticon auf völlige neue Art und Weise musizieren – eine Musik, die eine Idee der kognitiven Prozesse gibt, die in ihrer Komplexität für uns nach wie vor ein Geheimnis bleiben.

Theatre of Memory:
Transdisziplinäres Symposium zur Neuronästhetik

Tagungsbericht [crossposting von]
Berlin, 26. und 27. Januar 2024
In Kontext der Ausstellung des Sonapticon von Tim Otto Roth im Tieranatomischen Theater

„Theatre of Memory: Transdisziplinäres Symposium zur Neuronästhetik“ weiterlesen

Lehrveranstaltungen im Sommersemester 2024

Im Sommersemester 2024 biete ich folgende Lehrveranstaltungen in der Siegener Medienwissenschaft an:

  • What Is Digital Sovereignty?
    Unisono | Moodle
  • Entnetzung: Praktiken, Diskurse, Infrastrukturen (Seminar Medien- und Kulturtechnik, Gr. 1)
    Unisono | Moodle
  • Entnetzung: Praktiken, Diskurse, Infrastrukturen (Seminar Medien- und Kulturtechnik, Gr. 3)
    Unisono | Moodle
  • Forschungskolloquium
    Unisono | Moodle

Worum geht es in den Lehrveranstaltungen? „Lehrveranstaltungen im Sommersemester 2024“ weiterlesen

What’s Digital About Digital Media?

Cover Working Paper What's Digital about Digital Media?In this working paper we explore an alternative thread in the early development of media and medium as concepts: the origins of the idea of the storage medium in digital computing practices and communities of the 1940s and 1950s. While such practices were obscure at the time, they laid the technological foundation for today’s range of digital media. We discuss digitality as a feature of the practices used to read and write symbols from a medium, not a physical property of the medium itself.

We then move on to a discussion of the alphabet as itself digital, grounded in the work of Nelson Goodman. Engaging with the contributions of Matthew Kirschenbaum, we explore the limited interchangeability of representations between different encodings of the same symbols, connecting the purported immateriality of digitality to this actual fungibility of material representations.

This is a draft chapter of a book on “Defining Digitalities.” Comments are highly welcome!

Das neue Geld der Öffentlichkeit: Medienhistorisches Plädoyer für den digitalen Euro

Das neue Geld der Öffentlichkeit. Die Pläne der Europäischen Union für einen digitalen Euro bedeuten nicht das Ende des Bargelds, sondern die erstmalige Schaffung einer souveränen, sicheren Bezahlinfrastruktur. Ein medienhistorisches Plädoyer. Erschienen in der Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung vom 20.9.2023, S. N4. Online unter

Architecture of the Digital Euro, May 2023
Architekturvorschlag zum digitalen Euro, EZB, 26. Mai 2023 – „Digital euro – Prototype summary and lessons learned“

Test: Überleben, Intelligenz, Handlungsmacht und Zukünfte in der Testgesellschaft


„Keine Deskription eines Settings ist möglich oder sogar denkbar ohne die Vermittlung einer Prüfung; ohne eine Prüfung und eine Krise können wir noch nicht einmal entscheiden, ob es ein Setting gibt oder nicht – und noch weniger, wie viele Teile es beeinhaltet.“ Madeleine Akrich und Bruno Latour

Heft 29 der Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft fragt, wie sich Medien und Tests wechselseitig konstituieren. Besondere Aufmerksamkeit erfahren dabei Politiken des Testens. Die Beiträger*innen schlagen vor, Tests als offene Situationen zu verstehen, in denen mit teils etablierten, teils sich erst während des Testens etablierenden Maßstäben soziotechnische Bewertungen erfolgen und Entscheidungen getroffen werden. Für einen medienkulturwissenschaftlichen Begriff des Tests gilt: In den Mikroentscheidungen des verteilten und verteilenden Testens steht das Soziale selbst auf der Probe. Die versammelten Beiträge verdeutlichen: kein Test ohne Medien – kein Medium ohne Test.

Materiality of Cooperation

Cover Materiality of Cooperation
The volume investigates the socio-material dimension and media practices of cooperation – before, during and beyond situations. Cooperation is understood as reciprocal interplay operating with or without consensus, in co-presence or absence of the involved actors in distributed situations. Artefacts, bodies, texts and infrastructures are the media that make cooperation possible. They enable and configure reciprocal accomplishments – and are themselves created through media practices in cooperative situations.


Materiality of Cooperation—An Introduction
Sebastian Gießmann, Tobias Röhl, Ronja Trischler

Before the Situation

What’s Digital About Digital Communication?

Cover Working Paper What's Digital About Digital Communication?Although the distinction between digital and analog was first made in the context of automatic computers, the concepts were quickly broadened to apply to media and communication systems of all kinds. This working paper continues work on both fronts by looking at the historical broadening of the concept of digitality to include non-numerical systems of representation such as those used to encode text and pictures. This conception underlies the ability of computers to deal with things other than numbers, but it has its roots in communications theory, most famously in the work of Claude Shannon.

In parallel with our historical description of the emergence of non-numerical conceptions of digitality we broaden our analytical treatment of digitality to encompass more historical technologies and reading practices: not only adding machines and punched cards, but also musical boxes, weaving systems, movable type, and even alphabets and hand gestures.

This is a draft chapter of a book on “Defining Digitalities.” Comments are highly welcome!